Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited (BFIL), formerly SKS Microfinance, is a non-banking finance company (NBFC) licensed by the Reserve Bank of India. Founded in 1997 by Vikram Akula, the company’s mission is to provide financial services to the poor under the premise that financial assistance to poor borrowers helps to alleviate poverty. Using a commission-based model to encourage loans, SKS formed a network of loan marketers across villages in Andhra Pradesh and eventually across 11 states in India. The platform offers life assurance and a variety of financial loans, including income generation loans, mid-term loans, long-term loans, loans secured on gold, and loans for the purchase of products like cooking stoves, solar lights, water purifiers, mobile phones, bicycles, and sewing machines.
SKS was India’s first large-scale microfinance play, leveraging a massive opportunity to provide financing to the underserved as a for-profit business that created a lasting impact at scale. Led by a charismatic founder, the company garnered rapid scale pan-India and, in 2010, debuted on the Bombay Stock Exchange with an IPO that was oversubscribed 14 times.