The country's first pan-India national women's bank will be launched in Mumbai today. Here are 10 things you should know about the bank:
1.India's first ever state-owned women's bank will be inaugurated in Mumbai today and even thoughthe bank will focus on lending predominantly to women, there will be no restriction on account opening ( deposits) by men."We welcome both men and women to open accounts with us but for loans there will be a positive bias towards women, said Usha Ananthasubramanian the chairperson of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in an interview with CNBC-TV18. So basically, deposits will flow from everyone, but lending will be predominantly for women.
2.The Bharatiya Mahila Bank will accept deposits as well as give loans from day one. It will lend towomen or to businesses which are either managed by or make products for women. There will also beemphasis on funding for skills developments to help in economic activity. Moreover, the products will be designed in a manner to givea slight concession on loan rates to women.
"We are looking to give 4.5% on savings accounts up to Rs.1 lakh and 5% for above Rs1 lakh to encourage more savings,"Ananthasubramanian told CNBC-TV18.
3.The government has chosen the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point in Mumbai to open the first branch of Bharatiya Mahila Bank. The branch will be in a 5,000 sq ft space on the ground floor.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will be present at the inaugural ceremony in Mumbai today . Finance Minister P Chidambaram will also be present at the ceremony today. The inaugural day is the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
4. Post the inaugural,seven branches would become operational across the country, including Kolkata, Chennai, Ahemdabad and Guwahati. The government proposed opening of the bank branches in Delhi and Indore also, which has been disallowed by the poll body till the end of polls.Headquartered in Delhi, the bank proposes to have 25 branches by March 31, 2014. So,after starting with one branch in each banking region, the bank will expand to 500 branches by the fourth year of operation,which is when it sees operations becoming profitable.
5. Even though the bank is making its debut in metros and urban centre, it will enter rural areas beforeMarch 2014. It will focus on centres where working women population is significant. For instance it could be placed where there are large women farm labour,Usha Ananthasubramanian told Business Standard.
6. In Budget 2013-14, the Finance Minister had announced setting up of all-women bank with an initial capital of Rs 1,000 crore.A core management team of seven members has been formed by the government of India, headed by Usha Ananthasubramanian, to set up the bank advised by SBI Capital Markets. The application was made in June and the final licence was obtained by 25 September.
"Women are heads of many banks today, including two public sector banks, but there is no bank that exclusively serves women. Can we have a bank that lends mostly to women and women-run businesses, that supports women SHGs and women's livelihood, that employs predominantly women, and that addresses gender-related aspects of empowerment and financial inclusion? I think we can," Chidambaram had said.
7 One of its primary goals is the financial inclusion of India's unbanked, more specifically, rural women. Women are the most underutilized economic asset of our country. Our goal is to be the foremost provider of banking services to women," said Ananthasubramanian.
" This bank's approach will be to inspire people with entrepreneurial skills. We will tie up with NGOs. We will also locally mobilize women to train them in vocations like toy-making or driving tractors or mobile repairs. We will try to reach deeper rural pockets," Ananthasubramanian was quoted as saying by the Mint.
8.And While men may be precluded from taking a loan from it, they have not been left out when it comes to employment in India's first 'Mahila' (women's) public sector bank.Men account for about 36 percent of the candidates found provisionally eligible for appointment as Probationary Officers in the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.The probationary officer post is an entry-level position in the officer's grade in Bharatiya Mahila Bank had advertised 115 vacancies for this rank last month, and selected 103 candidates, according to the results notification.
9.The finance ministry has asked public sector banks to provide 125 officers for deputation to the first woman-focused lender. Most of these officers would be taken at one level above in the women's bank, but their experience here would not count for promotions.
10. Ananthasubramanian, 55, started her career in 1982 at Bank of Baroda as a specialist officer in the planning stream.She holds a dual master's degree - in statistics from the Madras University and in ancient Indian culture from the Mumbai University. Before joining the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, Usha Ananthasubramanian was executive director of Punjab National Bank.