Amidst the pandemic and the situation arisen in the job market leading to salary cuts, unemployment, and downsizing, small-finance banks such as Ujjvan and Jana and the leading micro-lending Bandhan Bank are proving to be job creators and giving a ray of hope to the job seekers.
These institutions are reportedly looking to increase their staff strength by 5-10% in the next three-four months. The new recruits will be largely assigned to the role of client servicing and to boost repayment.
As many as 2,500 individuals have been hired by Bandhan Bank with the lockdown restrictions being eased, while another 500 more to be added by the end of June.
“This is to boost our repayment collection. Large group meetings are difficult to do now. Our field staff are either meeting borrowers in small groups or approaching them individually. We have decided to lighten their burden by deploying more people,” Bandhan Bank managing director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh said.
The lockdown affected the repayment collection of the banks severely, so microfinance banks aim to focus on repayment collection. According to a study by Microfinance Institutions Network the total value of installment dipping due in April and May was around Rs 4,000 crore while collection progress was just 10% until end-May. Moratorium extension on loan repayment has also been offered by the RBI to borrowers in distress.
Among the small finance banks, Ujjivan is looking to add 150-200 people per month, raising its manpower from the existing 17,500. “We are recruiting for roles that we don’t have people for,” said managing director Nitin Chugh.
“We are hiring now as we are converting our asset storefronts into bank branches,” said Ajay Kanwal, managing director at Jana Small Finance Bank, which is planning to hire about 500 people by September to add to its tally of about 15,000 people. “This branch conversion was delayed because of Covid-19. The positive impact of hiring will be visible by December,” he said.
Most of Bandhan’s new jobs, around 70%, are in Assam, Bihar, and West Bengal. 39,700 people were working in the bank at the end of March including 26,00-odd individuals in micro-banking. “Once things become normal and business growth starts picking up, we may redeploy the new recruits in growth-oriented verticals,” Bandhan’s Ghosh said.
Following the footsteps, it is said that Microfinance company Annapurna Finance is also recruiting new individuals to ease the pressure of the existing employees engaged in client servicing. Several other companies such as Arohan Financial Services, Satya MicroCapital, and VIllage Financial Services are looking for recruitment only to fill the gaps created due to attrition.