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Banks on an overdrive to enroll new customers

ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, opened 1 lakh basic savings bank deposit accounts on Thursday.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: August 29, 2014 10:48 am

On the day of the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), banks made hectic efforts across the country to enlist as many customers as possible under the mega financial inclusion plan.

State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, led the initiative by opening over 20 lakh basic savings bank deposit accounts, thus helping to reach the overall target of 1.5 crore accounts set for the first day of the scheme.

SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said, “Banks are fully geared up to universalise banking access and financial inclusion under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. The use of debit cards will allow the unbanked to start building a transaction history, which can be a decisive step in initiating them towards financial inclusion. This will also help the banks for better product designing and targeting.”

ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, opened 1 lakh basic savings bank deposit accounts on Thursday. ICICI opened the accounts by conducting 1,100 camps across its network of more than 3,700 branches and in villages.

Under this scheme, banks offer each account holder a passbook, a RuPay Debit Card with an accident cover of Rs 1 lakh, life insurance cover of Rs 30,000 and overdraft facility of Rs 5,000. The accident cover will be provided by HDFC Ergo while LIC will provide life insurance cover.

Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO of ICICI Bank, said, “The PMJDY inspires us to renew our commitment to the goal of financial inclusion with even greater vigour and focus.”

Public sector IDBI Bank opened more than 3.62 lakh basic savings accounts under this plan, as against a targeted number of 2 lakh accounts and held camps at more than 6,800 locations across the length and breadth of the country, it said.

Officials at SBI, which has the maximum branch network, said its employees fanned across the nook and corner of the country. Banks also enlisted the support of business correspondents in the camps conducted in villages and urban areas. The account-opening procedures were paper-less and opened on the basis of Aadhaar identification.

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  1. S
    subhasis ghosh
    Aug 29, 2014 at 11:37 am
    Excellent initiative by the new government. Good work can happen in stages and not necessarily through a big bang approach. Unfortunately the media seems to be short of stories and have already started criticising government which is just 4 months into its 60 months mandate.
    1. S
      Aug 29, 2014 at 8:50 am
      Great initiative on the verge of financial security while morons are ranting their voice as usual.
      1. S
        Aug 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm
        This is a much needed initiative to ensure poor people get benefits directly and also to encourage a savings habit among them. However what is not too clear is how the economics will work out. Today most banks are shifting their investments away from branches to ATMs, web and call centers to lower cost of servicing customers with much larger portfolios with the banks. How will the banks cover the costs of servicing millions of new account holders with small balances? The RRB initiative to get smaller banks to have better systems does not seem to have worked as well as expected so not sure how larger banks with more rigid cost structures can sustain this? This is the reason telecom operators did not deliver on their social commitment to take services to the villages till mobiles took off faster than land lines making the need for land lines in villages moot. That logic however does not apply to banking services because the number of touch points needed by poorer customers will be as many if not more than for richer customers. Hope this is not a knee jerk reaction from the banks to keep the PM happy. If that be the case (which it might well be given it is just 2 weeks since the announcement was made and suddenly the banks are ready to service segments they could not for years??) this may be given a quiet burial after some months.... And that would be a pity as the need is real.