Guardian Bank in Bangalore, India

Guardian Bank of India is unlike any other bank, because it is owned by its 30,000 low income loan recipients. Its mission: lending start-up capital to low-income people who would not qualify for a loan from a commercial bank. And ending the ruinous practice of loan sharks who charge exorbitant interest rates. With more than 30,000 loans successfully repaid, Guardian bank is one of the most successful micro-loan enterprises in the world.

Guarding Bank: Its Beginning.

It is now more than two decades since Guardian Bank[1] was established in Bangalore, India. “Looking back,” writes Collin Timms, the founder of Guardian Bank, “it still amazes us that so much has been accomplished. With faith and determination, I went about convincing others to share the same faith, starting with family, friends, and those closest to me; for such a task cannot be accomplished single-handed.”

The story of Guardian Bank was featured in a recent Seattle Pacific University alumni magazine. From that article we learn:

Timms is the son of a factory worker. His family lived in factory quarters on a campus with 1500 people. The Timms family was one of the few Christian families on the property. Collin Timms went on to earn an engineering degree and became a highly successful entrepreneur. “I began to feel that I’m blessed and I don’t deserve all these blessings,” Timms said. He was interested in making microbusiness loans to poor families. He went from church to church to gather the funds to establish the Guardian Bank. Unlike commercial banks, Guardian is a cooperative bank, owned by its members and not established to focus solely on maximizing its profits.[2]

The poor would not have qualified for a loan from a commercial bank. Timms created a bank where low-income customers would qualify for a loan. “We want to take a more humane view and see how we can help them,” Timms said.

Sharon Joseph, CEO and Collin Timms, founder

Timms remembers feeling God’ presence throughout the process of founding Guardian Bank. “You feel that you’re being led. Every circumstance, every meeting, every person you talk to,” he said. “ had no idea how it would pan out, but I felt that I was being led.

Sharon Joseph, a Bible study leader and an active member of her local church, has been CEO of Guardian Bank since 2000. She remembers a young man who took out a loan in 1999 for $180 to start a small business selling noodles and other items on a street corner. “Today he is completely debt-free,” she said. This man bought a house and is renting out other houses for additional income.”

You can read the entire Guardian Bank article here.


[2] You can read the entire article here.

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