FY’11 to see 1000 SBI branches for semi urban areas
By Vaibhav Aggarwal
Mar 16, 2010
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The largest public sector lender of the country, State Bank of India is planning to open bring 1000 branches in rural and semi urban areas of the country in the upcoming financial year.

"During this financial year, till now we have opened about 600 branches in rural and semi-urban areas, and next (financial) year we are planning to open 1,000 branches in these areas," SBI chief general manager for rural business Jayanta K. Sinha told reporters here on the sidelines of an event.

"We aim at expanding our reach to masses in rural India," he said.

The bank currently has more than 8000 rural branches all over the country. It has opened 600 branches in rural and semi urban areas in the current financial year.

Speaking on the status of NPAs attributed to the rural sector, Mr. Sinha said, "Before the government launched the debt-waiver scheme, we used to face problems of having big numbers of NPAs. But now, the things have improved and there has been a drastic decline in the number of NPAs for rural business."

"Now, it (the NPA level) is same as for any other business," he said. He declined to give any specific number for the same.

Apart from expanding in rural and semi urban areas, the bank also has announced that it would be opening up branches in other cities and states of India too. The bank has recently announced the opening of 25 branches in Assam this year. The bank plans to reach a target of 1000 branches in the Chandigarh circle in the upcoming fiscal.

As a part of financial inclusion, the bank has established about 24,000 smart card based touch points and opened no-frills account, Mr. Sinha said.

The bank has joined hands with Srei Sahaj e-Village Limited, a subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited so as to bring about financial inclusion by offering SBI banking services through Sahaj Rural Development Foundation (SRDF).

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