ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Banking for the Poor

Bandhan: The Making of a Bank by Tamal Bandyopadhyay, Gurgaon: Penguin Books India, 2016; pp 304, 414.

This book describes the journey of one of India’s leading microfinance institutions from its humble origins in a tiny alcove, under a stairwell, in a dilapidated building in Kolkata, to its current position as a successful commercial bank with branches across the country. It is a story of incredible ambition and determination, especially in light of the collapse of far better-known micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and the near death of the industry in general. It is also a fascinating account of the history of financial inclusion in the country.

Clearly laid out in three sections, the book covers a fair amount of ground. The first section traces the history of Bandhan Bank in West Bengal, and juxtaposes its rapid and historic rise against West Bengal’s few entrepreneurial success stories. The author follows the growth of Bandhan (which means bond), and touches upon the lives of its founder, Chandra Shekhar Ghosh and his employees. The next section looks at two of the best-known figures in Indian microfinance—Vijay Mahajan and Vikram Akula—and how their respective organisations got eroded, after the (then) Andhra Pradesh government clamped down on MFIs. The final section examines the history of banking for the poor in India.

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Updated On : 24th May, 2017
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