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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Banks open on Saturday, Sunday for accepting advance tax

Corporates can pay their first quarter advance tax today, tomorrow and on Monday at the designated bank branches, an official statement said.

“All designated branches of authorised banks have been asked to function on September 14 and 15, 2013 (Saturday and Sunday) to accept advance tax payments,” the Finance Ministry said.

If any tax payer is unable to pay the advance tax on these two days, then the person can make the payment on September 16, it added.

Payment of quarterly advance tax on or before September 15, 2013, by tax payers is a statutory requirement.

“All such tax payers who are liable to pay advance tax must make payments in the designated branches of the banks authorised to accept tax payments,” it said.

The Reserve Bank has designated branches of State Bank of India, public sector bank branches, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, IDBI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank to collect advance tax payments.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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SKS Micro gets nod to shift registered office to Maharashtra

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has approved shifting of the registered office of SKS Microfinance Ltd from Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra.

The move by SKS to shift the reistered office is probably a fallout of the AP Government’s stringent regulations for the microfinance sector.

The State Government tightened regulation about three years back to rein in microfinance institutions, which were charging very high interest rates from borrowers and resorting to strong arm tactics for recoveries.

The Regional Director, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, South East Region, Hyderabad has approved shifting of the Registered Office of the company from AP to Maharashtra, SKS Microfinance said in a notice to the BSE

The microfinance institution’s members had passed a special resolution on August 27, 2012, through a Postal Ballot approving submission of application to the Regional Director, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, South East Region, Hyderabad for shifting its Registered Office from AP to Maharashtra.

In light of shifting of the Registered Office, the company has been granted three months extension of time up to December 31, 2013 for holding the 10th annual general meeting of the shareholders of the company for the financial year ended March 31, 2013, the notice said.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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CCI gives green signal to Ratnakar Bank-RBS deal

Fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved private sector lender Ratnakar Bank’ proposal to buy Royal Bank of Scotland’s credit card business, mortgage portfolio and banking operation in the country, saying the deal will not have an adverse impact on competition.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) mortgage portfolio includes housing loans, while banking business includes providing small and medium sized enterprises with high end products and services.

In its order dated September 10, the CCI said the proposal “is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India and, therefore, the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination under...the (Competition) Act”.

The regulator said it has observed that after the proposed deal between the banks comes into effect, RBS would exit the credit card business, mortgage portfolio and business banking segment.

“Currently, ihas no presence in credit card business. It is observed that the presence of Ratnakar Bank in the mortgage and banking business in India would be insignificant after the proposed combination,” the CCI said.

Following the execution of the “Master Sale and Purchase Agreement” entered into between Ratnakar Bank and RBS last month, the entities approached CCI for its approval.

Mid-sized private sector lender Ratnakar Bank had announced it had acquired British banking major RBS’ business banking segment, credit cards and mortgage portfolio for an undisclosed amount.

The Kolhapur, Maharashtra headquartered bank has a customer base of 5 lakh with a total business size of Rs 14,500 crore.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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ICICI Bank hopes to add half a million credit card customers by end-March

ICICI Bank Ltd, India’s largest private sector bank, expects its credit card customer base to grow by half a million by March-end, according to a senior bank official.

“Online shopping has been the fastest growing segment in the credit card space with a growth of 35 per cent as compared to overall spends growing at 20 per cent. We will add close to half a million cards by the year-end,” Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank, said in a conference call to announce the launch of its credit card — ICICI Bank Carbon, in partnership with Visa.

“The new card will be offered largely to existing ICICI Bank credit card members. It is available at a one-time fee of Rs 1,000 plus applicable service tax,” Sabharwal said.

The card provides reward points, complimentary movie tickets, access to culinary programmes, entry into select airport lounges in India and complete waiver of 2.5 per cent fuel surcharge at HPCL fuel stations. As on June 2013, the loans on ICICI Bank’s credit cards aggregated about Rs 3,000 crore with about 2.95 million outstanding cards.

