Bandhan: The Making of a Bank

Bandhan: The Making of a Bank

This is the story of Bandhan, the only bank that emerged in eastern India after Independence. Founded by the son of a sweet vendor, with a mere Rs 2 lakh, the sum total of his life savings.

On 17 June, 2015, Chandra Shekhar Ghosh stepped out of the Reserve Bank of India building in Mumbai with the much-coveted banking licence, beating some of the country’s top corporate houses. This moment compensated for all the frustrations that had come along the way. A year later, Bandhan Bank was launched with 6.7 million small borrowers.

So, how did Ghosh build India’s biggest MFI from scratch and then, along with his team, transform it into a universal bank? Bandhan: The Making of a Bank chronicles that journey.

This is also Ghosh’s personal story-of a boy growing up in small-town Agartala struggling with poverty, but relentless in his ambition to make it big. He battles competition, hostile moneylenders, a tough economic climate and the perpetual lack of resources. Nobody in India perhaps knows better than him the psyche of a small borrower and the alchemy of doing business with the poor, profitably.This is one of India’s biggest entrepreneurial stories.


Kaushik Basu

Chief economist and senior vice president, World Bank; C. Marks Professor and professor of economics at Cornell University May 2016
What makes this a remarkable story is that Bandhan Bank started out from this rather dismal setting, but then succeeded against all odds, setting an example of how a for-profit bank can also be a model of corporate social responsibility and a powerful instrument of financial and social inclusion. It still has a great distance to go; and much will depend on how its story unfolds over the years. Regardless, this is an important tale, with implications for not just finance and banking, but also poverty eradication and development, and that is what makes this a book well worth reading.


Deepak Parekh
HDFC Chairman

Bandhan, India’s youngest bank has a deep and long history behind it. A first-of-its-kind, the book takes the reader through India’s journey towards financial inclusion. Tamal brilliantly captures a story of hope and what it takes to lift millions of Indians out of poverty.

Vinod Rai
Former Comptroller and Auditor General of India

The Bandhan story is a fascinating story, deserving to be chronicled. And who better to do so than Tamal. It is a very revealing study– a must read for those even remotely interested in this sector. The story is narrated by a person as well informed as a hands-on banker with all the attendant nuances.

Ashok Chawla
Chairman of NSE

The book is an ode to entrepreneurship and to microfinance. It is as much a story of financial inclusion and the building of an institution. Written with the perceptive eye of a seasoned journalist, the book is recommended reading for those looking for inspiration from role models in the new-age India.

U.K. Sinha
Present Chairman of SEBI

Being an acclaimed journalist with decades of experience of financial markets, Tamal brings in intensity along with sincerity and integrity in his writings. In this book, Tamal has weaved a colourful canvas which draws attention of the readers and make them read, think and deliberate.

Y.H. Malegam
Chairman of National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards

Replete with fascinating anecdotes and containing perceptive pen-portraits of some of the pioneers in the industry, the book makes for compulsive reading for all those who want insights into the growth of micro finance in India.

D. Subbarao
Former Governor of RBI

The transformation of Bandhan, a microfinance company, into a universal bank is as unique as the transition of Tamal from a business journalist to an author. as governor of the Reserve Bank, I had grown to respect Tamal for his passion for financial journalism, his enormous talent and endearing professional integrity. he combines all those attributes to tell the remarkable behind-the-scenes story of what it takes to overcome the challenges of lastmile connectivity in Indian finance.