Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited, "the bank for upliftment of the poor" is a microfinance bank established in November 1998 under Company Act of Nepal 1997 (now Company Act 2006). Nepal Rastra Bank, the Central Bank of Nepal, granted a license in April 1999 to undertake banking activities under the Development Bank Act 1996. It started its formal operation from July 1999. Now, operated under Bank and Financial Institutions Act 2006, Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited (NUBL) provides microfinance services such as Loans, Deposits, Micro-insurance and Remittance services to low income families of Nepal. NUBL follows group lending based on Grameen Bank, Bangladesh model as well as group lending based on NUBL developed Self-Relaint Group model through a network of 178 branch offices spread over all 75 districts of Nepal.
Though, legally established as a company in 1998, the operation of NUBL is a continuation of microfinance services provided by an NGO called "NIRDHAN" which was providing microfinance services since March 1993. The story behind the establishment of "NIRDHAN" starts from 1986 when Late Dr. Harihar Dev Pant, then senior officer with the Central Bank of Nepal visited Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. This visit inspired him to launch microfinance program in Nepal resulting the birth of "NIRDHAN" or "People Without Money" in 1991. NIRDHAN began its microfinance operations in March 1993.