According to him, there has been a decline in the number of cards since 2011, as many banks are cleaning up their books due to large delinquencies and inactive cards.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Allahabad Bank keen to restructure MFI accounts

Allahabad Bank is keen on restructuring accounts of micro finance institutions (MFIs) for a second time and it is for promoters to come up with a solution, an official of the bank said.

“The bank will not write off the MFI accounts. But we are keen to do a second round of restructuring,” the official said.

The official said that for the first year, the assets would be treated as non-performing, and would be upgraded to standard asset after accounts start performing.

“Lending to MFIs is not the bank’s core business. It is up to the promoters to come up with a solution. We are there as far as second restructuring is concerned,” he added.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Friday, September 13, 2013

IRDA permits AIC to use services of non-life insurance agents

Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC) can now use the agent network of other non-life insurers for distribution of its products.

In a circular issued on Thursday, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) agents and corporate agents wanting to offer services to AIC would have to submit a 'No Objection Certificate' from their parent general insurer and enrol themselves with AIC.

However, no certificate is required for utilisation of existing agency network of public general insurance companies by AIC to distribute government -sponsored agriculture insurance schemes and distribution of in-house products on co-insurance basis, the regulator said.

``The awareness about crop insurance in rural public is very low and as such large number of crops in India are cultivated without appropriate insurance coverage,’’ IRDA said adding that there was an urgent need to spread the message of crop insurance.

Considering the above, it had decided to permit AIC to use agent network of other non-life insurers.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reserve Bank to create central repository on large credits

The Reserve Bank has decided to create a central repository on large borrowers — both individuals and entities — with exposure of more than Rs 10 crore to help banks deal with credit risks.

The RBI, in a notification, said it is necessary to build a repository of large credits and share with the banks for enabling them to be aware of building leverage and common exposures.

“Accordingly, it has been decided to use the information supplied by the banks through the Return on Large Borrowers (Form A)...which captures the system-wide exposure of individuals and entities having exposure (both fund and non-fund based) of more than Rs 10 crore, for creation of a central repository of large credits across banks,” it said.

Raghuram Rajan, on taking over charge as RBI Governor, had said the central bank proposes to collect credit data and examine large common exposures across banks.

“This will enable the creation of a central repository on large credits, which we will share with the banks. This will enable banks themselves to be aware of building leverage and common exposures,” he had said.

RBI collects the data from banks and non-submission of or wrong reporting attracts penalties.

“Banks are advised to take utmost care of data accuracy and integrity while submitting data on large credit to the RBI, failing which penal action...would be undertaken,” the apex bank said.

The gross non-performing assets (NPA) of public sector banks rose to Rs 1.76 lakh crore at the end of the June quarter from Rs 1.55 lakh crore on March 31, 2013.

The ratio of gross NPAs to gross advances for commercial banks rose from 2.36 per cent in March 2011 to 3.92 per cent in June 2013.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Union Bank of India plans to raise $500 m abroad

With the Reserve Bank of India doubling the overseas borrowing limit of banks, Union Bank of India is planning to raise about $500 million, according to a top bank official.

The overseas borrowing will be in the form of bilateral loans of one to two year duration. The public sector bank will raise the resources from one of the two international locations — Hong Kong or Dubai, where it has branches.

The bank expects to tie up the funds at a mark-up of less than 2 percentage points over the benchmark Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate).

“But then if you add the swap cost of about 6.5-7.0 per cent, the overall borrowing cost might come to about 8.5-9.0 per cent. This is cheaper than the rupee deposits which we are raising today,” said K. Subrahmanyam, Executive Director, Union Bank of India.

A swap transaction entails the exchange of principal and interest in one currency for the same in another currency with a counterparty.

