Asserting that Bharatiya Mahila Bank will emerge as a strong brand over time, its chairman and managing director Usha Ananthasubramanian has said the biggest challenge so far for the country’s first all-woman bank has been to establish itself.
The Bharatiya Mahila Bank, inaugurated by the UPA government last year with a capital infusion of Rs. 1,000 crore, completed a year this November.
“The challenge has been to establish the brand. We are a new player and at every location you are a new face,” Ananthasubramanian said.
Since the business involved dealing with other people’s money, individuals take time to warm up to a new player, she added.
“Even a moneylender in a village enjoys more trust. Unless you become familiar or are introduced to the people over and over again, they will not trust you,” she said.
“We had our own teething problems and now we are putting things in place one after the other…we are building it brick-by-brick. I am sure slowly, but surely we will grow,” she said.
Stating that a performance comparison with other banks waas unfair, she said it was too early for anybody to comment on the success or failure of BMB.
While infrastructure financier IDFC and micro lender Bandhan recently received in-principle approval for opening up a bank have been given 18 months for setting up the bank, BMB just had 55 days between the grant of licence and opening of the branch, Ananthasubramanian said.
“We were provided a gestation period of 55 days to set up the bank in which we had to write our policies, design products, get people, technology in place,” she said, adding that setting up a bank is a different ball-game altogether.