Established in 1906 by the captains of Indian industry viz. Sir David Sassoon, Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, R.D. Tata, Lallubhai Samaldas, Gordhandas Khatau and others, Bank of India was brought into the public sector in 1969. It continues to occupy a premier position in the Indian banking scene today in terms of physical presence, asset level, range of well structured products and services and staff skills both in the cosmetic and international banking spheres.

The Bank has a domestic network of 2,534 general and specialised branches offering the whole range of banking services, including Foreign Exchange and Money Market Products, export and project finance, trustee, agency and investment management services. It also has an international presence spanning a period of over 50 years and today operates branches in four continents at all the major international financial centres.

Bank of India is the first Indian bank to instal Automated Teller Machines in India. In fact the Bank has been paying continuous attention to technological upgradation to enhance customer satisfaction and to improve efficiency of operations.

Envisioning major changes and restructuring in coming times in the economic and banking scene in India and globally, Bank of India has geared up to face challenges and exploit opportunities, particularly in the field of Women’s Empowerment.





For some housewives, household chores can be extremely boring, offering no challenge. So they remain unaware of their hidden talents. A housewife who did not know her own inborn talents acquired fresh insight when pushed into the business arena. This happened to Marilyne Roy who launched herself to help her husband J.D. Roy to run a small workshop making garments.

When she took over, the unit was too tiny, but Marilyne found it full of potential and promise. She did the right thing ?approach Bank of India with a bankable proposition to turn the unit into a garment export house. For the Bank too, this was an opportunity to lend a helping hand to a woman entrepreneur. It readily agreed to extend working capital of Rs. 55 lakhs and a term loan of Rs. 45,000 for installing Juki sewing machines.

The Bank was not wrong in its perception that Marilyne’s was a deserving case for she spared no pains to get orders. Besides, as it turned out, she could provide the three proverbial skills for sure success: marketing expertise, financial management and technical control of production and products. As a result, the unit developed a market niche and acquired considerable edge in an intensely competitive sector.

Not satisfied with the domestic market undergoing a degree of saturation and lower value added sales, she turned to the export market. Direct contacts were established with foreign buyers following her husband’s trip abroad as member of the Indian Trade Delegation. Exports worth Rs. 10.00 lakhs marked a modest beginning. Within five years the unit discontinued selling industrial garments in the domestic market and turned itself into a 100 per cent export unit with a turnover of Rs. 2.25 crores, and a second unit was established at Tirupur exclusively for making sportswear and children’s wear for exports, which were of the order of Rs. 3.61 crores. From a meagre Rs. 6.00 lakhs turnover a decade ago, the unit’s turnover increased to Rs. 6.00 crores.

What really made the venture click? It was Bank of India’s perception of Marilyne Roy’s entrepreneurial talent and the continuing support given to her. Bank of India nominated her for the coveted award for excellence as successful entrepreneur from the Institute of Marketing Management.

Marilyne’s is just one such case. There are several Indian women who have been successful in transforming their lives by taking loans from Bank of India.

Apart from general loan schemes, which are meant for both men and women, women entrepreneurs are also eligible for finance under Government-sponsored programmes such as Prime Ministers Rozgar Yojana for educated unemployed young women in both urban and rural areas and the Swarna Jayanti Sahkari Rozgar Yojana in urban areas.

Women entrepreneurs who are not recipients of finance under any subsidy-linked scheme of Central/State Governments but have an annual income not exceeding Rs. 6,400/- in rural areas and Rs. 7,200/- in semi-urban, urban and metropolitan areas are eligible for finance under the Differential Rate of Interest Scheme at the rate of 4 per cent interest per annum.

Bank of India also gives priority to women applicants under its Vidya Vardhini Scheme of Educational Loans for higher studies. Whether it be school education, graduation, post graduation, professional courses, computer certificate courses, courses conducted by IIM, IIT, ISc., XLRI, NIFT, etc., Bank of India is never behind in helping women. Even if women wish to study abroad or go in for courses conducted by CIMA-London, CPA in the U.S., the bank helps by giving loans. The expenses it considers for giving loans are fees payable to school/college/hostel, examination, library or laboratory fees, purchase of books, equipment, instruments, uniforms, travel expenses, passage money for study abroad, purchase of computers (essential for completion of the course) or any other expense required to complete courses such as study tours, project work thesis, etc.

