A bank by women, for women – Thanks to Lakhimi Baruah

6 June 2018

Lakhimi Baruah WOC

A 69-year-old Lakhimi Baruah from Assam has dedicated her life to empowering women by making them financially independent and opening a bank that grants loans to women for starting their own business. The bank has three branches, a share capital of 6 crore rupees and over 25000 customers, Lakhimi Baruah continues to change the life of many more women.

Let’s take a look at this inspirational story.

Lakhimi started the Konoklota Mahila Urban Cooperative Bank in 1998 which is run by women for women. This bank grants loan to women interested in starting their own business. Lakhimi Baruah ensuring women have much needed financial independence. Women take complete charge here. Her concern is that women end up spending all their money; hence they want to encourage women to deposit.

Before starting KMUCB, Lakhimi worked at a bank in Assam. It was there, she got aware of how deprived and illiterate women barely manage to receive advantages from banking services. In 1983, she had also started a Mahila Samiti at Dakshin Sarbaibandha area of Jorhat district.

Behind the formation of Mahila Samiti, Lakhimi has a basic idea to work with a large number of economically and educationally backward women.  These women had zero financial security even when they had income generation sources. The reason being, these women did not have any saving habits or financial literacy.

After working for several years in a bank environment, Lakhimi was sure that prompt intervention was needed. Finally, in 1998, she was able to start KMUCB in Jorhat, with an initial capital of 8.46 lakh. The bank received its licence from the Reserve Bank of India after two years, in 2000. Subsequent to which Lakhimi quit her job and dedicated her life to KMUCB (Source: Women Economic Forum.)

A lower primary school teacher, Purnima who had recently taken a divorce from her alcoholic, abusive husband, wanted to procure a small plot of land to secure the future of her only daughter.

For that, she needed a loan but the thought of approaching a regular bank scared her. She knew there would be tons of paperwork involved and even then she was not sure if her application would be approved.

That’s when Purnima made up her mind to get in touch with Lakhimi Baruah. And she got access to a loan in no time. (Source: TheWeekendLeader)

Lakhimi comes up with new schemes to sweeten the experience for its customer and keep services at par. She along with her team have designed a number of innovative schemes, including the Zero Balance Account, the Konoklota Daily Deposit (KDD) and the option to start a recurring deposit at just Rs 20.

 “Women do daily wage jobs and find it is easier to deposit a little amount from their earnings each day, which makes the KDD scheme the most popular,” reveals Baruah to TheWeekendLeader.

A customer can also avail of a loan of up to Rs 9 lakh. Apart from connecting with rural women, the KMUCB is the preferred banker of a large number of Self-Help Groups, as it has introduced a number of micro-finance schemes.

Lakhimi Baruah is a Woman Of Courage because her story is courageous and from last many years, her initiative has many women earn their own living. Lakhimi breaks all odds to continue her quest for women empowerment.


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