The country’s first all-women commercial bank, the Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB), was inaugurated on Tuesday. The inauguration took place in Mumbai, and the event was graced by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Congress Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram and the RBI Governor Mr. Raghuram Rajan among other dignitaries. With this, the BMB commenced operations across seven branches.
Some important highlights about the Bhartiya Mahila Bank:
- The BMB is the first public sector bank created by the Government of India. All other PSU banks such as SBI were, to begin with, private banks and were later nationalized.
- The bank was launched with a corpus of Rs. 1000 Cr.
- The interest offered by BMB is as high as 4.5 % for savings accounts up to Rs. 1 lakh and 5 % for savings accounts beyond Rs. 1 lakh.
- The total business for BMB is forecasted to grow to 60,000 Cr. by 2020. Also, the number of branches will to 25 by mid 2014 and 770 branches by 2020.
- It will lend to women or to businesses which are either managed by or make products for women.
- The Bank will be headed by Usha Ananthsubramanian and will have an eighth member board comprising members such as Tanya Dubash daughter of Adi Godrej, Kalpana Saroj, chairperson of Kamani Tubes, Chhavi Rajawat, the Harvard educated sarpanch of Soda village in Rajasthan and Nupur Mitra, ex-chairman of Dena Bank.
- The Bank will be headquartered in Delhi.
More than half of India’s population remains unbanked. Only 26% of women in India admit to having a bank account. The primary purpose of the BMB is financial inclusion of India's unbanked rural women. Also, one of the biggest issues faced by women is the problem of pledging collaterals against loans. The BMB aims to address this issue by offering collateral-free loans of up to Rs 1 crore to women.
Let us all hope that the Bhartiya Mahila Bank succeeds in its noble cause of financially aiding the women of our country. Indeed, the success of a nation lies in the success of its women.
- Sufiyan Sarguroh
SIMSREE Finance Forum