Interview with Samit Ghosh, Microfinance Innovator

February 1, 2010 Posted by Unitus Labs, Update

Ujjivan, a Unitus partner since 2006, is an MFI providing financial services to the economically active urban and semi-urban poor in India. Since their launch in November 2005, they’ve reached more than 550,000 clients with a diverse range of financial products and services. In October 2009, Unitus sat down with Mr. Samit Ghosh, founder and CEO of Ujjivan, to talk about his background in financial services, efforts to reach the urban poor, and what he sees as the next big thing in microfinance.

Q: You come from a strong banking background and are well known for your work in pioneering consumer banking in India. What made you enter microfinance?

A: My career started in 1975 with Citibank. I went through operations, corporate and investment banking—the normal route which any management trainee took. Quite by accident, I got into consumer banking because I came back to India to head the investment bank with Citibank in 1985. But by the time I reached India, Citibank had reorganized and put the investment bank as a part of treasury, a change I was uncomfortable with. As I was figuring out what to do, a friend of mine, Jerry Rao, who was starting the consumer bank for Citibank in India focused on the middle class, asked me to join him. Consumer banking was new to me and I thought I’d give it a shot. So that’s how I got into consumer banking and became fascinated by it.

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