Financial institutions

The Changing Role of Banks and Financial Institutions Influences the Role of Women in the Credit Landscape

A study undertaken by TransUnion CIBIL found that the number of Indian women who regularly monitor their CIBIL score increased by an impressive 62 percent. Additionally, the study also showed that women enjoyed an average CIBIL score of 734, which is higher than the average male CIBIL score of 726 in the country.

At the turn of 21st century, women find themselves at the forefront of all social and industrial avenues. They successfully lead organizations, institutions and entire companies. And that’s the way it should be; women lining up with their male counterparts across different social intersections and public domains. Today, the success of women in the world’s scientific, economic, financial and cultural fields knows no bounds.

When it comes to the Indian financial ecosystem, women are making headlines for all the best reasons. Just as empowering women is imperative at the micro level, say a family of four; it is equally, if not more, essential at the macro-cosmic level. The representation, participation and contribution of women in the national economic engine are absolutely essential to the growth and prosperity of our country.

Women have been proven to be more competent financial stewards than men at every level. Not only that, they are also better managers whether at home or in the office. Who else can so gracefully juggle multiple responsibilities and operational dimensions? In fact, they are also considered “Lakshmi’ the goddess of wealth and auspiciousness in Indian culture. All the more reason for the male-dominated financial industry to hand over the mic, the podium and the stage to women.

In India, the road to financial empowerment has been rocky. A significant portion of the population still does not have access to conventional forms of credit such as traditional banks and NBFCs. Due to their negligible or non-existent credit history, this underbanked section of society is unable to gain financial access. Historically, this segment was primarily made up of disadvantaged people, but it was also made up of countless women living in both urban and rural settings. Perpetually involved in their domestic duties and without being exposed to the intricacies of the outside world, a significant percentage of these women were even deprived of a bank account until a few years ago.

However, with the passage of time and the rise of alternative credit mechanisms, the female population has managed to increase its presence in the financial spectrum of the country. Increased literacy and financial awareness have played a crucial role in this regard. So much so that a study conducted by TransUnion CIBIL revealed that the number of Indian women who regularly monitor their CIBIL score increased by 62%.

Amid the global march towards gender equality with the demand for equal opportunities and benefits for women, the bold presence of women in the Indian financial credit landscape is indeed a worthy development. As more and more women in our country become familiar with the use of credit and loan facilities, their aspirations begin to materialize as they get closer to their dreams.

While socio-economic changes remain the main drivers of this magnanimous transformation, the changing role of banks and financial institutions has also played an important role in empowering women. In recent times, the increase in the number of female consumers being part of the Indian credit landscape and their determination to preserve a favorable credit profile has worked to their advantage.

Consequently, the credit scene is experiencing completely new trends. An increasing number of lending companies are designing loans and credit card facilities that are particularly aimed at the female population. In a way, these lending companies provide incentives to amplify the use of credit facilities, loan preferences and financial knowledge of Indian women. Not surprisingly, the TransUnion CIBIL report also revealed that women boast a higher average CIBIL score than men; 734 out of 726. This clearly highlights the fact that Indian women have a more positive credit profile than men.

The Indian government is also to be commended for its active role in developing policies that have contributed to the financial well-being of women. Duly recognizing the rise of the new credit-conscious consumer, the government has launched several initiatives to improve access to loans with added benefits such as lower interest rates. He has also developed various programs such as the Nidhi Prayas and Mudra Yojana Plan for the proliferation of women’s participation, women’s representation and women’s entrepreneurship in the country’s financial scheme.

To conclude, it is no secret that women’s empowerment and representation are the central factors behind the rapidly changing credit situation in India. With unlimited access to credit instruments and a desirable credit profile, there is no dream too big for Indian women. And true to Babasaheb’s vision, women have made leaps and bounds in every way and truly match their male compatriots in every way. And, often surpassing them too!

(Rohit Garg is co-founder and CEO of SmartCoin)

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Posted: Monday, January 17, 2022, 5:11 PM IST