"We are expanding ... We have 57 branches all over India. We may add another 70 odd branches... We propose to have 150 branches by March 2016," the bank CMD Usha Ananthasubramanian told reporters here.
    
Speaking on the sidelines of an event Indian Women Network's conference, organised by CII here, she said, "We are expanding in rural areas also."
     
The bank at present employs 400 people and has three branches in Karnataka.
    
Ananthasubramanian said the bank as of now had about 1.6 lakh customers, 82 per cent of them women.
     
Stating that the bank's priority was to improve financial literacy among women, she said the lender provided "loans to women entrepreneurs to set up small businesses so as to become self-reliant".
    
Launched in 2013, Bharatiya Mahila Bank is the first of its kind in the country's banking industry, formed with a vision of economic empowerment for women.
    
Earlier speaking at the event on the topic 'Celebrating Women Leadership', Ananthasubramanian made out a strong case for raising the number of women directors on the boards of listed companies.
    
Welcoming Sebi's directive for inducting women directors on the boards of companies, she said, "...but then why just one. It pains to hear that there should be at least one woman director. Why not more? And, to think that there was even a penalty for non-induction of women directors."
     
"Surely, there was no dearth of competent, professionally qualified women who can take up such positions with ease," she added.
     
Speaking at the event, National Commission for Women Chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam exhorted women to involve themselves in policy and planning at the national level instead of shying away.
     
"We run our homes effectively. So why not be there for planning in what are otherwise elite and male dominated areas," she said.

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