India’s first women’s bank, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank will be inaugurated today in Mumbai at the iconic Air India building in Nariman Point. BMB, 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 –
#1 Pan India operations
BMB 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, Ahemdabad 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% of branches in underserved and unbanked areas and scout for centers where working women population is significant.
#2 Expansion plans
The objective of BMB 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.
#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 BMB 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.
#4 Capital base
The bank has a capital base of Rs 1,000 crore that was approved in the first supplementary by the finance ministry to kick start business.Through the course of its operations, BMB will continue to look at various other routes to raise capital so that it is not constrained for expansion of normal business.
#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.
#6 Usha Ananthasubramanian is the CMD
Usha Ananthasubramanian has been appointed as the CMD of BMB. 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.
#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.