Country's largest lender and banking giant, State Bank of India, kicked off 154 branches and 1,540 ATMs in a single day. The branches were inaugurated online by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday, 12 July, 2009, via a webcast from Jangipur (West Bengal).
Commenting on the move, Mukherjee said, "As per the Rajinder Sachar Committee recommendation, we are trying to increase bank penetration in minority-dominated zones of the country."
Of the 154 branches inaugurated, 11 branches and 101 ATMs are located in Hyderabad.
With this, the number of SBI branches across the country has increased to 11,853, whereas the number of ATMs has increased to 13,983.
The bank also revealed its plans to set up 1,000 branches and 10,000 ATMs during the current fiscal in unbanked gram panchayats (GPs) areas across different states.
On the occasion, O.P. Bhatt, chairperson, State Bank, said, ‘We had introduced banking in 53,000 unbanked villages across the country last year. This year, the target is 50,000.'
The day is memorable in the history of Indian banking considering that fact that no bank has so far endeavoured setting up of this number of branches and ATM network in a single go.
The bank has also forayed into new technological products like internet banking, mobile banking, has aggressive plans to multiply its ATM count, increase its customer base and turnovers. Recently, the bank launched a special product for Army personnel.