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SBI opens 50 kiosk branches

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State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, today announced that it had opened 50 first-of-its-kind ‘kiosk branches’ in Mumbai in partnership with pre-paid services provider Oxigen Services and Sahyog Microfinance Foundation.

The effort is aimed at providing basic banking services to lower income segments.

In November last year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had permitted individual kirana, medical and fair price shop owners to serve as (BCs).

The concept of kiosk branches involves hooking up web-enabled retail stores to SBI’s core banking platform and using the shops as a touch-point for basic banking services such as cash deposits, withdrawals and remittances apart from micro-credit and insurance.

A retailer can open a no-frills bank account for a customer by recording fingerprint details and taking a photograph of the customer. The details along with other documents are forwarded to the affiliated branch to carry out the know-your-customer process. Once the account is up, a customer can withdraw, deposit or remit a maximum of Rs 10,000 per day through the internet-enabled kiosk branch.

All transactions will be validated by fingerprint authentication. SBI and Oxigen have already carried out a pilot project involving 30 kiosk branches in the New Delhi and National Capital Region. According to SBI General Manager (Mumbai) Riten Ghose, 350 accounts have already been opened and transactions of several thousand rupees have already been carried out through the pilot kiosk branches.

The existing 5,000 web-enabled Oxigen retailers in Mumbai and Maharashtra are targeted to customer service points to SBI.

Sahyog Microfinance will serve as BC for SBI.

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