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Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) on Monday said 88 micro financiers associated with it are ready to begin operations in green and orange zones.

Last week, the government extended the coronavirus-induced lockdown by two more weeks till May 17, and issued new guidelines permitting different sets of relaxations for green, red, orange zones MFIN is a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) comprising 55 NBFC-MFIs and 39 associates including small finance banks (SFBs) and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

"Around 88 lenders associated with MFIN are ready to resume operations in the green and orange zones while ensuring the well-being of customers, employees and community and environment and working within the safety and hygiene framework issued by Union, state and district authorities," the industry association said in a release. After the limited opening on April 20, a few branches have been opened in the green zones, and some staff of MFIs have resumed duty.

MFIN has already prepared a guidance note that provides the guidance on the micro-credit operations to lenders (NBFC-MFIs and others) as they prepare to resume operations.

The note has been prepared based on the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) guidelines and extensive feedback taken from lenders on the operational issues in the specific context of the micro-credit operations and ecosystem. MFIN further said lenders are taking all due precautions for the health and safety of their employees, customers and workplace.

Micro-finance institutions (MFIs) have also unanimously decided to offer moratorium on loan repayment to their customers as their livelihoods have been impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Collections will be made only from customers who have opted out of the moratorium. Those willing to repay will also be encouraged to use digital means, ensuring social distance norms are adhered to in all instances," the release said.

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