Agartala, March 24 IANS | 9 months ago

The Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB), the country's first all-women bank, aiming to economically empower women will open 55 more branches across the country by next fiscal (2014-15), a senior bank official said here Monday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the BMB Nov 19, 2013, simultaneously opening seven branches of the government-owned bank. Before the end of the current fiscal (2013-14), the number of branches would be 24 in the country.

"To empower the women economically, the total number of branches across India would be about 80 by March 2015. There are some specially designed schemes of the BMB to encourage women, specially rural women to become entrepreneurs," said Usha Ananthasubramanian, BMB chairman and managing director.

Of the 80 branches, 20 percent would be set up in rural areas.

After inaugurating the 20th branch of the BMB, she said: "Normally women are shy to come to banks run by men. Our aim is to involve housewives, unemployed young women, rural and energetic ladies to start small units taking loan from this bank on concessional schemes."

Ananthasubramanian said the access to finance and banking not only helps empower women but also broadens the social base of development, thus fostering equitable growth. "It would cater to every segment of women from self-help groups to lower middle class women to high net worth individuals with basket of various products to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth."

"With the opening of various branches all over the country, it would work to empower women to contribute to towards the growth of mainstream economy."

According to another bank official, the BMB would open five more branches by March 31 in Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

Ananthasubramanian said the bank is currently offering an interest of 5 percent on saving bank account with balance of Rs.1 lakh and above and for amount less than Rs.1 lakh, interest rate is 4.5 percent. The interest for deposits up to Rs.1 crore is 9.15 percent and for deposits above Rs.1 crore is 9.25 percent.

Education, beauty parlour loan and loan to establish catering units, apart from banking loan for vehicle, home have been incorporated for the benefit of women, said the BMB chief.

The bank has tied up with New India Assurance Company Limited for providing general insurance services to serve the needs of women.

It offers total collateral free loan up to Rs.1 crore by covering it under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises.

(Posted on 24-03-2014)

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