After its associate banks, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank is set to be merged with the State Bank of India. The Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) was set up in 2013 under the UPA-II regime. The inauguration was attended by Sonia Gandhi and the project was squarely aimed at financial inclusivity of women in mainstream banking. In a statement, the finance ministry stated that the decision had been taken in light of SBI’s unmatched and extensive reach in urban, semi-urban, and rural India.
The statement by the ministry went on to state that the objectives of affordable credit to women would be fulfilled by the move. Women-centric projects were also on the cards. There had been murmurs of a merger between the associated banks for some weeks now.One of the major problems in domestic banking is that many women are yet to receive the benefits of progress made in banking technology. With more women set to join the State Bank of India network, the number of women joining mainstream banks will also increase.
22 percent of SBI‘s total workforce of more than 2 lakh employees are women. The inclusion of BMB will also give rise to more all-women banks as well as better services. Traditionally, all-women banks have a better service record than traditional banks. Since 2013, when the BMB was set up, the bank has had an enviable record of disbursing loans. Reports suggest that it has it has extended loans worth Rs 192 crores to women borrowers only. the SBI as a group has also given loans worth an estimated Rs 46,000 crore to women borrowers, moves which are sure to support the move. In this context, it must be mentioned that the SBI is already on its way to amalgamating all of its associate banks as well. This will provide better financial inclusion as well as the SBI brand. Five of these associate banks are to become one with the SBI.
Sources in the finance ministry also stated that the government was aiming at financial inclusivity for women. Under thePradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, women are given preference for availing overdraft facilities. In the previous fiscal year, 73 percent of all borrowers from the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana were women.