With just 17,000 accounts in the first six months of its operations, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) plans to open 57 more branches in the current fiscal and depend more on technology to expand its customer base.
“Apart from brick and mortar branches, I have urged them to harness technology and use it to grow rapidly,” said finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday after a meeting with the board of directors of the bank.
Pointing out that other public sector banks had over 100 years to grow to their present size, Chidambaram said that the Bharatiya Mahila Bank must use technology and means such banking correspondents to expand as it cannot wait for a 100 years to parallel its peers.
The finance minister has also directed the bank to hire laterally from other sectors “to help devise an innovative strategy” to grow. The lateral hirings do not have to take place within the banking sector instead the Bharatiya Mahila Bank can hire professionals such as marketing specialists and strategy advisers he said. Since commencing operations in November 2013, the women-centric Bharatiya Mahila Bank has 17,000 account holders and 23 branches.
It has a deposit base of Rs 87 crore and lending to the tune of Rs 89 crore, said Usha Ananthasubramanian, chairperson and managing director, Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
In FY15, the bank plans to open 53 more branches including in Jammu and Srinagar. The finance minister also ruled out capital infusion in the bank at present.
“More capital will be infused if they require it,” he however, said.
The bank has a capital base of Rs 1,000 crore.