The company started operations as a microfinance institution in 2009 and transformed into a bank in 2017, providing multiple banking services.
Utkarsh is headquartered in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) as the region has one of the largest concentrations of economically underprivileged populations in the world. The states of Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring Bihar together have a population of 300 million with an average per capita GDP of less than USD 750. With a large untapped market, Utkarsh has grown rapidly over the years and attracted investments from a variety of investors including impact funds, development finance institutions, private equity funds and banks.
In 2015, Utkarsh received a license to transform into a small finance bank – a specialised bank that is designated to serve micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and other underserved segments of the population. This enabled Utkarsh to offer its clients multiple products including savings and remittances apart from a wide variety of credit products while as a microfinance institution it could only offer micro-loans.
Utkarsh started banking operations in 2017 after receiving a final banking license. Utkarsh currently serves over two million clients through 434 branches spread across North and Central India.
Justina Alders-Sheya, Fund Manager SFRE Fund: “Utkarsh’s mandate as a small finance bank closely matches the objective of SFRE Fund to invest in the real economy. Thus, Utkarsh became our first equity investment in Asia and we look forward to expanding financial services where it is needed the most.”