Among many poorer residents of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, Sahara has substance.
Its sponsorship of the Indian cricket team in a country mad about the sport adds to its credibility in small towns.
"Sahara bank? That way," an elderly tea stall operator in Harraiya said when asked for the location of the Sahara branch office, erroneously referring to it as a bank.
The branch itself, up a flight of stairs in a nondescript grey concrete building, was bustling on a recent day.
Sahara customers interviewed in Uttar Pradesh said they trusted the company, which has been around more than 30 years. Some had reinvested in Sahara products when they matured.
Sahara operates through nearly a million agents, who sign up clients and collect payments, sometimes on a daily basis.
"I have never been to a Sahara office. The agent comes, does all the paperwork, and collects the money," said Anil Tripathi, a travel agent who said he had doubled his money with Sahara.
Sahara has built a large niche in a country where 90 percent of the workforce is informally employed, half of households do not have bank accounts and loan-sharking is rife.
"The smallest of the small, the poorest of the poor - the banking industry is not able to cater to them," said Arvind Mohan, a Lucknow University economist.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar at the Sahara India Sports Awards 2010. Events such as these which have their share of big-name celebrities help keep Sahara in the limelight.