Case Study

Best Practices by Women's Bank of Sri Lanka

Spectacular progress: Women's Bank of Sri Lanka
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This case study details the progress of the Sri Lanka Women's Bank and outlines lessons and future directions that it may have to face.

Registered in 1991, Women's Bank is a national cooperative society aiming to be an independent self sustaining institution. It has the following features:

  • The bank has 100% recovery and a spread of more than 50% of Sri Lanka, with operations that are completely independent;
  • A number of groups of five to fifteen women form the base of the organization and are attached to the Women's Bank subsequently;
  • The bank branch is guided by a forum of group leaders and is managed by a committee of treasurers belonging to different groups;
  • Policy making and implementing bodies are National Council and National Executive Council.

The Women's Bank has various compulsory and voluntary saving schemes. After passing through six loan stages, it provides enhanced loan packages. The purposes are open ended.

The group has emerged as a moral and physical support providing organization to poor women. The bank:

  • Gives priority to settling old debts and redeeming mortgaged land and buildings;
  • Imparts leadership and organizational skills.

A UN study shows that by and large, the bank has become financially viable and operationally efficient. The bank also targets the actual poor, which is quite different from the donor funded government poverty alleviation program that has high wastages.

Next on the agenda of the leadership are extension and replication activities to make the bank spread its reach to the whole nation.

About this Publication

By Keppetiyagama, D. J. & Gamage, N.