The Code of Conduct (CoC) aims at promoting and advancing responsible lending practices in microfinance. Ensuring that customer’s interests are prioritized and protected, and micro-credit improves the customer’s well-being, is at the heart of responsible lending. In the context of micro-credit customers, business practices and regulatory policy globally and in India, key practices converge on core principles of fair treatment, suitability, transparency, privacy and grievance redressal. Building on India’s microfinance industry experience over the years, and the evolving landscape of financial inclusion, the CoC continues to focus on responsible lending practices towards the customer. Given that customers of micro-credit may not always fully understand the product and its impact, it is imperative that Providers take greater responsibility to ensure that customers’ interests are protected. Responsible lending behavior and practices are greatly influenced by each Provider’s policy with respect to employees and corporate governance. Therefore, employee engagement and corporate governance are two key pillars to achieve customer welfare and CoC includes them in its ambit.
India’s Microfinance sector has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past 20 years. The number of institutions with different legal forms providing microfinance services have also expanded. The directory is an effort to provide a comprehensive list of microfinance institutions actively operating in the country, so as to help the policy makers, regulators and other stakeholders to have an overall purview of MFIs in the nation.
As part of its initiative to raise awareness and communicate on Responsible Finance initiatives within and outside the Indian sector, the India Forum disseminates partners’ news providing an overview of ongoing responsible finance initiatives. The first newsletter focused on Code of Conduct (CoC) assessments, initiatives by members while the second newsletter has focused on Client Grievance Redressal Mechanisms. More recent initiatives can be found on our network partners’ platforms, such as MFIN and Sa-Dhan.