Laxmibai Mahila Bank’s digital services and educational activities are attracting women customers:
Laxmibai Mahila Nagrik Sahakari Bank in Gwalior is an example of women empowerment, not just in the city but in the whole of Madhya Pradesh. The vision of the bank is to make women self-employed. Alka Shrivastava, President, explains: “What was good for the bank at the inception was that it was trying to make women financially efficient as well as involving more and more women to be become entrepreneurs. We have been systematically connecting female customers to the bank through banking activities, leading them to become financially independent. They are entering into many entrepreneurship programs and joining small to big businesses with the help of financial support from the bank.”
RISING BUSINESS & PROFIT
The bank has 3500 women shareholders. It accepts all types of deposits and offers a variety of services, including saving account, current account, recurring account, fixed deposit, daily collection and investment schemes. The total amount of deposits has increased to Rs703 million as of 31 December 2020 from Rs687 million 9 months ago. Says Shrivastava: “The total number of women depositors has risen by 1557 to 19,190 and the total amount of deposits by them has increased by Rs363 million to Rs457 million in the first 9 months of the current financial year.
Self-help groups depositors have increased by 24 to 184 and their deposits increased by Rs20 million to Rs124 million in the same period.”
The bank’s advances rose by of Rs5.6 million to Rs181 million in the first 9 months of the current financial year. Apart from auto loans, the bank also provides housing loans, primary loans, gold loans and consumer loans to the women SHGs. Shrivastava says priority sector lending to total advances in percentage terms has decreased marginally by 1.17% to 64.82%. Net profit, after income tax, has increased from Rs6 million to Rs7.39 million and Capital Fund (eligible for CRAR) is up by Rs270,000 to Rs318.2 million.
COVID SAFETY MEASURES
The bank has been continuing to provide banking facilities under the covid guidelines of the government dung the pandemic. Sangeeta Vaishampayan, CEO of the bank, says additional counters were created at the bank for the convenience of customers and to maintain social distancing. Within the bank premises, only a few people are being given entry at a time and the customers are also given masks and their hands are sanitized at the time of entry. All the customers are also advised to use sanitizers while using ATMs.
The bank also undertakes sanitization of its premises daily and the employees coming to the bank are made aware of the safety standards and of the measures to protect themselves from infection. Shrivastava says they were provided with hand gloves, masks and caps for protection. Also, all the currency notes were disinfected.
HOME, GROUP LOANS PREFERRED
Sangeeta Vaishampayan says women, like men, would like to take different loans ranging from consumer loans to education loans to vehicle loans and group loans. “Nowadays, they are increasingly taking home loans and building loans because this gives them an exemption in the registry and leads to saving of some money for their family. Lower income group women show more interest in group loans, self-employment loans, indicating they walk shoulder-to-shoulder with men and raise their level higher,” she adds.
DIGITAL SERVICES ADDED
The bank offers several digital services such as ATM, RTGS and SMS banking. “We are fully computerized and we have our own server. The core banking solution has been provided by Jalgaon Janata Infotech and internet banking technology by Sarvatra Technologies. CBS has helped us to create more confidence in our functions,” says Alka Shrivastava.
Sangeeta Vaishampayan is of the view that the expectations of women customers from banks are expected to change in the coming 2 years. “I expect that more women customers will use online banking facilities like depositing or withdrawing money online, making FDs online or taking loans online,” says she.
ONLINE STAFF MEET, AGM
The bank has held its board meetings and staff meetings online, while AGM was held following the guidelines and rules prescribed by the government. Even in such odd circumstances, the bank continues to support its customers. “Despite the moratorium period given by the RBI, we have seen that our borrowers have been making repayments in time and immediately after the moratorium ended. There are no loan outstanding except the 3 installments allowed under the moratorium rules. Our deposits had come down initially but thanks to frequent tele-calling and personal contacts with customers, we could achieve a growth in deposits of nearly 8-10%, which is a matter of pride for us,” says Sangeeta Vaishampayan.
USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The bank’s website contains useful information about the products and services, special offers and other services. The bank is also making uses of Facebook to publicize its services. Says Sangeeta: “I find that women are very much active on social media nowadays. We use Facebook to give information about various offers to prospective customers and about new products. We use email to provide our customers with financial statements, interest certificates, TDS and other information and also promote our products. Specifically, we sent a ‘thank you’ message to a new depositor through email.”
The bank has a call center that provides its customers with information related to the services and banking products. Customers can now print passbooks on their own and update themselves on the transactions. The bank also sends emails to customers informing them about each transaction as also through WhatsApp messages.