Bharatiya Mahila Bank

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Bharatiya Mahila Bank
State ownership
Industry Banking, Financial services
Founded 2013; 4 years ago (2013)/Merged with State Bank of India on 1st April 2017
Headquarters Delhi, India
Key people
S. M. Swathi (ED)
Products core banking, credit card, consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, wealth management
Owner Government of India
Number of employees

Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) was an Indian financial services banking company based in Mumbai, India. Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the system on 19 November 2013 on the occasion of the 96th 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 was merged with State Bank of India on 31 March 2017.

Banking for women[edit]

In India, only 26% of women have an account with a formal financial institution, compared with 46% of men. (This has changed after the initiation of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana - accounts of women jumped radically to 60%) 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.[3] Also, for women, per capita credit is 80 per cent lower than males.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

The bank shall also aim to inspire people with entrepreneurial skills and, in conjunction with NGOs, plans to locally mobilise women to train them in vocations like toy-making or driving tractors or mobile repairs, according to Usha Ananthasubramanian (CMD).[7]

One of the other objectives of the bank is to promote asset ownership amongst women customers.[8] Studies have shown that asset ownership amongst women reduces their risk of suffering from domestic violence.[9]


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). As of date it has 105 Branches.

US-based FIS Global, in partnership with Wipro is providing IT systems at the country’s first women-focussed bank. [10]


The Bank currently has 103 branches and is planning to open more than 700 branches within 2 years. Currently Bharatiya Mahila Bank's branches are located at the following places- Mumbai-Nariman Point, Central Mumbai-Ghatkopar, Thane, Pune, Patna, Noida, Chandigarh, Bhubaneshwar, Panchkula, Kochi, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Indore, Bhopal, New Delhi-Nehru Palace, New Delhi-Model Town, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Patna, Ranchi, Raipur, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shimla, Shillong, Gangtok, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, Alwar, Dholpur, Komargiri, Kakinada, Goa-Panji, Agartala, Agra, Haridwar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Dehradun, Doddapalya, Kutiyatu, Murshidabad and Lalithadripura.

Key management[edit]

Bharatiya Mahila Bank was wholly owned by Government of India.Initially the bank had a board of directors consisting of eight women. Mrs. Usha Ananthasubramanian was the chairman and managing director of the Bank and SM Swathi was executive director of Bank.The board consisted 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 a government nominee.Details can be seen on bank's website

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


The bank has been criticised as adopting a segregationist approach to gender equality. Uma Shashikant of 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.[11]

Merger with State Bank of India[edit]

As part of the Modi government's banking reforms, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, launched in 2013, was merged with State Bank of India from April 1, 2017. The merger would mean 103 branches and business of Rs. 2,000 crores added to SBI. The bank employees, who had joined on deputation, would be transferred back to their previous banks.


  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. ^ "BBC News - India PM Singh opens bank for women". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  4. ^ Our Bureau. "Now open, the first bank for women | Business Line". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  5. ^ Roy Mersland; Bert D'Espallier; Isabelle Guérin (18 November 2010). "Women and Repayment in Microfinance". SSRN. SSRN 1711396Freely accessible. 
  6. ^ FP Staff (2013-03-07). "Bharatiya Mahila Bank: All you need to know about first all-women bank". Firstpost. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  7. ^ "Women’s Bank will inspire people with entrepreneurial skills, says CMD". Livemint. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  8. ^ "Govt to seek Cabinet approval for Rs 1,000 cr Bhartiya Mahila Bank". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  9. ^ "Property Ownership & Inheritance Rights of Women for Social Protection– The South Asia Experience: Synthesis report of three studies" (PDF). ICRW. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Uma Shashikant (2013-08-25). "Must banks too go pink?". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 

External links[edit]

  • Official Website [1]