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ESAF SFB Chief Paul Thomas Elected Chairperson of Sa-Dhan

Paul Thomas, MD & CEO of ESAF Small Finance Bank, has been elected as Chairperson of the board of Sa-Dhan, which is an association of microfinance and impact finance institutions. Thomas so far was the co-chair of the Association.

Who is Paul Thomas?

K. Paul Thomas is the Founder of ESAF Group of Social Enterprises including ESAF Microfinance and Investments Pvt Ltd. He has been a management professional for over 32 years out of which more than 25 years are in the microfinance sector. Before starting the microfinance program, Mr. Paul Thomas had worked with Indian Farmers Fertilizers Co-operative Ltd (IFFCO) the world’s largest cooperative owned fertilizer company for 18 years during which he travelled extensively through rural India. During these trips, he came to the realization that community transformation is possible through creating opportunities. This inspired him to start microfinance lending under the ESAF society. He was on the Boards of apex microfinance bodies like MFIN and he is the founder and President of Kerala Association of Microfinance Institutional Entrepreneurs (KAMFI).

About ESAF Small Finance Bank

ESAF Small Finance Bank (ESAF SFB) the new age social bank continues to redefine the banking experience to all the stakeholders. We primarily focus on expanding the banking horizon to new unbanked/underbanked area, yet we stand as a bank for all with presence in urban, semi urban, rural and rural unbanked areas. ESAF started it’s journey as an NGO during the year 1992, with a larger vision of sustainable and holistic transformation of the poor and the marginalized.

Success of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh

The success of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh reinforced the vision of Shri. K. Paul Thomas the Founder of ESAF. In 1995, he launched Micro Enterprises Development (MED) services and it resulted in the formation of ESAF Microfinance and Investments Pvt. Ltd., in 2008, giving importance of financial component in holistic economic development of the poor and marginalized. ESAF Microfinance and Investments Pvt. Ltd. was one of the pioneers in establishing a formal and structured form of lending through forming mutually trusted groups at the village level that could not only bring financial sustainability but also reinforced the fact that ‘the poor of our country are trustworthy’.

What is Sa-Dhan

Sa-Dhan is an association of Microfinance and Impact Finance Institutions. It is an RBI appointed Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) for Microfinance Institutions. Sa-Dhan is the first and largest association of community development finance institutions in India formed over two decades back for supporting and strengthening the agenda of fostering Inclusive Impact Finance in India. It strives for creating a better understanding of the microfinance sector among policymakers, funders, banks, governments, researchers, and practitioners.

Members working in the states

Sa-Dhan has about 220 members working in 33 states/UTs and over 600 districts, which includes both, for Profit and Not for Profit MFIs, SHG promoting institutions, banks, rating agencies, capacity-building institutions etc. Sa-Dhan’s members with diverse legal forms and operating models, reach out to approximately 44 million clients with loan outstanding of more than ₹1,27,801 crores. Sa-Dhan is also recognized as a National Support Organization (NSO) by National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).


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