The bank can put the resources raised to two uses — it can covert them into rupees for domestic lending and also extend pre-shipment credit in foreign currency to exporters, said Subrahmanyam.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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KVB wins best banker award

Karur Vysya Bank has won Best Banker Growth-Mid Sized award in the second edition of The Sunday Standard Best Bankers’ Awards 2013.

K. Venkataraman, Chief Executive, KVB, received the award on behalf of the bank from Minister for Urban Development Mr Kamal Nath in New Delhi on Friday.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Allahabad Bank to focus on retail segment

In a bid to focus on its retail credit business, Kolkata-headquartered Allahabad Bank has set up 40 centralised retail banking boutiques. These come in addition to the 59 retail banking boutiques that allow faster processing, appraisal and sanction of retail loans.

According to a press release issued by the bank, it has taken steps to speed up sanction of housing loans within six working days and car (vehicle) loans within 48 hours.

Financing of commercial vehicles (to transport operators) will be through its All Bank Fleet Finance Scheme; wherein, loans above Rs 2 crore are sanctioned.

Allahabad Bank, the release stated, has also entered into a tie-up with automobile manufacturers such as Piaggio Vehicles, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Hindustan Motors, Bajaj Auto, Force Motors, amongst others for financing their vehicles.

Shares of Allahabad Bank closed at Rs 77.30, up by 1.51 per cent, at the BSE, on Thursday.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Central Bank not to raise lending rates now

State-run Central Bank of India (CBI) is not planning to increase its lending rate even though it has been witnessing an uptick in cost of funds following RBI’s liquidity tightening moves, a top official said today.

“Last two months, we have seen an escalation in cost of funds. But whether this is going to result in a change of base rate, I don’t think so as of now,” its new chairman and managing director Rajeev Rishi told reporters.

He said the bank may think of raising the base rate or the minimum rate of lending as and when a need arises.

“Our base rate is at 10.25 per cent and I am comfortable as of now,” Rishi said.

It can be noted that the Finance Ministry is against the hiking lending rates in times of a slowdown in economic growth. A couple of banks, including Union Bank of India and Andhra Bank, have hiked their offerings in the recent past, though.

However, most private sector banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank have hiked their rates following the RBI moves.

A delay in passing the increase in cost of funds can impact a bank’s net interest margin for the particular period, and hence affect the profitability.

Rishi said so long as the bank is able to protect its NIM —— it reported a NIM of 2.68 per cent in Q1 —— it will not react in a “knee-jerk” fashion to raise the lending rates.

Pressure on the cost of funds is emanating from the RBI’s liquidity tightening moves starting July 15 aimed at curbing speculation in the forex markets. The moves, which include a cap on the bank’s overnight borrowing, have pushed up rates in the money markets.

Meanwhile, Rishi said the asset quality is the primary focus for him and added the bank is putting in extra efforts on the recoveries front to bring down gross bad loans to 5 per cent by March from over 6 per cent now.

The stress will continue for at least the next two quarters, he said.

The bank has applied for capital infusion from the government, Rishi said but declined to give an exact amount which it has sought. “As of now we are comfortable with tier—I capital, which is above 8 per cent,” he said, adding he expects funds to come in by December.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Federal Bank board approves stock split

The board of directors of Kerala-based Federal Bank Ltd has approved the sub-division of equity shares of Rs 10 each into five shares of Rs 2 each.

The Investment and Capital Raising Committee of the board will meet on September 14 to consider the record date for the stock split, the bank has said in a statement to the stock exchanges.

The shares closed lower on the BSE at Rs 297 today. The stock, which crashed to a 52-week low of Rs 221.25 on September 4 on the exchange, has seen a sharp bounce back since then. But it is way off its 52 week high of Rs 550.75 that it reached on January 2 this year.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Interview for SBI Chairman post next week

A Government appointed search panel will conduct interviews for selecting the Chairman of the country’s largest bank SBI on September 21.

All the four Managing Directors of State Bank of India have been called for the interview, a senior Finance Ministry official said.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by the Prime Minister, had recently suggested that all the four SBI MDs should be called for the interview.

