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Description of SKS Microfinance
SKS Microfinance Limited (SKS) is a non-banking finance company (NBFC), regulated by the Reserve Bank of India. SKS claims its mission is to eradicate poverty by providing financial services to the poor. The company operates across these 19 states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Delhi. According to a CRISIL Report on Top 50 Indian Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), SKS Microfinance is the largest MFI in India in terms of number of borrowers, number of branches and total loans as of September 30, 2008. SKS was founded in 1997 by Vikram Akula, who also served as its executive chairperson until November 2011. As of December 31, 2010, SKS had 7.7 million clients in 2,403 branches in the 19 states across India. SKS charges an annual effective interest rate between 26.7% and 31.4% for core loan products. At the end of 2010's financial year on 31 March 2011, the company listed a gross loan portfolio of US$925,844,433 with 6,242,266 female active borrowers. SKS hopes "to serve 50 million households across India and other parts of the world and also to create a commercial microfinance model that delivers high value to our customers". The hope is that much poverty can be alleviated by providing financial services to low-income households. SKS practices a standardised processes of delivering and recovering loans, which enables them to reach out to the most customers cost effectively. They are able to expand the business to reach further villages by charging a small interest rate, one that clients are willing to pay in order to avoid starvation, poor money management, or government loan sharks. An in-depth Associated Press report on February 24, 2012, implicated SKS in a number of suicides linked to the company's loan collection policies. Company officials denied the claim, but the Associated Press said internal documents, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees, independent researchers and videotaped testimony from the families of the dead, showed top SKS officials had information implicating company employees in some of the suicides.
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