The Konoklota Mahila Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd, the only women’s cooperative bank in Assam based in Jorhat, is going from strength to strength vis-à-vis infrastructure development and expansion of its activities.
Lakhimi Baruah, managing director of the bank, said as the registrar of cooperative societies, Guwahati, had okayed expansion of their area of operation to the neighbouring districts of Sivasagar and Golaghat, the bank authorities had applied to the Reserve Bank of India to open branches in Sivasagar town and in Bokakhat in Golaghat district.
“We had applied for the licence soon after the registrar allowed us to operate in Sivasagar and Golaghat districts in July last year. We are now awaiting the RBI’s nod to go ahead with our plans,” she said.
Baruah, who is one of the bank’s founders, said a proposal had been put forth in the annual general meeting of the bank in July to apply to the registrar of cooperative societies to allow them to operate in all districts of the state. Since theirs is the only women’s bank, the benefits should be availed of by all women. More so, as the bank fulfilled the thrift and credit needs of poor women by providing micro-credit to individuals and self-help groups not covered by large banks.
Since it was established at the Unnayan Bhawan on AT Road, the bank has opened two branches — one at Garali and the other at Mariani, both in Jorhat district. The bank was registered on May 22, 1998, and was granted a licence by the RBI on February 16, 2000.
In the financial year 2011-12, the bank declared a dividend of 6 per cent to its shareholders, while posting a profit of Rs 7.25 lakh for 2011-12 and Rs 4.02 lakh in 2010-11. In the annual budget proposed for 2012-13, the profit for the year was projected as Rs 8 lakh. In 2011-12, the bank had a share capital of Rs 29.77 lakh and reserve fund and reserves stood at Rs 35.7 lakh.
The bank built its Garali branch in 2009 and recently completed its first floor with a grant of Rs 8 lakh from Jorhat MP B.K. Handique.
“The 1,600 square foot upper floor will be kept empty so that we can train women in the workings of the cooperative sectors and also hold meetings with self-help groups,” Baruah said. As this is the international cooperative year, they would take up a few cooperative awareness programmes soon, she added.
She said cooperative banks suffered from a lack of government support by way of deposits and other benefits.