"Small Is Beautiful, but Big Is Necessary"
Anand Adhikari February 18, 2021
Q. What was the problem you were grappling with?
A. It wasn't a business challenge or problem per se. Bandhan's mission, since it started in 2001, has been to create social impact at scale by helping unbanked and underbanked get access to formal credit and use it to financially empower them through entrepreneurial pursuits. We have also focused on developmental programmes aimed at the not-so-privileged.
Q. Who did you approach and why?
A. A piece of advice that has always helped me through my professional life was given to me by late Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Former Chairperson of BRAC, one of the world's largest NGOs based in Bangladesh, where I had my first job.
Q. What was the best advice you ever received?
A. Abed Bhai had told me, "Small is beautiful, but big is necessary." It means any activity or business is good at small scale, but to create a meaningful impact, it is necessary to build scale.
Q. How effective was it in resolving your problem?
A. It was very helpful as I went about building Bandhan Bank. It gave us the conviction of converting into an NBFC-MFI, from an NGO, in 2009, and subsequently become a pan-India bank in 2015. It helped create impact at scale and touch the lives of 2.08 crore customers, with a total asset base of Rs 76,620 crore and a deposit base of Rs 66,130 crore. Through programmes in education, health, employment generation and financial literacy, we have already touched the lives of more than 28 lakh people.