ASA is a non governmental organization and stands for Association for Social Advancement. It is organized in 1978 and its main branch is in Mohammadpur, Dhaka ASA is one of the leading Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in the world ASA. The main purpose of ASA is to help the people. The formal banking sector in developing countries like Bangladesh does not typically provide financial services to the poor. This sector concentrates on large loans to the upper class, thereby completely excluding low income groups.

ASA is one of the leading Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) of Bangladesh. ASA has been working relentlessly to reduce poverty since its inception in 1978. Up to October 2011 ASA’s cumulative Loan disbursement has been BDT 481,381 million (US$ 6,326 million) while loan outstanding (principal) is BDT 44,972 million (US$ 591 million) among 4.43 million borrowers. At the end of June 2011 ASA’s Operational Self Sufficiency(OSS) was 182.48%, Financial Self-sufficiency (FSS) 118.82% and rate of loan recovery 99.83%. ASA continues to perfect the role of financial intermediation by developing a variety of other products that are quite successful at generating necessary funds from local sources. This helps the poor to shield themselves against risks.  ASA is now also working in different countries, with Catalyst Microfinance Investors (CMI) through its investment vehicle, ASA International (ASAI), to spread microfinance globally. This coverage is a must to meet the target of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Microcredit Summit Campaign (MSC).

Kinds of loan in ASA

ASA gives two kinds of loan namely;

1) Primary loan –no condition

2) Special loan –needs check and trustees paper of 50 taka. and without man security ASA will not give special loan. 4% interest is needed to take loan from ASA.

Founder of ASA     

Md. Shafiqual Haque Choudhury is the Founder and President of ASA. And also it is leaded by governing body.

The Beginnings and Expansions of ASA

ASA has emerged as one of the largest and most efficient Microfinance Institution (MFI) in the world and has been working relentlessly to assist the poor since its inception in 1978.The major drive behind ASA is to gradually eradicate poverty from society. During its early years, ASA undertook various development programs like awareness building for social action, training local birth attendants, capacity building of journalists, etc. In the mid-80’s it introduced new programs working in the sector of health and nutrition, education, sanitation, etc. It was at this stage that ASA introduced micro credit as a pilot project. From its hands on experience in the field, and by evaluating the impact of development assistance, ASA realized that financial solvency, to a great extent, is what the poor need to bringing positive changes in their lives. In 1992, this paradigm shift led ASA to focus solely on microfinance as its tool in fighting poverty.

ASA wanted to evolve its operations to become self-reliant and move away from depending on donor funding and grants – ASA’s Microfinance Model gradual transformed itself to become the globally renowned “ASA Cost–effective and Sustainable Microfinance Model.” Following this model, ASA became self-sustainable within a short span of time and the organization declared itself a “donor free MFI” in 2001.This model, that has been practiced and perfected in the field by ASA, has proved effective in making a branch self-reliant within 12 months. Any MFI that adopts this model for operations becomes sustainable within the shortest possible time. It has been adopted by many MFIs around the world to get result within the shortest possible time. As of December 2009, ASA has successfully extended its outreach in Bangladesh through 3,236 branches and its 24,021 staff works relentlessly to serve more than 5.50 million clients.

Products and performance

ASA has emerged as one of the largest and most efficient Microfinance Institution (MFI) in the world and has been working relentlessly to assist the poor since its inception in 1978. As an innovative institution ASA has multidimensional products all of which were developed based on the needs of its clients.

The micro loan products include:

  • Small Loans for female clients
  • Small Loans for male clients
  • Small Business Loans
  • Small Entrepreneur Loans (SEL)
  • Supplementary Loans and Business Development Services (BDS)
  • Loans for Hardcore Poor
  • Short Term Loans
  • IT Loans
  • Agri-business Loans
  • Education Loans
  • Interest Free, Flood and Rehabilitation Loans
  • Disbursement for all these loan products from ASA’s inception up to December 2009 is around US$ 5,418 million. ASA maintains savings programs and member’s security funds (Mini Life Insurance) with the view to helping the poor absorb unexpected shocks of calamities/disasters. Members are allowed to withdraw their savings whenever they require and interest is provided on their deposits. As of December 2009, the savings balance (savings and security deposits) of ASA’s clients was around US$ 188 million. ASA also provides its clients with one time donation for medical treatment of serious ailments and surgical procedures – including cancer, acid burns, cardiac operations, backbone surgery, brain surgery, kidney damage, cesarean delivery, etc. Client do not need to deposit money to receive this assistance all of ASA’s clients are automatically eligible for this. The initial budget of this assistance program in 2009 is around US$ 750,000.

ASA International (ASAI) ASA International (ASAI) has been established to greenfield ASA’s Model of microfinance operations in various countries around the world, with the funding from CMI. ASAI is currently establishing new MFIs in various countries like India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Ghana. Each of these MFIs will follow the highly efficient ASA model, adjusted to local circumstances. Experienced staff from ASA has been seconded to these institutions to replicate the model. It is foreseen that each of these MFIs will, over time, be the market leader in terms of efficiency and scale in each of the mentioned markets. This will stimulate competition in these markets and put pressure on other MFIs to reduce their operating expenses and ultimately reduce the costs of borrowing for the clients.