ESAF (Evangelical Social Action Forum) Microfinance, is non-banking Finance Company and a premier Microfinance Institute of India. ESAF Microfinance was established on 11th March, 1992 in the city of Thrissur in Kerala and was licensed by the Reserve Bank of India. ESAF Microfinance is the first bank in Kerala to get banking license after independence. This is also the first microfinance company in Kerala and ESAF started its lending activity of micro loans in the year 1995.
ESAF was founded by Mr K Paul Thomas and Ms Mareena Paul with five life members, seven annual members and eight honorary members. The foundation of ESAF was laid in order to alleviate poverty and reduce the increased unemployment in the educated young people. The concept of venturing in the arena of microfinance was inspired by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, an idea that was conceptualised and implemented by Mohammed Yunus, who was awarded Nobel Prize for this microfinance venture in his country. With a successful venture since its inception, ESAF Microfinance, at present has 3750 employees across 10 states in India. ESAF is successfully running its microfinance business through 160 dedicated branches and has 7 lakh members.