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Friday, August 21, 2015

SBI to open 500 customer service points in West Bengal

State Bank of India will open 500 customer service points in West Bengal to bridge the last mile gap between itself and customers at the state's hinterland.

SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya announced it Friday in Kolkata, barely within two days of Reserve Bank of India's in-principle approval to grant license to 11 entities to set up payments banks, which aims to bring more people within the institutional finance network.

Many believe that payments banks would compete with universal banks in some aspects, especially in terms of mobilising savings deposits from villages. But the new entities are not allowed to lend or raise money beyond Rs 1 lakh per savers

"The only advantage payments banks will have over us is if they get better access to remote villages," Bhattacharya said at an event hosted by Ficci in Kolkata.

The country's largest bank already has 56,000 customer service points across states as a low-cost intermediaries for taking banking to grassroot level.

West Bengal Finance and Industry Minister Amit Mitra was present at the event and urged banks in the state to open at least 511 brick-and-mortar branches in unbanked gram panchayats (village councils) to improve penetration.

The state has 716 gram panchayats without bank branches at present.

Source : Economic Times


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