Jamshedpur: A cooperative bank for women and run by women has become a success story in the remote villages of Jharkhand's West Singhbhum just a year after its inauguration.
The all-women private cooperative bank, which was registered on July 9, 2009, has only women comprising its board of directors and members, Prabha Toppo, one of the organisers of the bank, said.
The bank known among villagers as 'Didi Bank' has a roster of 847 members from 87 self-help groups of the total 135 in the block, Beronica Lakra, the director-cum-secretary of the bank, said.
Currently, the bank functions twice a month with its member base spread over 35 villages while efforts are on to enrol other members of the remaining SHGs.
Set up with a contribution of Rs 125 as membership contribution, the bank functions on the 4th and 12th of every month.
The SHG groups each deposit a minimum of Rs 100 per month, Lakra says.
Asked about the process of recovery of loan, Lakra said the 11-member board of directors go through the application of a member and discuss with the members of the SHG before sanction of loan.
The bank disburses loans through SHGs and it takes responsibility to ensure repayment by members within 10 months, she said.
The bank charges only Re one per Rs 100 as interest, the director said adding the low interest rate suits the poor background of the members.
The bank also provides an insurance cover for its members at a premium, Lakra said adding the bank charges Rs 100 from each member per annum as premium and pays Rs 1,500 in emergency or in case of death of a member in the family.
Lakra regrets the absence of a proper office to function from on a regular basis.
"We assemble twice a month at a specific place to discuss banking issues".
As the Anandpur block has potential for growth in animal husbandry and forest resources, she said the bank has plans to set up some cottage industries to generate employment.
Though till now the bank refrained from seeking help of the state government, it has, however, decided to approach the state government for building of infrastructure.