The incumbent Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri is set to retire at the end of this month.

The Finance Ministry had sought exemption in regulatory guidelines so that more candidates could be interviewed for SBI’s top post.

Based on that, ACC suggested that the Finance Ministry invite all the four MDs for the interview, sources said.

ACC comprises the Home Minister and the administrative ministry in-charge (the Finance Ministry in this case).

As per the norms, a candidate for the post of Chairman is eligible for the interview if he/she has at least two years of service left before retirement.

Going by this rule, only one of the four Managing Directors, Arundhati Bhattacharya, is eligible for the post.

Another Managing Director A Krishna Kumar has one year and three months left before his retirement. He will retire in November next year, while Bhattacharya recently elevated as MD will retire in March 2016.

The term of senior-most Managing Director Hemant Contractor, who is group executive for international banking, ends in February next year.

S Viswanathan, MD in-charge of subsidiaries and associates, will retire in April 2014.

Prior to her elevation, Bhattacharya was MD and Chief Executive of SBI Caps, the merchant banking subsidiary of SBI.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Central Bank, Suvidhaa launch a channel card for retailers

Central Bank of India and Suvidhaa today launched a prepaid card for retailers that will enable people to pay their utility bills, taxes and book tickets by going to the nearest Suvidhaa outlets.

The Suvidhaa retailer will charge a small service fee over and above the bill amount.

The card can be used by any customer, including those who do not have a bank account or an email id.

There are over 65,000 Suvidhaa retailers across 2,800 towns in India.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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ICICI Bank launches chip-based credit card

ICICI Bank Ltd, India’s largest private sector bank, has launched ICICI Bank Carbon in partnership with Visa.

“The ICICI Bank Carbon will be offered to select ICICI Bank credit card members only. It is available at an inaugural one-time fee of Rs 1,000 plus applicable service tax,” the bank said in a statement.

The member initially needs to generate a CodeSure PIN on the ICICI Bank Web site before using the card. This is a one-time activity.

The PIN can instantly help generate a one-time-passcode (OTP) on the card plastic itself. The display panel on the back of the card then shows this OTP which can be used to authenticate online transactions.

In case of a loss of the physical card, it cannot be used for online transaction without the CodeSure PIN, the bank said.

The card provides reward points, complimentary movie tickets, access to culinary treat programme, access at select airport lounges in India and complete waiver of 2.5 per cent fuel surcharge at HPCL fuel stations.

Powered by Visa CodeSure, it provides EMV chip technology with embedded microchip that can minimise the risks of skimming and counterfeit of cards, especially for online shopping.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Don’t misuse bank notes: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India has appealed to members of public not to use banknotes for making garlands, decorating pandals and places of worship or for showering on personalities in social events, and so on.

Such actions deface the banknotes and shorten their life. “Banknotes should be respected as they are a symbol of the sovereign and public should not misuse them,” the RBI said in a statement.

It sought the help of public in increasing the life of banknotes.

The Reserve Bank said it has been taking all measures to supply clean banknotes across the country and urged members of public to contribute their mite to its efforts in pursuing a ‘clean note policy’ for the country.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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SKS Microfinance postpones AGM

SKS Microfinance Ltd has postponed its annual general meeting scheduled to be held on September 30, 2013.

The postponement assumes significance as the company has rejected a nomination of its founder and ex-chairman Vikram Akula as the representative of the SKS Trusts, the largest shareholder in the company with a stake of 12.6 per cent.

SKS Microfinance on Tuesday said no shareholder had any right to nominate a director.

The reason cited for postponement of the board meeting, however, was different. The request was made on the basis of procedural aspects of the proposed shift of registered office from Hyderabad to Mumbai, according to an order from the registrar of the companies.

The only listed microlender was given three months time to conduct the AGM. No fresh date has been given.

