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MUMBAI: The gross loan portfolio of India’s microfinance sector grew 17% year-on-year (y-o-y) to Rs2.11 trillion, industry association Sa-Dhan said in a statement on Friday.

The 17% increase in the portfolio comes despite the sector having witnessed unprecedented times in the wake of covid-19 pandemic, said P Satish, executive director, Sa-Dhan, an industry body comprising 225 microfinance institutions across India.

"The microfinance sector, especially the small microfinance institutions, faced challenges in accessing funds from banks, but have shown great resilience, and the recovery rate has improved over the quarters," said Satish, adding that collection efficiency reached 95-98% by March but once again the onslaught of the second covid-19 wave hit the sector from the second week of April.

The situation, he said, is expected to improve in June with various initiatives taken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government.

The average ticket size in the March quarter of FY21 was at Rs43,434 for banks, 41,306 for non-bank financiers; 36,993 for small finance banks; 35,223 for non-banking financial company (NBFC)-MFIs and 39,637 for the entire industry. India’s top five states in terms of gross loan portfolio are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. And seen on a district-wise basis, nine out of 10 are from West Bengal. These are North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Nadia, South 24 Parganas, Bardhaman, Hooghly, Howrah and Cooch Behar, Sa-Dhan said.

Industry and lender-wise portfolio at risk (PAR) had reached to peak in the December quarter due to end of the moratorium but has shown an improvement by end of March. The association said total disbursement by all lenders during FY21 was Rs2 trillion compared with Rs2.54 trillion during FY20.

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