BWDA started its work with the objective of working for the socio-economic development of bullock-cart workers, rural artisans, labourers, low-income households, marginalised and downtrodden in India.
In 1988, BWDA started forming groups of women members – Self Help Groups (SHGs) of bullock-cart workers families, who were trained to use their pooled savings for meeting their credit needs. BWDA implemented various programmes with the support of government agencies to strengthen credit linkage to SHGs. From 1999, BWDA started functioning as a financial intermediary and started lending directly to the SHG / JLGs using the loan funds mobilised from Banks and other financial institutions.
Realising the constraints of the legal form and the huge potential for growth in future it was decided to bring microfinance operations under a separate and more formal legal entity. To materialise this objective, the microfinance operations were subsequently implemented through a Non Banking Finance Company (NBFC). By August 2003, the process of management and name change were completed and BWDA Finance Limited (BFL) came into existence.
BWDA Finance Limited is unique in its ownership. Its clients and staff hold majority of shares. The remaining are with SIDBI, Dia Vikas Pvt Ltd., Centre for Development Education (CED) and the promoters. Presently BFL undertakes microfinance operations while BWDA focuses on the development activities and projects. BFL offers market oriented financial services and other credit plus services to improve financial inclusion and access for the low-income households, marginalised and unbanked.