Former Chief Eco Advisor Lahiri inducted into Bandhan Board

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Bandhan Bank has inducted four former top bank executives into its board and has roped in former chief economic advisor Ashok Kumar Lahiri to head it, aiming to compete better with established lenders like State Bank of India and ICICI Bank, which are in the race for customers in the unbanked population. 

Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, the founder of Bandhan Financial Services, which started as a mircofinance institution in 2001, will be the managing director and chief executive officer of the bank. 

Primary focus of bank will be the eastern region, where banking penetration is still poor.

The 10-member board includes Bhaskar Sen, former chairman and managing director of United Bank of India, and B Sambamurthy, former chief of Corporation Bank. The board gets representation from private banks as well Axis Bank's for mer deputy ma naging director SK Chakrabarti and former ex ecutive director Snehomoy Bhattacharya have joined as directors. 

The bank will be formally unveiled on August 23 in Kolkata by President Pranab Mukherjee. 

The company has 67 lakh microfinance borrowers at present and the accounts will be transferred to the bank. The bank will start its journey with Rs 10,000-crore strong loan book. 

Multilateral financier International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Singapore government-backed GIC will together invest Rs 500 crore directly in Bandhan Bank before it starts operation, taking its net worth to Rs 3,200 crore. 

GIC, IFC and Small Industries Development Bank of India had invested Rs 1,020 crore in the Bandhan Financial Holding Company - the bank will be under it as per Reserve Bank of India rules -in May this year. 

Bandhan Bank would provide four basic services to start with - deposit, credit, insurance and remittance. It is yet to finalise its insurance partners. About 64 per cent of its proposed 600 branches will be in rural locations.