India’s first ever state-owned women’s bank

1. India’s first ever state-owned women’s bank will be inaugurated in Mumbai today and even though the bank will focus on lending predominantly to women, there will be no restriction on account opening ( deposits) by men.
2. The Bharatiya Mahila Bank will accept deposits as well as give loans from day one. It will lend to women or to businesses which are either managed by or make products for women. There will also be emphasis on funding for skills developments to help in economic activity. Moreover, the products will be designed in a manner to give a slight concession on loan rates to women.
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.
4. Post the inaugural, seven branches would become operational across the country, including Kolkata, Chennai, Ahemdabad and Guwahati.
5. Even though the bank is making its debut in metros and urban centre, it will enter rural areas before March 2014. It will focus on centres where working women population is significant.
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.
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.
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.
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