Bandhan Bank has become the first micro-finance company in India to start operation as full-fledged scheduled commercial bank.
The bank was inaugurated by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Kolkata, ushering in a new era in country’s banking sector to reach out to the unbanked population.
- Bandhan Bank has begun its operations after it had received an in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India in April 2014 and final nod on June, 2015.
- It was established in 2001 as a not-for-profit micro-finance enterprise by Chandra Shekhar Ghosh with an aim to alleviate poverty by empowering women. Later in 2006, it had transformed itself into a non-banking finance company (NBFC).
- Bandhan Bank will now primarily cater to the unorganized sector in India like daily wage earners and women running small businesses.
- Headquarters: It has two divisions viz. micro banking and general banking.
- As a bank, it will also offer services like savings, remittance and insurance services. Presently, it has 501 branches, 2022 service centres and 50 ATMs across 24 states.
- Over 71 per cent of its branches are in rural India including 35 per cent in unbanked rural pockets. State-wise, West Bengal has highest 220 branches, followed by Bihar (67), Assam (60), Maharashtra (21), Uttar Pradesh and Tripura (20 each) and Jharkhand (15).
It should be noted that prior to starting operation as commercial bank, Bandhan was World’s largest Non-Deposit-accepting Microfinance Institution (MFI) and India’s largest microfinance company.