Some analysts are seeing this as a move to scuttle the entry of Akula on to the board as that could be proposed in the AGM if held this month as scheduled.

"Though the trust had become the largest shareholder in the last couple of weeks, it did make some requests earlier for a position on the board with hints that the issue could be taken up at the AGM,’’ said an analyst.

SKS scrip lost 1.23 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday and is trading at Rs 141 by the lunch hour.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Exim Bank opens office in Myanmar

Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has opened a representative office in Myanmar's capital of Yangon, a move that is likely to boost bilateral trade.

This is the eighth overseas regional office of the government-run premier export finance institution, Exim Bank Chairman and Managing Director T C A Ranganathan said in a statement here today.

Speaking at the inauguration, Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Gautam Mukhopadhaya expressed the hope that Exim Bank's presence in the neighbouring country would further boost and facilitate bilateral trade and investment relations apart from contributing to Myanmar's developmental endeavours.

The statement quoted Yangon Chief Minister U Myint Swe saying Myanmar presents a plethora of opportunities for collaboration to partner Asian countries like India.

Exim Bank's other overseas offices are located in Addis Ababa, Dakar, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Singapore and Washington.

Source: EconomicTimes
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Federal Bank hikes NRE deposit rates

Private sector lender Federal Bank has hiked the deposit rates for its non-resident customers.

The Kerala-based bank has invited deposits for a special term of 1,111 days from its non-resident customers from September 9, 2013.

The deposit titled NRE (Non-Resident - External) Fortune Deposit is offered at an interest rate of 10 per cent. For all other maturities (longer or shorter), the interest rate will be 9.5 per cent or less, the bank said in a statement.

The interest accrued can be withdrawn and repatriated or re-invested as per customer’s choice, the statement said.

The deposit is 100 per cent tax free and premature withdrawal is also permitted. However, if the deposit is closed before one year, no interest shall be payable, the bank said.

The scheme is likely to be withdrawn after the festival season.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Canara Bank to charge Rs 60 a year for SMS alerts

State-owned Canara Bank today said it will charge Rs 60 per year for SMS alerts beginning October 2013.

“We wish to inform that in line with the industry trend, our bank is compelled to charge Rs 15 per quarter per customer with effect from October 1, 2013, for SMS services and those who have opted for SMS alerts,” Canara Bank said in a notification.

However, the bank said senior citizens, small savings account holders, basic bank accounts holders, and financial inclusion savings account holders will not be charged any such fee.

Among other state-owned banks, IDBI Bank, State Bank of Patiala and Vijaya Bank also charge customers for sending SMS alerts.

In March 2011, the Reserve Bank of India had issued guidelines to banks on online alerts to customers for all types of transactions, irrespective of the amount, involving the usage of cards, the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, had said in Parliament recently.

However, the RBI has not issued any guideline on charges for SMS alerts, he added.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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No shareholder has right to nominate a director on its board: SKS Micro

In response to SKS Trust Advisors Pvt Ltd and five mutual benefit trusts’ bid to seek a board seat, SKS Microfinance Ltd on Tuesday said that no shareholder has any right to nominate a director.

Hyderabad-based SKS Microfinance, in a notice to the BSE, said it has received a request for a seat on the board of directors from SKS Trust Advisors and five mutual benefit trusts.

The five mutual benefit trusts are: SKS Mutual Benefit Trust – Medak, SKS Mutual Benefit Trust – Sadasivapet, SKS Mutual Benefit Trust – Sangareddy, SKS Mutual Benefit Trust – Jogipet, and SKS Mutual Benefit Trust – Narayankhed.

SKS Microfinance said: “Under the Company’s Articles of Association (AoA), no shareholder has any right to nominate a director.

“All requests for appointment are required to be made in accordance with the Companies Act and the AoA of the company and will be processed in accordance with law.”

SKS Trust Advisors is the largest shareholder in the microfinance company with 12.6 per cent stake.

