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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh marked the opening of Bharatiya Mahila Bank, an all-women's bank, Tuesday.
The bank opened with branches in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow and will soon open more branches in New Delhi and Indore.
The bank plans to reach a branch size of 25 in the next four months and thereafter add about 75 branches annually.
"The all-women's bank will predominantly serve women, though deposits will be taken from men too. The credit growth is expected to be at a compounded annual growth rate of 16.5 percent during the 2010-2030, while the deposit growth is expected to stay at 14.6 percent for the 20 years period," Finance Minister P. Chidamabarm said at the inauguration of the bank on the eve of India's first woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's birth anniversary.
According to the finance minister, only 28 percent of the women in India have opened a bank account and per capita credit to women is 80 percent lower than for men.
The all-women's bank will focus on centers where the number of working women is significant.
Usha Ananthasubramanian, who was executive director of Punjab National Bank, will be the bank's chair.
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