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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

Chairperson Of All-Women Bank Explains How She Provides Simple Banking To Women Wage Laborers

  • IWB Post
  •  May 1, 2018

I have a confession. I suck at banking. I think it is especially because both of my parents are bankers. While Blogger Jayati doesn’t know anything about making sweets (for the same reason), I don’t understand banking.

But hey, it’s not something you’d be proud of.

Lakhimi Barua came up with the concept of an all-women bank. She realized that women from the lower-class were not necessarily housewives. She pledged to start the bank and called it Konoklota Mahila Urban Cooperative Bank (KMUCB). The foundation of the bank was laid in Assam.KMUCB

Before Lakhimi started her own bank, she worked as an employee in one. During her job, she saw that illiterate women did not even benefit a little bit from banking services.

The Bank received its license from the RBI in 2000. The Chairperson of the KMUCB, Sakuntala Devi, told us about the functioning of the bank & its customers, among other things.

The Customers

“We work at the grass root level, targeting the BPL groups around us. Most of our customers belong to the SC, ST, OBC castes. 70% of our customers are illiterate, and that’s why they come to us! We are a simple bank for our simple customers.”KMUCB

“Since they are hand-to-mouth customers, it is essential for them to save, especially during the times of an emergency. We show our customers how they can earn money, and even start their own business.”

Regular & Soft Loans

“We have a lot of small vendors coming to us. They go from house to house to sell things. By word of mouth, they get to hear that the best way to get a funding is through our bank, which is easily accessible and readily available.”

“A loan for as little as Rs. 500 can be provided to the customers. While most banks start their account deposits with Rs. 2000, with us, it is possible to open an account with zero.”

“Women usually take loans to open small ‘paan’ and ‘supari’ shops. Some of them opt for tailoring, broiling, etc.”

A Habit Of Saving

“In every household, women tend to know how to save, but still, don’t do it. We need to build a habit of saving up. If we have Rs. 50, we should save up Rs. 5, and assume we had only Rs. 45 to begin with.”KMUCB

“They must save up according to their needs, and even if they begin their savings with Re. 1, it will be a start.”

The bank has been functional since 1998 and currently has four branches, with a recovery rate of 93%. There have been schemes launched for many public sector banks, and the bank waits for the Government to let their customers have the same benefits.

This article was first published on October 7, 2017.

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