The immense arena of network that the local grocery man holds has led him become the best option for acting as banking correspondent to the commercial banks. The commercial banks are in need of banking correspondents who could facilitate them in penetrating their reach to the unbanked areas of the country.
The local grocery man has key information about the financial position of all households in his knowledge and has thus become the most viable option for the cause of financial inclusion.
"Kirana stores looks like a very viable option," said S C Sinha executive director Oriental Bank of Commerce. He also added that OBC had received the required approval for carrying forward with the plan and is firming its base on the same.
Banks had been in foray to come up with banking correspondents for quite some time but the formal approval for the same came up only in November 2009.
The Government has been pushing public sector banks to reach out more in the process of financial inclusion. In fact these banks have been asked to strictly focus on financial inclusion in villages.
Carrying forward with the idea of using kirana storekeepers as banking correspondents, Indian Bank CMD, T.M.Bhasin said that the bank is planning to form a separate company for the purpose.
The grocery shop keepers are already in the habit and idea of giving small loans to customers and they would help the banks with know your customer (KYC) norms. This way the grip of money lenders would be lessened and banks will have access to the bottom of the pyramid.
"We are exploring the Kirana store model, as it has a large presence all across the country," said MD Mallya, CMD, Bank of Baroda.
"The basic principle is that you need to find the right kind of people, who are ready to adopt the new technology," said chief-general manager PNB, RIS Sidhu speaking on the note that PNB is looking for other options too.