SBI plans one-man branches for ultra rich
By Ankit Sharma
Jan 17, 2008
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New Delhi: The remarkable growth in number of ultra rich and high net worth individuals in India has caught the attention of State Bank of India (SBI) and it is now planning to grab a share of this lucrative market by setting up 'one-man branches' and financial service centers in urban areas.

SBI is contemplating to open 1,000 such branches, which will be strategically placed in residential areas, shopping malls, market centers etc. to provide doorstep banking services to the affluent class. At present of the SBIs total customer base of 90 million, only 3 percent belong to this section of the society. The private sector banks have cornered a major share of this segment by providing enhanced value added services and priority channels like the ICICI Bank's green channel for high net worth and influential individuals.

The one-man branches will provide services like personal banking, remittance, credit cards, investment advisory services on mutual funds, insurance etc. and will have all the facilities expected from a sale outfit. A person can walk in into the branch and avail these services from advantage points. An ATM, check-drop box and internet kiosk is also planned for such a branch. Customers can also fill in request for loans, which will be processed at the nearest branch and these centers will be connected to a loan and liability processing center.

A SBI official said, "In metros like Mumbai, it was felt that the bank was missing out on huge HNI and upper-middle class population, which require quality banking services and hence there is an urgent need for one-man branches." SBI is also planning a revamp of its loss making branches located at metros and urban areas and is thinking of converting them into 'lean' branches, which will provide only routine branches. A branch manager will operate such outlets and single window transactions will be implemented at these branches. These branches will only accept cash and make payments.

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