Most of the people, who live in Indian slums, are financially excluded from the banking system. They have no bank accounts, very little knowledge of how the banking system works or how they can use the various banking facilities for their benefits.
When they need to take loans, they fall prey to usurers who charge them exceedingly high interest rates. At times, they need to send or receive money from their distant relatives, and they go to private agents for the transfer of funds, who often charge them an exorbitant fee.
Understanding how financial inclusion can empower these people and be the first step in bettering their lives, a program on financial literacy was implemented by Gulmeher – which has developed into a no-frills banking service.
Special workshops were held to educate the women working in Gulmeher as well as the members of the community about the basics of the banking system. Those who could write, were taught how to fill the various forms and slips when going to a bank. When told how advantageous and economic it is to transfer funds using bank accounts, instead of going to private agents, many people who were initially hesitant about going to a bank, overcame their reservations and opened bank accounts.
Till date 2600 zero balance accounts have been opened and remittances continue to greatly benefit the migrant population of Ghazipur.