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7 things to know about India's first women's bank

November 20, 2013 08:38 IST

7 things to know about India's first women's bank

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Nikhil Inamdar

With the inauguration of the bank in Mumbai, seven branches would become operational across the country including in Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Guwahati.

India’s first women’s bank, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank has been inaugurated in Mumbai at the iconic Air India building in Nariman Point.

BNB, headed by Usha Ananthasubramanian obtained its license in September and was formed following an announcement to the effect by finance minister P Chidambaram in the budget earlier this year.

Here’s all you wanted to know about this initiative:


Image: Finance Minister P Chidambaram with Usha Ananthasubramanian at the inauguration of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB

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#1 Pan India operations 

BNB will start pan India operations from day one accepting deposits as well as giving out loans.

With the inauguration of the bank in Mumbai, seven branches would become operational across the country including in Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Guwahati. Though the bank makes its debut in a metro and urban centers, it will enter into rural areas before March 2014.

It will follow RBI’s norm to open 25 per cent of branches in underserved and unbanked areas and scout for centers where working women population is significant. 

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Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents the new account kit to the first account holder, at the inauguration of the first branch of Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB

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#2 Expansion plans 

The objective of BNB is to be a profit making, commercial organization and the expectation is that its operations will become profitable from the 4th year.

It plans to open 25 branches by March 2014 and 75 branches every year from then. The bank has a 7 year ramp up plan; the CMD was quoted as saying by the Mint newspaper.  

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Image: Finance Minister P Chidambaram at the inauguration of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB
Tags: BNB , CMD , India

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#3 Restricted to women?

The bank will focus on lending predominantly to women and companies that focus on women’s activities/products but there will be no restriction on deposits by men.

Also, 36% of the probationary officers recruited by BNB are men.

The lending, while it will be chiefly to women with an emphasis on funding for skills development to help in economic activity via small concessions on loans according to reports, the current target is to have a 60:40 ratio where 40% of funds can be loaned out to men as well according to a report in the Mint newspaper.

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Image: UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi lighting the lamp at the inaugural function of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB
Tags: BNB , India

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#4 Capital base

The bank has a capital base of Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) that was approved in the first supplementary by the finance ministry to kick start business.

Through the course of its operations, BNB will continue to look at various other routes to raise capital so that it is not constrained for expansion of normal business.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: BNB , India

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#5 Beyond business

The bank is looking at providing assistance through credit to set up day care centers and start organized catering services. BNB will also tie up with NGOs, and train women in various vocations in order to penetrate deeper into rural areas.

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Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
Tags: BNB , India

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#6 Usha Ananthasubramanian is the CMD 

Usha Ananthasubramanian has been appointed as the CMD of BNB.

She started her career in the actuarial department with LIC and banking career in February 1982 as a specialist officer in the planning stream of Bank of Baroda.

In a career spanning over 31 years, she has worked in various positions in banking and allied areas and before joining BMB, was executive director with Punjab National Bank.

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Image: P Chidambaram with Usha Ananthasubramanian at the inauguration of the Mahila Bank.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB

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#7 Who else is on the board? 

The following members along with a government nominee will constitute the board - Chhavi Rajawat – a sarpanch from Rajasthan, Nupur Mitra – ex-CMD of Dena bank, Renuka Ramnath of  Multiples Alternate Asset Management, MBN Rao – Ex-CMD of Canara Bank, Tanya Dubash - Executive Director and President (Marketing) of the Godrej group and Kalpana Saroj – CEO of Kamani Tubes.

The board will form the core management team.


Image: Tanya Dubash
Photographs: Courtesy, Godrej.

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