Thrissur: ESAF Small Finance Bank, one of the leading small finance banks in India, has crossed another milestone in its digital journey with the successful adoption of e-signature for microloan disbursals. As on March 31, 2023 (Fiscal Year 2022-23), ESAF Bank has disbursed over 5.27 lakh loans through e-signatures, showcasing ESAF Bank’s commitment to digital transformation. As per various online reports, approximately 10,000 trees are required to produce one tonne of paper. Through the adoption of e-signatures, ESAF Bank has effectively saved reams of paper, which would have been utilized for the purpose of loan disbursement, and documentation involving handwritten signatures, thereby reducing deforestation. Moreover, water productivity associated with paper production is notable, with 2,700 liters of water required to manufacture one tonne of paper. By reducing paper dependency, ESAF Bank has conserved a large quantity of water that would have been required for producing the paper.
ESAF Bank currently has a customer base of 65 lakh customers and a transition of 60% of its micro banking customers to using e-signatures, approximately 25 lakh micro banking loans, would have a positive impact on the environment through conservation of natural resources and reduction of carbon footprint. This initiative is in furtherance to the triple bottom line of ESAF Bank, especially when the relevance of environmental concerns is more visible with each passing year.
Commenting on the development, Kadambelil Paul Thomas, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of ESAF Bank, said, “Our social business strategy is all about the 3 Ps – People, Planet and Prosperity. We are committed to reflecting the same in our processes and products. We have been implementing digital onboarding of our micro-banking customers through tabs. We aim to care for the future and are focused on building a culture that cares for a better tomorrow. I believe that the digitalization effort was a transition of our philosophy into practice.” He also added that the transition to e-signatures has improved productivity from an employee perspective and convenience from a customer perspective.
The Bank has also implemented solutions to automate and digitize internal processes. It has implemented an office automation tool that automates and digitizes all internal office notes sent for approval. Further, the Branch Operations department has devised a process to discontinue the printing of eight mandatory reports at branch locations. This measure saves thousands of sheets of paper per day across ESAF Bank’s extensive network of 700 branches. Additionally, the HR department of the bank has adopted digitization for e-on-boarding and Performance Management System (PMS) and has partnered with a technology company as well.
ESAF Bank has its corporate office Thrissur in Kerala. As of March 31, 2023, ESAF Bank has 700 branches, 777 customer service centers (which are operated by our business correspondents), 20 business correspondents, 2,023 banking agents, 481 business facilitators, and 528 ATMs.