Banking sector more responsive to people’s needs

New Delhi: A major change taking place in India’s financial system is the greater responsiveness of the formal banking sector to the articulated needs of the population, the government said on Tuesday.

“The culture is changing in India and th ere is a greater responsiveness to the articulated needs of the people,” Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal said while addressing the opening of South Asia conclave on Financial Inclusion here organised by the Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN).

Noting the recent banking licenses granted by Reserve Bank of India to Bandhan Bank and other small financial institutions, Duggal outlined the scenario for the future in the sphere of reaching finance to the “last mile” and the needy towards supporting their growth.

“We’re looking, in a time-span of three to five years, at a hybridisation of delivery points, at high-touch banking institutions, with microfinance institutions being among them,” she said.

The secretary said that “borrowers” of microfinance, 99 percent women, are now being referred to as such, and no longer as “beneficiaries”, because they come with concrete business plans.

“We’re looking at realignments in the banking sector, we’re looking at chemists as banking points,” she said, pointing out that a recent banking license had been granted to a pharmaceutical company.