Monday, May 2, 2016

Bharatiya Mahila Bank is opposed to merger with a PSU

AT A time when rumours are doing the rounds about a possible merger of the three-year old Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with another PSU, the senior management in the bank is opposed to such a move. They feel that the infant bank should be given more time, support and special bank status to execute its mission of empowering women. They argue that the BMB has got good potential and results have proved the same. The need of the hour is government's support...
for lateral recruitment, appointment of professional independent directors and some relaxation when it comes to statutory requirements.
After inaugurating two branches in Chennai, SM Swathi, executive director of BMB, who now heads the Bank, told a business daily that the bank has huge potential not only in urban areas, but also in semi-urban and rural areas. It needs some more time to stablise and some support from the government.
The bank need permission to go for lateral recruitment as the senior level people, including DGMs, AGMs and others have come on a deputation for three years and they will be going back now.
"In the next 2-3 years, our own people can pick up the way they are working now. Here and there we need to go for lateral recruitment for specailised people for various departments," said Swathi.
She also argues that the bank needs professionals, including CAs, from IT field and others as independent directors, to help in decision making. The bank also need some relaxation when it comes to meeting the agriculture loan target as it don't have much reach. The other key requirements is in the IT infrastructure. On the rumours BMB may be taken over by another PSU or will be merged, she said that so far no such information came to them.
During the first half of 2015-16, BMB did not grow as expected, due to the rumour. "We were also asked not to go in a big way, so we could not open desired number of branches and business. We really took off from the second half of the year and did wonderfully well," said Swathi.
The bank’s CASA increased to 23 per cent from 9.5 per cent in one year. The growth is highest compared to any other banks in the country. CASA levels increased mainly due to over 3,000 financial literacy campaigns conducted across all the branches which attracted more women to enroll and made their saving to deposit.
The bank’s NPA level is less than 0.25 per cent and it continues to report profit, against SBI Cap's initial projection of loss for first five years. NPA levels are lower since the bank don't go for big ticket loans and keep following up the accounts.
The bank has increased number of branches to 100 from 56 in just four months. As of today, the BMB has 102 branches and planning to take it to 150 this year. Bank's client base doubled to 3.5 lakh in one year, of the total client base around 70 per cent are women.
"This Bank is doing well and number speaks itself for the same," she said.
BMB set a target to close the financial year with a total business of around Rs 5,000 crore as against Rs 1,550 crore currently.
The bank has several women centric products to cater to the needs of the entire pyramid of women – women in corporate sector, women entrepreneurs, women SHGs, women JLGs and individuals. To encourage more women to integrate into the economic mainstream as women entrepreneurs, the Bank offers collateral free loans of up to Rs one crore, covering the same under CGTMSE, said Swathi.
Emphasizing the need for Financial Literacy for all segments of women, Swathi said that the Bank conducts Financial Literacy Camps on the last day of every week, through all its branches.
BMB Her Auto - Loan for women auto drivers, BMB Annapurna – Catering Service Loan, BMB Parvarish- Child Day Care Centre Loan and BMB Shringaar- Beauty Parlour Loan are some of the women centric loan products offered by the Bank.
The Bank’s customer friendly Mobile Banking App – BMB m-Xpress is an easy to use mobile banking app, Swathi said and can be downloaded from Google playstore. BMB Smartbanking, the Internet Banking Facility of the Bank, has several value added features including opening of FDs and RDs online. The bank is on UPI (Unified Payments Interface) also0. The Bank also provides women centric insurance products. The Bank offers Government Social Security Schemes. While the focus is on Economic Empowerment of Women, the Bank’s products, services and facilities can be availed by men as well. The bank offers 4.5 percent interest for Savings below Rupees One Lakh and 5 percent for the entire balance for amount above Rs one lakh. In Tamil Nadu, the bank already has branches at Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Kancheepuram and Tiruchirappalli. In Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala, the bank has five, four, seven and seven branches respectively.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the bank on November 19, 2013 on the occasion of the 96th birth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Although initially meant 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.

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