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DYK: three benefits of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank

The Mahila bank offers a higher rate of interest on its savings accounts

Only 26% of women in India have a bank account compared with 46% among men, according to World Bank. The situation is equally bad when it comes to availing loans or making savings. With this in view, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd was launched in 2013, to focus predominantly on women as consumers of financial products.


The Mahila bank offers a higher rate of interest on its savings accounts. Most banks offer interest rates around 4% for amounts of less than 1 lakh.

The Mahila Bank’s savings bank account comes with an interest rate of 4.5% for balances of up to 1 lakh, and 5% for bigger balances. It also gives unlimited free transactions at the bank’s automated teller machines (ATMs). For an ordinary savings account, some banks offer only limited number of free ATM withdrawals.


Since the Mahila Bank is targeted at the under-banked and unbanked sections, let’s see how the interest rate compared with other public sector and smaller banks. The Mahila Bank offers between 4.5% and 9.2% interest rate on fixed deposits (FDs) of up to 1 crore. For instance, interest rate on its one-year FD is 9%, on one-year to 554 days it is 9%, and 9.2% for 555 days. In comparison, interest rate at State Bank of India (SBI), for example, ranges from 5-8.5%, and its 1-2-year FDs come with an interest rate of 8.5%. Saraswat Co-operative Bank Ltd offers interest rates in the 4.5-8.75% range, and its 1-2 years FDs come with an interest rate of 8.75%. A small bank such as Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd’s interest rates are in the range of 5.5-8.9%; its 1-2-year FDs will fetch you 8.8%.


Not many banks have business loans for occupations or needs that are specific to women. Some of the banks that do offer loans to women entrepreneurs include SBI (Stree Shakti Scheme), Oriental Bank of Commerce (women entrepreneurs scheme/financing beauty parlours), and Bank of Baroda (Akshaya Mahila Arthik Sahay Yojna).

The Mahila Bank, too, has loans catering to women. It offers BMB Shringaar-Loan (to start beauty parlours, saloon and spas); BMB Annapurna Loan (for catering businesses); BMB Parvarish-Loan (to open daycare centres); and BMB Kitchen Modernization Loan. Women as young as 18 and 21 can avail of these loans. The tenors range between three and seven years.

The loan amounts, depending on the type of loan, are between 50,000 and 5 lakh. The interest rates vary between 11.75% and 12.25%, and are lower than those offered by other banks. For instance, the OBC loan comes with interest rates of 12.5-12.75%.

Apart from these, the know-your-customer process is a little simpler, but much depends on your financial profile and the type of product you want. Mostly, what you need is your identity and address proofs, previous two year’s income tax returns, company financials and past six months’ bank account statements.

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