This profile was prepared when Kapilananda Mondal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Kapil has demonstrated that with the right incentives, rural individuals from all income levels can become regular savers and viable borrowers. His idea is to provide safe and convenient savings and loan opportunities for poor and low-income households and businesses in rural areas. Rather than relying on grants or any kind of external financing, rural areas can generate needed investment capital from within their own communities. For rural microbanking to work, Kapil sees that saving needs to be habitual. Incentives like cash prizes and travel awards can be creatively used to encourage this behavior. Conventional banking-related products like insurance can and should be marketed as services to rural banking customers regardless of income level. Kapil's system includes "doorstep" service to make it easy for rural villagers to save. In addition to helping people replicate his idea, Kapil is expanding his current operations to 250 villages over the next five years.