Indian Bank to open 1,525 ultra small branches in rural areas

Pattamangalam (Tamil Nadu): As part of its focus on taking banking services to villages, Indian Bank will set up 1,525 ultra small branches in rural areas across the country, a top official has said.

"We will be opening 1,525 Ultra Small Branches comprising one clerk, one laptop and one Rural Development officer," Indian Bank Chairman and Managing Director T M Bashin said.

This would be in addition to the 1,965 branches the bank has all over the country, he told reporters here on the sidelines of a branch opening ceremony by Finance Minister P Chidambaram last evening.

Rejecting the theory that rural branches were non-viable, he said they played a key role in freeing small farmers from the clutches of money lenders and bringing the rural population under financial inclusion.

When asked whether there was any specific motive for opening branches in rural area like Sivaganga district, Bashin said Indian bank wanted to focuss on villages. He said rural branches were picking up and in fact there were more advances being given through the rural banks.

Especially in southern Indian state Tamil Nadu, the business in some branches had crossed the Rs 50 crore mark, he said.

"This is the potential. Of course it took 18 months to two years for the business to pick up," he added.