S Palanivel, the Dhanbad zonal manager of Bank of India, inaugurates the all-women bank at Park Market branch in Hirapur on Friday. Picture by Gautam Dey
The place was the same, so was the setting. Only, the counters had been taken over by women and there were more women customers in sight.
Welcome to Park Market branch of Bank of India (BOI), which became the state’s first all-women bank on Friday along with four other branches in Bokaro, Hazaribagh, Ranchi and Jamshedpur.
Chairman-cum-managing director of Bank of India’s (BOI) Vijayalakshmi Iyer inaugurated the all-women banks online from Guwahati around 10.30am. Around the same time, zonal manager (Dhanbad) of BOI S. Palanivel and deputy general manager D.K. Meher lit the traditional lamp to mark the launch of the bank for the fair sex at Park Market branch.
Chief manager of Dhanbad branch of BOI S.K. Srivastava, manager of Damodarpur branch Maheshwar Sahu, senior manager of Park Market branch Sushama Agarwal along with a woman officer of the new bank, Ruby Kumari, were present.
Also, some women customers, along with the newly elected chairman of Park Market Chamber of Commerce, Om Prakash Sharma, attended the inauguration.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Palanivel said: “Soon after the provision of starting all-women banks was announced in the Union Budget, our bank decided to start 14 such branches in eastern India. Out of them, five were launched in the five zonal headquarters — Dhanbad, Bokaro, Hazaribagh, Jamshedpur and Ranchi — of Jharkhand today (Friday).”
He went on to add that though the bank, which will be completely run by women, would continue to cater to both male and female customers, preferential service would be given to the latter.
“Loans will be granted to small and medium enterprises and also for education purposes at concessional rates. Besides, special measures will be taken to ensure a safe and secure environment for women here. The increasing crimes against women like the Delhi gang rape have jolted the entire nation out of slumber and such steps like starting all-women banks were necessary,” said Palanivel.
According to deputy zonal manager Meher, though the bank has started with five women staff — two officers, two clerks and a peon — the number will gradually go up as business grows. “Though the Park Market branch of BOI is a new one, established about an year ago, it already has around 1,800 accounts of different kinds — savings, current, recurring deposit et al,” Meher said.
Sudipta Banerjee (65), a customer who lauded the staff for being “co-operative”, said the new initiative would encourage women to come to the bank and invest in various schemes.
“I have been drawing pension through this branch for a year. Now, I will ask my daughter-in-law, who works at a private firm, to open her account here,” said Banerjee, a retired teacher of state-run Saraidhela Prathmik Vidyalaya.
In Hazaribagh, BOI’s Huruhuru branch has been turned into the all-women bank. It will have three female employees. Hiramani Hansda is the branch manager.