The largest lender of the country, State Bank of India is planning to increase its rural loan book as a step towards financial inclusion.
"The bank plans to increase its rural lending book by 25% and its deposit base by about 28%,'' said Jayanta K Sinha chief general manager, rural business, SBI.
The banking major will also be seeking the help of corporates to act as business correspondents (BC) in the move. "In keeping with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) letter we have drafted a financial inclusion plan, which has been approved by the board," Sinha said.
"We would approach the rural markets through our branch network, use technology and also business correspondent to grow our business,'' added Sinha. ``We will add around 1,500 branches in rural and semi urban areas in the next three years. At present, the bank has 12,647 business correspondents we will add another 12,000 BCs by the end of March 2011,'' added Sinha.
BCs currently market products like savings deposits, overdraft and remittances for SBI but their role would soon be expanded to market micro insurance, pension and kisan credit cards too.
SBI has13,000 branches of which 4,856 branches are based in rural areas and 3,801 branches in semi urban areas. The bank has also set up 141 bio metric ATMs and some specialised ATMs which use solar power to operate and tough weather condition in select rural centres.