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April 26 2017

Kshama Fernandes: Finding credit for the worthy

Kshama Fernandes, MD and CEO of IFMR Capital, reflects on the challenges of financial inclusion, her childhood memories of a Goan village, and her love for adventure.

‘Growing up in a coastal village in Goa can indelibly imprint the choices one makes. This is evident immediately; Kshama Fernandes, managing director and chief executive officer of non-banking financial company IFMR Capital, picks the Varqui Crab—layers of crab meat and tandoori shrimp in filo pastry—as an hors d’oeuvre for our lunch. We are at Varq, the Indian restaurant with its eclectic and often surprising preparations of familiar food, at the Taj Mahal Hotel on Delhi’s Mansingh Road. The seafood, she declares, is a “much fancier version” of the fare that was dished out to her during a childhood spent in Cansaulim in South Goa.

“I would wake up in the morning, go for a run on the beach, and sometimes chat with the fisherfolk as they pulled in their morning catch—it seemed like a very beautiful world to me back then,” says Fernandes, 48. Her life is now far removed from the pastoral setting of a Goan village. But her work, which involves connecting non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs), also known as originators, to last-mile borrowers, who are excluded from the purview of mainstream finance, takes her back to the realm of those who live on the fringes of formal systems—the disenfranchised.’

Read more of Kshama’s Story via Live Mint