Interview

Banking for Rural Areas

Krishna Mohan Trivedi, Chief General Manager State Bank of India, Local Head Office, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

“State Bank of India’s association with the people of Odisha goes way back to the year 1921, this is well before even formation of the State on 1st April 1936,” says Krishna Mohan Trivedi. In conversation with Kartik Sharma

Please tell us about the origins of SBI in Odisha ?

SBI, in its previous incarnation as Imperial Bank of India, had opened the first branch on 16th May 1921 at Berhampore (Ganjam). We also opened the second branch in the historic city of Cuttack on 8th August 1921 and went on adding many more in subsequent years. To give focused attention on the integrated growth of the State, we created a separate Circle with its Local Head Office at Bhubaneswar on 16th June 1979.

What kind of growth has SBI been achieving since inception?

Since then we have grown in size enormously and as on 31st March 2013, we had 718 branches in Odisha. By end of December 2013, we have opened 12 more branches. We have further plans to open 36 branches on the 26th January 2014 and 23 more by 31st March 2014. Thus, the share of SBI comes to about 21.80 % in total bank branches of all commercial banks in the State.

Please tell us about your branch network through which SBI is serving its customers in Odisha? Tell us about your branches in rural areas also?

Our branch network includes specialized outfits such as NRI Branch, Commercial Branches for medium and large corporates, Personal Banking Branches for HNI, SME and Agricultural Development branches, each with state of the art technology. Apart from this, we have centralized processing units for fast and efficient pension payment to the senior citizens, expeditious disposal of loan proposals, etc. Apart from branch network, in order to increase banking infrastructure, we have so far set up 1435 ATMs and 815 Customer Service Points (CSPs) through our Business Correspondent (BC) channel. To further increase the reach of people to the banking services, we have introduced cash payment through micro ATMs named as “Cash at POS”. Keeping in view the priority of Government of Odisha, 82 percent of our branches are in rural and semi-urban centres, so that the hinterland of the State is fully serviced.

Tell us about your initiatives for Financial Inclusion?

Nearly 60 percent of the population in Odisha is deprived of basic financial services. To meet the demands of this section of the society, we are working through our Brick & Mortar branches, 588 of which are in Rural/Semi-Urban areas, 815 Customer Service Points, 1435 ATMs, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking. The technology initially used was “POS” machines where offline transactions were taking place. We have now migrated to internet based kiosk banking application where real-time transactions take place at the Customer Service Points which has benefitted the customers.

In how many villages is SBI operating?

Out of about 45700 unbanked villages with population below 2000, we have been assigned responsibility to cover 12240 villages by March 2015. We are working towards this and till till the end of March 2014, 5825 villages will be covered and the remaining 6415 will be covered by March 2015.The Bank has set up 19 Financial Literacy Centres (FLCs) imparting to the rural mass the knowledge of efficiently managing one’s own money. In FY2013-14, we have conducted 281 programmes benefitting 10373 participants. We have 17 Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI) that are actively working for skill development of the rural youth. 17323 rural youth have been benefitted so far.

Tell us about work that SBI is doing specifically for the Government of Odisha?

As the sole banking partner, we have successfully implemented the flagship scheme, MAMATA, for the pregnant women mostly from the weaker section of the society benefitting more than 10 lac beneficiaries. Bank has introduced a pioneer payment solution “Aadhaar Payment Bridge System” (APBS) – a hassle-free DBT payment solution for transferring the cash benefit through bank accounts of beneficiaries maintained in various banks. We also handle payment of MGNREGA wages through the banking channel in the State. We have already handled payment of Rs.561.87 crore to 71.51 lac beneficiaries since inception of the scheme in 2012. Now this is being processed in the RBI’s RECS system.

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