R. Sairam

MADURAI: The Indian Bank will be opening an exclusive branch for micro-financing here by the middle of March. As of Friday, the bank has only 14 such ‘Micro Sate’ branches in the country — four are in Tamil Nadu.

“The branch will serve as a one-stop shop for providing credit and credit-plus services to self-help groups (SHG),” M. Kathiresan, Deputy General Manager and Circle Head, Indian Bank, Madurai, told The Hindu here on Friday.

In the first year of its performance, he said, the branch aimed to add 2,500 new SHGs and extend fresh loans to the tune of Rs. 25 crore, and within three years a total of 9,500 groups and credit to the tune of Rs. 125 crore.

The accounts of the 910 groups in various Madurai City branches, with loans amounting to Rs. 8.56 crore, would be transferred to ‘Micro Sate’ branch, Mr. Kathiresan said. This branch would be headed by a specialist officer. It would focus exclusively on SHG promotion, SHG credit linkages, ‘skill upgradation’ of groups, product promotion and market linkage.

The branch would also serve as a study centre for the SHG movement. It would have a mini library with reading material on women empowerment, social aspects for SHG movement, various schemes available with the banking sector and the Government support for SHG members.

Apart from being fully computerised, the branch, to be located at Tallakulam, will also be equipped with a biometric ATM. It would have space for SHGs to display their products

Apart from the regular schemes, the branch would also offer special schemes for housing, children’s education, and the Janashree Bima Yojana jointly brought out by Centre and Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) for the rural poor.

Indian Bank plans to open, before this March, another 13 such facilities across the country, of which nine would be in Tamil Nadu, he added.

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