Finance Minister P.Chidambaram, on Tuesday, said that the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) would be a universal bank which would establish branches across India and offer all banking products that a regular commercial bank offers. 

 “BMB would design and offer special products tailor made to the needs of women.  It will cater to everybody from self help groups to lower middle class women to high net worth individuals,” said Mr. Chidambaram at a press conference at the newly opened BMB branch here .

 It will establish branches all over the country and, “in due course, some branches abroad,” Mr. Chidambaram added.

 Finance Minister said only 26 percent of women in India have bank accounts and per capita credit for women is currently 80 percent lower than that for men.  He said, “there is deep seated bias, at the institutional and individual levels against women. Since fewer women have bank accounts, fewer women get bank loans. Hence, the need for a bank that caters predominantly to women’s needs”. 

 Mr. Chidambaram added that “the seed we have sown today, when it branches out and flowers, it will bring enormous benefits to half the population of the country.”  Apart from the Nariman Point branch in Mumbai, Bharatiya Mahila Bank has six other branches at Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Guwahati. Two other branches, in Delhi and Indore, would be inaugurated in December after the conclusion of state assembly election process there.  

By the end of the financial year, the bank plans to open at least 25 branches, eyeing a presence in every state capital. The bank network would be expanded in subsequent years to reach 770 branches by 2020, covering Tier II and III cities, rural areas and unbanked areas.

The bank has drawn up an ambitious business plan to touch Rs. 60,000 crore total business (deposits plus advances) by 2020.

 BMB, headquartered in New Delhi, is headed by Usha Ananthasubramanian, a public sector banker with 31 years of experience. The Finance Minister also announced the eight ember all-women board of directors of the bank. 

The other members on the board include Chhavi Rajawat, a sarpanch from Rajasthan, Nupur Mitra, former CMD of Dena bank, Renuka Ramnath of Multiples Alternate Asset Management, Tanya Dubash - Executive Director and President (Marketing) of the Godrej group, Kalpana Saroj - CEO of Kamani Tubes and government nominee Priya Kumar.

 In the Budget 2013-14, the Finance Minister had announced setting up of all-women bank with an initial capital of Rs. 1,000 crore.  

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