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NGO to finance rural Assam

Guwahati; July 9: Bandhan, a pro-poor development organisation which recently got, “in principle”, a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India, will open 63 branches in rural Assam.

Bandhan was set up in 2001 to meet the twin objectives of women empowerment and poverty alleviation. Its main thrust is to work with socially disadvantaged and economically exploited women for their social uplift and economic emancipation. With this aim in view, Bandhan engages in delivery of micro-finance services to poor women who are bypassed by banks.

“Altogether 63 branches of Bandhan will be opened in Assam’s rural areas which are deprived of banking services,” Pratapaditya Samanta, in-charge of Guwahati circle of Bandhan, told the media here today. Bandhan has decided to open 573 branches across the country.

The RBI recently gave “in principle” approval to Bandhan Financial Services Private Limited to set up banks under the Guidelines on Licensing of New Banks in the Private Sector. The approval will be valid for 18 months during which the applicants have to comply with the requirements under the guidelines and fulfil conditions stipulated by the RBI.

Bandhan works in 22 states and Union territories of the country through a strong network of 2,016 branches catering to more than 5.5 million poor women with a workforce of nearly 13,000 employees. Its thrust areas are the underdeveloped eastern and northeastern states of the country, which have a huge void in financial activities. Its loan book stands at over Rs 6,200 crore and the repayment rate is recorded above 99 per cent,” Samanta said.