July 2, 2016 2:17:32 am
In recent times, there has been much talk about bank consolidation with the rationale being cost rationalisation. When banks merge, there is a good chance that some branches might also merge and others get shut down. How do different states fare in the number of bank branches?
RBI’s recently released handbook of statistics on Indian states has some data. Given that it is home to the country’s financial capital, one would expect Maharashtra to figure at the top on various metrics. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Maharashtra had 11,810 offices of commercial banks in 2015, about double the number it had in 1990, just before economic liberalisation started.
The fastest growth among bigger states (not counting Union territories and the Northeast) was Haryana, where branches increased by nearly three-and-a-half times and Delhi, where they went up nearly two times.
That number of branches translates into 105 branches per million population in Maharashtra (using the 2011 Census figures). This is below the national average of 108 branches per million people. Goa tops this metric with 459 branches followed by Punjab at 217 and Himachal Pradesh at 214.
Another way to look at this, in Maharashtra, each bank office serves 9,515 people compared to the all-India average of 9,280 people. In Goa, each branch serves only 2,178 people. On the other extreme, in Manipur, 20,696 people have to make do with one branch and in Bihar (including Jharkhand), 15, 278 people are serviced by one bank.
To be sure, these averages don’t reveal the geographical spread of bank offices and it well may be the case that even in states with high bank branches per population, some areas might be under-served.
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