SBI to hire 15,000 business correspondents

SBI to hire 15,000 business correspondents

New Delhi: Country’s largest lender SBI on Thursday said it plans to hire this fiscal about 15,000 business correspondents, who will help people in the rural areas to open bank accounts.

“In order to expand our presence in the unbanked areas, the bank intends to hire around 15,000 (business correspondents) in 2010-11," a senior SBI official told PTI.

It is not possible for banks to open branches in every village, so the business correspondents and business facilitator model would help in taking banking facilities to every part of the country, the official said.

Business correspondents are persons who, besides helping rural people to open bank accounts, would facilitate in banking transactions. Their key role is to accept deposits and remit money.

As per the Reserve Bank’s guideline, banks are allowed to engage retired employees, ex-servicemen and retired government employees and other entities, as prescribed by the central bank, as business correspondents.

However, in engaging such intermediaries as business correspondents, banks should ensure that they are well established, enjoy good reputation and have the confidence of the local people, it said.

In Budget 2010, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had said, “to reach the benefits of banking services to the ‘Aam Aadmi’ (common man), the RBI had set up a high-level committee on the lead bank scheme.

After assessing the recommendations of this committee, and in further consultation with the RBI, it was decided to provide appropriate banking facilities to habitations having population in excess of 2000 by March, 2012.

“It is also proposed to extend insurance and other services to the targeted beneficiaries. These services will be provided using the business correspondent and other models with appropriate technology back up. By this arrangement, it is proposed to cover 60,000 habitations," Mukherjee had said.