Bandhan is planning to start the hiring process for its banking foray in three months. The Kolkata-based microfinance major is one of the two players picked by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from among 25 applicants to award new banking licences.
“We will have to start the recruitment process in three months. We need to hire senior executives with good experience in the banking sector,” Bandhan Financial Services chairman and managing director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh told FE.
Ghosh, however, said it had not yet been finalised how many people would be needed at the senior management level. “It will depend on how many of our existing employees can be upgraded to the senior level for banking operations,” he pointed out. With employee strength of about 13,000, Bandhan is at present gearing up for capacity building down the line through intensive training. It already has eight training centres across the country.
Ghosh said once the product design for banking was complete, training programmes would be started. Bandhan expects to start the banking operations within a year.
It is in the process of merging MFI operations with banking operations. It is already carrying out a geo-mapping programme to select feasible locations for upcoming bank branches.
With a loan book of more than R6,000 crore, Bandhan currently has a network of 2,016 MFI branches and about 45% of them are in unbanked rural areas. Ghosh said they may hire a consultancy firm for the implementation process in order to foray into mainstream banking.
He had earlier told FE that as a full-fledged bank, Bandhan would focus on tapping the large unbanked population as well as its existing customers, especially women, in unbanked rural areas. The microlender, which has become the first MFI of the country to get “in-principle” approval from the apex bank to foray into the banking space, has footprint in 22 states and Union Territories after 13 years of operations. It has a customer base of 54 lakh.
– Mithun Dasgupta