FMCG major, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is going deeper in its activities to reach out to the bottom of the pyramid. The self help group network of HUL, 'Shakti Ammas' has decided that along with distribution of company's products in rural areas, they will also open bank accounts for villagers there under financial inclusion plan.
In order to move ahead with this drive, HUL has joined hands with the largest lender of the country, State Bank of India to start off with this project in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
So far, nearly 1000 accounts have been opened by 12 Shakti Ammas. The project is expected to attain nationwide presence by the next fiscal.
"The objective is to bring about financial inclusion in rural areas. By doing this, we strengthen the Shakti network and also provide villagers with the opportunity to access capital," said Hemant Bakshi, executive director, sales & customer development, HUL.
The project will be taken forward in phases. In most villages where we have started the project, we have achieved 20% penetration-i.e. almost a fifth of the households in the villages are participating in the financial inclusion project. Interestingly, almost 80% of the participants are women who find this a friendly and accessible way of reaching the formal financial system," said an HUL spokesperson.