With the COVID-19 distress continuing onto 2021, the financial state of many of the micro-business owners remained compromising. To unburden the distressed micro-businesses, especially in the ‘rurban’ areas, ARTH took cautious steps to focus on customer support, outreach programs and develop innovative ways to meet the customer demands. While ARTH continued to disburse credit to select businesses, it also helped special groups with grants and livelihood programs.
For example, ARTH arranged returnable grant money from foundations and agencies as COVID relief for micro-businesses to provide additional support to its customers.
• ARTH redesigned its product offering changing the tenure and repayment frequency to adjust for businesses that had been forced to go under lockdown due to the pandemic.
• ARTH extended its first interest-free credit support – ARTH Rahat to support the revival of COVID hit resilient business post lockdowns. This helped the business owners with an emergency credit to fulfill their credit shortfall arising out of slow recovery to the lockdowns.
• ARTH implemented Financial Literacy drive both remotely and across micro-markets to manage money during the slow down.
• ARTH conducted quarterly outreach programs to help customers get insurance claims and co-developed innovative micro-insurance products, especially for health-related repayment delays.