Bharatiya Mahila Bank

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Bharatiya Mahila Bank
Type State ownership
Industry Banking, Financial services
Founded 2013
Headquarters New Delhi, India
Key people Usha Ananthasubramanian (Chairman & MD)
Products core banking, credit card, consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, wealth management
Owner(s) Government of India

Bharatiya Mahila Bank (Hindi: भारतीय महिला बैंक) (BMB) is an Indian financial services banking company based in New Delhi, India.Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the system on 19 November 2013 on the occasion of the 94th birth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.[1] Although initially reported as a bank exclusively for women, the bank allows deposits to flow from everyone, but lending will be predominantly for women. India is the third country in the world to have a bank especially for women, after Pakistan and Tanzania.[2]

The bank has been criticized as adopting a segregational approach to gender equality. Uma Shashikant of the The Hindu writes:

Women-only banks are another instance of wanting to treat women ‘differently’. We guise this in many forms, some in garbs of reverence, some as protection, but they are all forms of discrimination that promote gender-based stereotyping. Women-only organisations stem from this eagerness to patronise women in the name of preferential treatment.[3]

Banking For Women[edit]

In India, only 26% of women have an account with a formal financial institution, compared with 46% of men. That means an account in either a bank, a credit union, a co-operative, post office or a microfinance institution, according to a study by the World Bank.[4] Also, for women, per capita credit is 80 per cent lower than males.[5]

Furthermore, the results of a study using a global dataset covering 350 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in 70 countries indicates that more women clients is associated with lower portfolio-at-risk, lower write-offs, and lower credit-loss provisions, ceteris paribus.[6] provision


The bank will also place 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.[7]

The bank shall also aim to inspire people with entrepreneurial skills and, in conjunction with NGOs, plans to locally mobilize women to train them in vocations like toy-making or driving tractors or mobile repairs, according to Usha Ananthasubramanian (CMD).[8]

One of the other objectives of the bank is to promote asset ownership amongst women customers.[9] Studies have shown that asset ownership amongst women reduces their risk of suffering from domestic violence.[10]


The Bank's initial capital consists of Rs 1,000 crores. The government plans to have 25 branches of the said bank by the end of March 2014 and 500 branches by 4th year of operation (2017).

US-based FIS Global, in partnership with Wipro is leading the race for a Rs 1,000-crore contract to provide IT systems at the country’s first women-focussed bank, it is reliably learnt. [11]


The government has chosen the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point in Mumbai to open the first branch of Bank.[12] A senior Air India official said the company has agreed in principle to give space to the bank. “The branch will come up in the 5,000 sq ft space on the sea-facing side of the building. With the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, we will have two bank branches on the ground floor of the building — the other is a Bank of India branch,” said a senior Air India official.

The Bharatiya Mahila Bank, which started operations from November 2013, is planning to open a modest 33,400 accounts through 39 branches in its first year.

Key management[edit]

Initially the bank will have a board of directors consisting of eight women. [13] The board consists of a business graduate sarpanch from Rajasthan, Chhavi Rajawat, Dalit entrepreneur Kalpana Saroj, who turned around a tubes business, retired public banker Nupur Mitra, academic Pakiza Samad, private equity professional Renuka Ramnath, Godrej Group executive Director Tanya Dubash and Priya Kumar, a government nominee.[14]

One of the key objective of the Bank is focus on the banking needs of women and promote economic empowerment through women's growth and developments.


  1. ^ "Prime Minister of India Inaugurated the system". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  2. ^ "Bharatiya Mahila Bank: All you need to know about first all-women bank". Firstpost. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  3. ^ Uma Shashikant (2013-08-25). "Must banks too go pink?". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  4. ^ "BBC News - India PM Singh opens bank for women". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  5. ^ Our Bureau. "Now open, the first bank for women | Business Line". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  6. ^ Roy Mersland, Bert D'Espallier, Isabelle Guérin (November 18, 2010). "Women and Repayment in Microfinance". SSRN. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  7. ^ FP Staff (2013-03-07). "Bharatiya Mahila Bank: All you need to know about first all-women bank". Firstpost. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  8. ^ "Women’s Bank will inspire people with entrepreneurial skills, says CMD". Livemint. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  9. ^ "Govt to seek Cabinet approval for Rs 1,000 cr Bhartiya Mahila Bank". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  10. ^ "Property Ownership & Inheritance Rights of Women for Social Protection– The South Asia Experience: Synthesis report of three studies". ICRW. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  11. ^ Adith Charlie (2013-09-18). "Wipro-US firm team leads race for Rs 1,000-cr Mahila Bank deal | Business Line". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  12. ^ "Mahila Bank’s first branch at AI building at Nariman Point". Financial Express. 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  13. ^ "Bhartiya Mahila Bank will offer higher interest rate on savings a/c: Highlights". 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  14. ^ "Bharatiya Mahila Bank, India’s first all-women bank, opens". 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 

External links[edit]

Official website