Banking

PSBs exploring feasibility of all-women branches, says FinMin

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all women 2The public sector banks (PSBs) are exploring if opening more all-women branches are feasible, the union finance ministry has told the Committee on Empowerment of Women.

The committee, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bijoya Chakravarty, has noted in its latest report that “not a single public sector bank” had so far designated 15 percent of its branches as, as recommended by it last year.

At present, 17 banks have a total of 301 such branches so far, led by the State Bank of India with 119 branches and the Indian Overseas Bank with 60 all-women branches.

Lauding the banks for exploring the feasibility of more such branches, the committee, which presented its seventh report to Parliament last Wednesday, also noted that “precious little” had been done.

Banks need to hasten the process to cater to multiple needs of women customers and provide a “more safe and convenient” working environment, it added.

The panel, which had also recommended flexihours for women bank staff, said it was “perturbed” by SBI’s submission that this was “unfeasible,” adding that flexihours would allow women to strike a balance between professional and family responsibilities and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It expressed unhappiness with the ministry citing a host of operational issues as reasons for going slow on it, saying the government failed to understand the essence of this recommendation.

Flexi-hours for women bank employees was all the more doable now, “owing to increasing dependence on network-based systems where the physical presence of service provider and customers under one roof need not always be a pre-requisite to transact deals”, it added.

 

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