IFMR Rural Channels and Services Private Limited (IRCS) was incorporated in August 2011 by IFMR Trust, a private trust set up with the mission “To ensure that every individual and every enterprise has complete access to financial services.” IRCS works to achieve this goal by setting up a network of branches in remote rural areas that offer a range of financial products and services to every individual and enterprise.
IRCS instills this mission into its business by facilitating and originating financial products and services on behalf of financial institutions (NBFCs and Banks) through a unique branch based business model called the Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services (KGFS). A KGFS (KGFS translates to Regional Rural Financial Services) is a local financial institution offering financial products & services in a specific geographic area catering to all the financial needs of the local population. It follows a customer centric model whereby financial products and services are offered through the unique ‘Wealth Management Approach’.
Nature of Business
IRCS business model can be divided into two parts – Investment and Distribution
IRCS has a wholly owned NBFC subsidiary – Pudhuaaru Financial Services Private Limited (PFSPL). As an NBFC, PFSPL currently operates in the states of Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Uttarakhand serving individual customers and enterprises in remote rural areas.
IRCS operates through six KGFS units (Strategic Business Units – SBUs) namely Dhanei KGFS, Pudhuaaru KGFS, Sahastradhara KGFS, Thenaaru KGFS, Vellaru KGFS, and Thenpennaiaaru KGFS. Each SBU caters to a clearly defined geographical area spread over a contiguous location with a population of 5 million. Each SBU acts as a channel whereby both asset and liability products of banks and financial institutions (including that of PFSPL) are offered.
On the distribution front, IRCS has partnered with Banks and other Financial Institution under the direct origination model, serving as a Business Correspondent (BC). As a BC, IRCS originates and services the portfolio (both asset and liability products) on behalf of its partner through its Strategic Business Unit, the regional KGFS. The first Strategic Business Unit to become operational is Pudhuaaru KGFS in Tamil Nadu. Currently, there are six operational KGFS busineses. Each of these KGFS units was set up in a distinct region of the country with a view to understand the design implications of the model in diverse regional context. One KGFS serves Thanjavur and Thiruvarur districts of Tamil Nadu, which are fertile agrarian economies. Another operator in Odisha serves Ganjam and Khurda districts, which are economies characterised by subsistence agriculture, supplemented by domestic migration. The KGFS in Uttarakhand serves five hilly districts that are sparsely populated, where the underlying economies are dominated by trade and services.