Mann Deshi Bank - the first bank and banking school for women

In 1997, in a small village in India, a woman named Chetna Sinha founded the first bank run by women only for women.

Mann Deshi Bank - the first bank and banking school for women

Chetna was born and raised in Mumbai, where she graduated from college with a degree in economics.

After graduating from college and working at a number of financial institutions, Chetna noticed that women without formal education and specialty worked as hard as she did, but never made as much money as she did, and many of them had never even been in a bank. Why? Because these women earned pennies, and banks did not serve them.

As Chetna noticed, it was very easy for middle- and high-income women in India to go to a bank and open an account, but lower-income women were always turned down, even when they wanted to place their savings in a bank deposit. 

Chetna could not ignore injustice and decided to open her own bank for women with low income. It was then that Chetna started the uphill task of setting up a bank for women in her village.

Chetna gathered a few village women, built her small team and applied for a banking license.

Since the women on the team were illiterate and could not read and write, Chetna's banking license was denied. When Chetna gave up, her team member told her: “It’s true, we can’t read or write, but we can count.” This motivates Chetna and she spends about 5 months training her team in finance and accounting. They decide to apply for the license again. This time the whole team was prepared, and when they were given the task of calculating the interest to any principal amount without calculators, they calculated faster than the bank officers did using their calculators. So Chetna got the license.

She was finally able to open the first Mann Deshi bank for rural women. All this is followed by another challenge: rural women begin to complain that they cannot visit the bank because they work until late in the evening. But Chetna's team finds a solution to the problem. They create a door-step banking enabling the bank employees to meet these women in person and provide smart cards for their savings.

Chetna's Bank currently has 7 branches, over 185,000 customers and handles 10,000 transactions daily. During this period, the bank issued around $50 million in loans, helping women set up their own businesses.

The bank is still run by women and continues to help low-income women. The bank also cooperates with international organizations: British Asia Trust, GIZ, Deutsche Bank, Bonita Trust, etc. In addition, Mann Deshi Bank is engaged in charity, makes donations to medical institutions, and opened a business school for women.

But there is another interesting story about Chetna. She is one of the best examples of a strong woman who overcame all challenges, inspired and motivated others.

Chetna told an amazing story during her TED Talks. While everyone thinks that she was the one who taught all the women, in fact she herself learned a lot from others, and spoke about one girl who was a great example for her.                                                

One day, a girl who finished middle school and was planning to continue her studies in high school comes to the bank. She wanted to work in the bank during the summer holidays to save money for a bicycle to get to school. Chetna used this example as an opportunity, and within 3 years, about 10,000 girls received funds from Mann Deshi Bank for a bicycle to travel to school.

Great, isn't it? There are so many opportunities in life, but the one who uses this opportunity at the right time overcoming the fear of failure and moving forward, wins.

Find out more by following the link and check out Chetna's story during the TED Talks.

Enjoy it!

With love, your Evoca...