Basically, the quantum of finance given by Bank of India is need-based, subject to repaying capacity of the parents/students. For studies in India, it gives a maximum loan of Rs. 7,50,000/- and for studies abroad, a maximum of Rs. 15,00,000/-. The rate of interest is 12 per cent (Prime Lending Rate) up to Rs. 4,00,000/- and Prime Lending Rate + 1 per cent above Rs. 4,00,000/-. Repayment of loan starts after the Moratorium period. It allows the person to settle down and after the course period ends and after a year of getting a job, the loan amount is recovered in 5-7 years. The Bank does not charge any processing or upfront charges.

Surely, Bank of India is living up to its slogan: "The Bank that cares?quot;

Courtesy: Pradeep Gupte, Bank of India


MP’s ?Gourmets or Gourmands?

The golden jubilee celebration of Parliament last week was a memorable event and the ambience of the new Library building in which it was held added to the elegance. The Prime Minister and the leader of Opposition shared the dais, hours after they clashed in the Lok Sabha. There were no sharp edges in their speeches even though the Parliament session had been an acrimonious one. Pramod Mahajan was the master of ceremonies and was at his witty best.

There was only one jarring note and that was a menu card. While the commemorative stamp and the two books on 50 years of Parliament which had been released waited to be picked up in covers on the floor outside the auditorium, the menu card was distributed to the guests in the auditorium itself. Printed with a flourish in red and gold like a wedding card, it contained descriptions of the fare to be served to the guests, with the names of the famous food outlets located all over India and their proprietors.

If the menu had been handed out at a PATA conference or in the business class of a jumbo jet, or even at a function of an Indian embassy to showcase the country’s best traditions in cuisine, it would have been different. Of course, it would be interesting to calculate the cost of the gargantuan exercise of collecting all the cooks and chefs and printing the mini booklet which passed off as a menu.

Though, of course, menu cards for such functions would have been phrased and printed without incongruous connections that were on this menu. Sample this: ‘‘Bhatti ka Murga’’ prepared by Beeray in Amritsar, a city built by Guru Ramdas 400 years ago.

The menu booklet promised many more delicacies which Mahajan and his team had brought together from all over the country for the golden jubilee celebrations, like ‘Fateh ki Kachori?on which generations in old Delhi have thrived, the ‘Tunda Kebabi-Avadh?with 160 spices prepared by Tunda Mian, which has been the legend of Lucknow, the ‘Meen Kaari?(fish curry) of Malabar, the ‘Ram Babu Parathas?of Agra which ‘merrily soak up oodles of desi ghee’’ on which circus performers had built their muscles over the years, the Biryani of Hyderabad described as ‘‘a kushta or aphrodisiac’’ which justified the saying, ‘‘Jo istimaal karta hai, woh buddha nahin hota’’.

The message of insensitivity that the menu card sent out even compelled an otherwise, amiable Prime Minister to rap the organisers gently. In fact, the Prime Minister opened his speech with the quip, ‘‘Jo maza khane maen hai woh uske baare maen parhne maen nahin...’’

The red card underscored the corporatisation of Indian politics that has taken place, and the ‘‘me and my interest’’ that has come to be the dominant factor when it has to emerge out of a social concern in a democracy. For democracy, which is a social concept, has everything to do with the representation of the people’s interest. But people’s interest is finding less and less place in our legislatures. This is a true of the way people are making it to the Upper House with the use of money or money bags as of the attempts to manipulate the elections by creating a ‘‘hawa’’, with a gimmick here or the use of showbiz artistes there, who may be popular but do not represent the interests of the people.

The card rankled because this kind of show of vulgarity does not match with the ethos of a function to celebrate the golden jubilee of the parliament of a developing country. While the rest of the function celebrated the very survival of Indian democracy despite severe onslaughts, the garish menu card was a giveaway, symbolic of the decline of Parliament.

It showed the extent to which the elected representatives have distanced themselves from the concerns of their constituencies and their elitist preoccupations. They have forsaken all restraint, want to eat the best food that India and the world offer them, wear designer clothes in Parliament, spend their summers in Europe and the US. They are no longer interested in the dry taps in Guntur or the homeless in Andhra Pradesh where 600 people have already died due to heat this summer or the makeshift toilets in the Shah Alam relief camp in Ahmedabad.

The menu card was being distributed to those present even as Pramod Mahajan started to speak, speaking about the five historic dates in India’s freedom struggle starting from Mangal Pandey’s heroism to the first Parliament session that was held on May 13, 1952. It jarred all the more because the expectations from the otherwise dynamic minister for parliamentary affairs were quite different.

Courtesy: ‘‘The Indian Express’’