By: Seema Prem
Suman Kumar is a mother of a 10-year-old boy and the wife of a labour contractor who also works as a CSP for FIA. Suman’s house is located in J&K’s frontier area.
Living in a remote and militarily sensitive area, Suman found that the opportunities for work for a graduate woman are few and far between. But she was only in her early 30s and was wondering how she could utilise her time and earn some money, which would also contribute towards household expenses.
While she continued to search for job opportunities, one day she heard about FIA and the work they do. She met Mr.Mehraj, FIA’s state head and when she heard him explain the concept of Bank Mitras, Suman instantly fell in love with the idea of working with FIA. The idea of not only earning some money, but also helping others in accessing financial services appealed to her immensely.
Suman has learnt the fine art of balancing household chores and working as a Bank Mitra. She has assisted several of the migrant labour workforce in opening bank accounts. Till date, Suman has helped open 1000+ bank accounts and thanks to her dedicated work, people in the community and nearby places where Suman has spread her network, people don’t have to worry about lack of bank branches. Suman goes to them and helps them with all their financial transactions – withdrawals, deposits, transferring money, or even with Recurring Deposits.
Suman is a woman of grit, determination and initiative. Given the fact that there’s a sizeable military presence near her home, she has even managed to pitch these services to the army jawans and has been very vocal about the various social security schemes available and enrolled several of them.
Today, wherever Suman goes, she’s greeted with a warm smile and people recognize her. The respect that she has garnered over the last 3 years of working as a Bank Mitra with FIA is inimitable. She has helped at least 28 people per month open bank accounts, per month. That’s a phenomenal achievement given the territory and the demands on her time, given that she lives in a joint family.
Suman is of course thrilled with her success and as she says, “I stepped out of the house and I did something, I worked. That too in a place where the opportunities are almost non-existent.”
Today, Suman utilises a percentage of the money from her earnings towards household expenses and saves the balance as part of an education fund for her son. For Suman, the march forward began three years ago. There’s no looking back.
Thank you Suman for being a financial inclusion champion.
Author is Co-founder & CEO of FIA Global has successfully brought millions under the banking umbrella in India. FIA Global is a culmination of Seema’s desire for social inclusivity, the freedom to experiment with cutting edge technology like AI and a love for travel.
FIA is an equal opportunity employer and has more than 4,000 women bank mitras, who have been instrumental in bringing people from India’s rural sector under the banking umbrella. Of the 45 million banked by FIA, more than 50% are women. For Seema, 45 million is not just a NUMBER. It’s a way out of poverty. Of Financial empowerment. Of Financial Security.