ICICI Bank, the largest private sector lender of the country has harbored ambition of increasing its rural and semi urban presence.
"As we focus on enhancing our capabilities to serve our corporate and retail customers across India's towns and cities, it is also our endeavour to proactively reach out to rural India and to the vast numbers of our people who do not have access to formal financial services," managing director and CEO Chanda Kochhar said.
This aim of the bank is in line with its strategy to utilize its branch network to channelize most of its loans and not take the aid of direct sales agents. The direct agricultural loans of the bank amounted to Rs 17,329 crore at the end of March 2010.
The bank has a branch network of about 2000.
The bank had earlier focused heavily on rural sector in 2005-06. But heavy losses accounted from the sector led it to hold back its steps there.
The bank was cheated of Rs 200 crore at the central and state government warehouses in Kolhapur district in the year 2006, where it had not engaged third-party collateral managers.
Such cases forced the bank to dip its rural loan book by 50% to Rs 10,000 crore at the end of September 2007 from Rs 20,000 crore at the end of March 2007.