Things are beginning to look up for Jana Small Finance Bank, with the launch of its banking operations last month.

After letting go of over 2,300 employees last year, the Bengaluru-based micro lender is now planning to recruit more than 500 employees.

Its headcount has fallen to about 14,000 employees, from 16,357, at the end of March 2017.

“Our employee count did go down… We did not recruit in those positions given the stress we faced post demonetisation,” said Ajay Kanwal, CEO and Managing Director of Jana Small Finance Bank, in a recent interaction with Moneycontrol.

He added that the company is adding 500 employees in April. “It’s in process,” he added.

Janalakhsmi Financial Services had got the Reserve Bank of India’s in-principle nod to set up a bank in September 2015. It got the final licence in April last year. But the Ramesh Ramanathan-promoted company waited for nearly a year for the launch due to high percentage of stressed loans on its balance sheet, sources said.

Banking on better collections

The Ramesh Ramanathan-founded microfinance institution (MFI), along with nine other micro lending entities had received a licence to set up a small finance bank under its differentiated banking concept to push credit to smaller borrowers and induce financial inclusion.

Though Janalakshmi Financial Services was the last MFI to launch operations, when it opened shop on March 28, Kanwal is confident to grow his business given the collections are back to 98 percent rate, from below 50…