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ICICI Bank crosses milestone of supporting one million women beneficiaries through its Self Help Group (SHG) programme

March 08, 2014

  • The Bank has extended loans over Rs 1,000 crore through its SHG programme
  • It aims to double reach to two million women by March 2015

Mumbai: ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank, today crossed a milestone of supporting one million women beneficiaries through its programme for Self Help Groups (SHG) which aims at empowering less privileged women to become self-reliant.


SHG is a term used for a group of 10-20 less privileged women, primarily from rural and semi urban areas, who pool their resources on a periodic basis and use this money for income generating activities like cattle and goat rearing, kirana/grocery vending, jewellery making, handicrafts and emergency needs among others.


Ms. Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Bank, handed over a cheque to Manisha Bangar, the one millionth woman beneficiary, in Mumbai on International Women's Day. Ms. Bangar, 29 and mother of two, represents Sant Janabai Mahila Swayam Sahaya Bachat Gat from Sheel village in Shahpur, Thane district. Wife of a marginal farmer, Ms. Bangar works as an assistant tailor and dreams to set-up her own tailoring shop. She will use part of the loan to buy a new sewing machine and take the first step towards fulfilling her dream.


Speaking at the event, Ms. Kochhar said, "I am delighted to announce that the Bank, through its work with SHGs, has touched the families of a million women beneficiaries. This is an important milestone for the Bank and I am happy to commemorate it on International Women's Day. The zeal of these remarkable women inspires us. I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit of these women is the reason for the success of our SHG programme. It urges us to continue funding their dreams and help uplift their families. Over the next year, we intend to double our reach and support over two million women with cumulative loan disbursements of Rs 2,500 crore."


In the last 30 months, ICICI Bank has helped over 70,000 SHGs across 164 districts of seven states. The Bank runs the programme through a dedicated pool of 550 employees who look after servicing SHGs spread across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. It is the fastest growing bank in India in the SHG space.


A few salient features of the SHG programme are as follows:

  • The Bank provides an integrated savings-cum-loan product to SHGs engaged in income generating activities like cattle & goat rearing, making and selling household food items, running small tea / snack counters, agarbatti making, pattal dona making, tailoring, jewellery making, handicrafts and bee keeping among others.
  • An integral part of the programme is to encourage savings by the SHGs. As a first step, the Bank opens a basic savings bank deposit account with cheque book facility for every SHG.
  • On an average, ICICI Bank adds nearly 5,000 SHGs a month to its programme.
  • Around 85% of the SHGs are in rural and semi urban areas.
  • Around 60% of the SHGs, consisting of more than 550,000 women members, have availed credit assistance from a formal financial institution for the first time.
  • ICICI Bank is the only private bank to be associated with Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM), a Maharashtra government undertaking for women empowerment through SHG programme.
  • The Bank is also working closely with other state government agencies like District Poverty Initiatives Project (DPIP), Govt of Madhya Pradesh and Mitigation of Poverty in Western Rajasthan (MPOWER) for empowerment of women through the SHG model.
  • The Bank's officials work with the SHGs in their villages, contrary to the industry practice where these groups have to visit the bank branches. This special model of serving SHGs at their doorstep helps in keeping the transaction costs very low for the SHGs.


ICICI Bank's work with SHGs is a part of its financial inclusive initiative. The Bank, through its network of rural branches and Business Correspondents (BCs), provides banking services across 15,400 villages and has opened 17 million basic savings accounts over the last three years. The Bank has 3,620 branches and over 50% of these branches are in semi urban and rural areas. Significantly, of these branches, 440 branches have been set up in unbanked villages which were devoid of any banking facility. To service these areas, the Bank offers a comprehensive product suite covering the entire agricultural value chain including loans to seed/input dealers, crop loans, loans for farm equipment, agricultural term loans for irrigation and dairy and farmer warehouse receipt finance. The Bank has also setup about 100 credit and operation hubs across the country to expedite loan processing and disbursements.

About Sant Janabai Mahila Swayam Sahaya Bachat Gat: The group was formed with 18 members in 1999 but disintegrated in next few years in the absence of guidance and financial help. Last year, ICICI Bank visited the village and identified the latent potential of this group. The Bank revived the group by bringing 16 enterprising women together and guided them at every step of the reorganization process. For almost a year now, the group meets regularly and has started saving earnestly. They are identifying business opportunities and they will utilize the loan provided by ICICI Bank to invest in income generating activities like tailoring, vegetable cultivation, cattle rearing and small kirana shops.

About ICICI Bank Ltd: ICICI Bank Limited (NYSE:IBN) is India's largest private sector bank and the second largest bank in the country, with consolidated total assets of USD 124.00 billion at March 31, 2013. ICICI Bank’s subsidiaries include India’s leading private sector insurance companies and its largest securities brokerage firm, mutual fund and private equity firm. ICICI Bank’s presence currently spans 19 countries, including India.

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