Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited, “the bank for upliftment of the poor” is a microfinance bank established in November 1998 under Company Act of Nepal 1997 (now Company Act 2006). Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of Nepal granted a license in April 1999 to undertake banking activities under the Development Bank Act 1996. It started its formal operation from July 1999. Now, operated under Bank and Financial Institution Act 2006, Nirdhan Utthan Bank (NUBL) provides microfinance services such as Loans, Deposits, Microinsurence and Remittance services to poor families of Nepal. The lending methodologies are individual lending based on Grameen Bank, Bangladesh model and group lending based on Self-help Group model through few specified branch offices.
Though, legally established as a company in 1998, the operation of NUBL is a continuation of microfinance services provided by an NGO called “NIRDHAN” which was providing microfinance services since March 1993. The story behind the establishment of “NIRDHAN” starts from 1986 when Dr. Harihar Dev Pant, the Chief Executive Officer of NUBL/Executive Chairman of “NIRDHAN” (then senior officer with central bank of Nepal) visits Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The visit inspired him to launch microfinance program in Nepal resulting the birth of “NIRDHAN” or “people without money” in 1991. NIRDHAN began its microfinance operation in March 1993.
NIRDHAN, as an NGO has a limited recourses and capacity to satisfy unmet demand of poor people in different part of the country. This results the establishment of Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited, NIRDHAN being a lead promoter. In July 1999, NIRDHAN transferred all microfinance operations to Nirdhan Utthan Bank. NIRDHAN created Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited for the following strategic reasons:
Development banks are supervised and regulated by the Central Bank, which will enforce banking standards;
A development bank can have access to different source of funding enabling it to satisfy financial need of poor people;
The bank can lend to a wider range of clients, including micro entrepreneurs graduated out of the bank’s regular clientele. Further, a bank can accept collateral for potentially larger and diverse loan products.