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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#EMPOWERMENT: India launches first ever "Women's Only" bank

The Indian government has launched the country’s first ever “All Women’s Bank”, aimed at empowering the country’s female population, a vast majority of whom don’t have access to banking services.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram inaugurated the Bhartiya Mahila Bank on the 94th birth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which fell on Tuesday 19 November.

The bank – which is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting eight female executives - will provide banking assistance to self-help groups, women’s charities and to businesses that are managed by women.

A total of 39 BMB will open in the first year of operation with Mr Chidambaram saying that plans are afoot to open foreign locations as well. 

Whilst there are no restrictions on men opening accounts with the bank, lending by the bank will concentrate predominantly on women who will be offered concessionary repayment plans and interest rates.

India has no fewer than eight women bank CEO’s including Chanda Kochhar, chief executive of ICICI Bank and Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairwoman of the State Bank of India. 

However, only a fourth of women in the country have bank accounts.

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