The decision to merge the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with the State Bank of India (SBI) is aimed at ensuring greater banking services outreach to a larger number of women and at a faster pace, the finance ministry said on Monday.
“The objectives of affordable credit to women as well as propagation of women-centric products need to be quickly achieved through a wider network and lower cost of funds,” the ministry said in a statement. In the three years since BMB was established, it has offered loans of R192 crore to women, while the SBI group has provided loans of about R46,000 crore to women. SBI has more than 20,000 branches and the lowest cost of funds in the banking sector, the ministry said.
Last month, the Cabinet approved the merger of five associate banks with SBI, paving the way for the first such wide-scale consolidation exercise to create a banking behemoth. After the Cabinet meeting on February 15, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said although the Cabinet didn’t take up any proposal for the merger of BMB with SBI, it was very much under the government’s consideration.
The decision to amalgamate BMB with SBI has been taken in view of the advantage of the large network of SBI, among other things, the finance ministry said on Monday.