The industry is agog with speculation that Vikram Akula, the founder and ex-chairman of SKS Microfinance, would stage a comeback with the help of the Trusts.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Kotak Mahindra Bank's 'Onam' sop for NRIs

Seeking to strengthen its NRI business, Kotak Mahindra Bank has come out with an offer of discount vouchers worth Rs 30,000 for those opening NRE and NRO accounts with its branches in Kerala in September and October this year.

Termed as 'Onam bonanza" as it coincides with Keralites' most important festival, the discount vouchers could be used for making purchases with some of state's leading jewellers and shops or enjoying the hospitality of major restaurants, a senior executive of KMB told a press meet here today.

Those opening Non-Resident External (NRE) or Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) accounts in any of the seven branches of the branch could avail the offer. The existing account holders could also benefit from it by introducing new NRI customers, KMB Executive Vice-President Deepak Sharma said.

The bank has seven branches in the state including those at Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.

Holding that it has a strong online platform, Sharma said KMB offered its products and services to its clientele around the world without being affected by the geographical or time zone constraints.

Also it had tie-up with various exchange houses in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region enabling it to serve the NRI customers.

The bank had recently introduced toll free numbers in six countries from where customers could call the bank's NRI centre.

Source: EconomicTimes
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United Bank to increase branches, ATMs to 2,000 this fiscal: CMD

United Bank of India (UBI) will increase the total number of branches and ATMs to 2,000 each across India this fiscal, Archana Bhargava, Chairman and Managing Director, said on Saturday.

Inaugurating the Bank’s 35th Regional Office, at Ahmedabad, she said the bank will take special care to provide financial services and credit facilities in financially excluded sectors at affordable cost. It is committed for the growth of MSMEs, agriculture and other service sectors in the state.

She also expressed concern over high rise in NPAs and emphasised the need for strengthening recovery measures. She advised the officials to take strict measures like sale of assets/change of management in case persuasive recovery measures fail to yield any results.

With 29 branches, UBI has covered 20 districts of Gujarat. Sanction letters of loans for more than Rs 20 crore under retail were delivered to the borrowers.

The bank has posted business of Rs 1.81 lakh crore in the quarter ended June 2013 with a growth of 22% and it is expected to cross Rs 2 lakh crore shortly. Also, the bank was making efforts to increase its customer base to three crore. All new branches are being opened with more than 1,000 accounts.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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SBI report welcomes RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan's focus on mobile banking

Terming it as a "game changer", a State Bank of India report has welcomed Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan's stated focus on deepening the penetration of mobile banking.

"Mobile payments could be a game changer, both in the financial sector as well for mobile phone companies," an SBI research report said after Rajan announced a slew of measures in his maiden address as the head of the central bank.

In this address, Rajan had announced the constitution of a technical group to study the feasibility of using an encrypted, SMS-based application for fund transfer, which which can run on any cellular phone handset.

Speaking of the advantages of mobile banking, the SBI note said that only 60 per cent of the population is covered by banking services today, though more than 75 per cent have mobile phones.

Additionally, mobile payments are also cheaper, the SBI note said, adding that a transaction through a mobile phone costs merely 2 per cent of a bank branch based funds transfer, 10 per cent of an ATM-based funds transfer and 50 per cent of an online banking transaction.

"Future business opportunities of banks will depend crucially on how well they connect with their technology savvy customers," the SBI report said.

Source: EconomicTimes
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Corp Bank SME meet in Goa

Corporation Bank organised an SME (small and medium enterprises) expo at Margao in Goa recently. A bank release said here that 25 SMEs showcased their products at the expo. Around 150 entrepreneurs attended the SME meet organised as part of the expo. Presiding over the meeting, Amar Lal Daultani, Executive Director of the bank, emphasised the need for building a strong capital base for SMEs for generating higher volumes. He handed over credit sanction letters to 11 SME beneficiaries on the occasion.

Source: thehindubusinessline
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