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PNB bets big on rural customers

Vishnu Pandey  |  New Delhi/ Kanpur 

Punjab National Bank (PNB) has set its eyes upon the vast rural populace to enhance its customer base.

The bank unveiled its new scheme to the rickshaw pullers and other daily wage earners to launch their own business ventures on the bank’s Executive Director Nagesh Pyadh’s visit to the city.

“We will be targeting the countryside customer who is not yet able to gain benefit from the financial and banking services available in the country. We have offered to open zero balance and no-frills account for the convenience of such economically weak customers,” Pyadh told Business Standard.

The bank currently has second-largest corporate customer base in Kanpur circle. “The Indian banking sector has largely been insulated from the global meltdown and we intend to capture the market in a time when other players are struggling to get their balance sheets right,” said Pyadh.

The firm is planning an organised and well-researched media campaign to woo the customer accustomed to unpacked edible oils, apart from fitting into his purchasing power.

“The country’s of business is there, in the countryside as improving purchasing powers will increase the demand for financial services,” he said.

The bank has drawn up a major plan for financial inclusion of the poor throughout the country in general and Indo-Gangetic plain in particular where the bank has a major presence.

In 13 states of the Indo Gangetic plain, the bank has 3,660 branches and lead bank responsibility in 57 districts.

In this area, there are six Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) sponsored by the bank. Eight Farmers’ Training Centres are also being run in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.

“We have conducted research in association with leading agencies trying to figure out the factors influencing banking decisions of the common man to meet the exact demand and attain cent percent financial inclusion,” said Pyadh.

The financial inclusion project will be a holistic approach of providing basic financial services to the hitherto unbanked, poor people preferably at their door step with the help of smart card and biometric enabled technology alongside arrangement will be made for effective training facilities and financial literacy.

The bank envisages utilising services of business facilitator/business correspondent for this purpose.

The bank is launching such pilot projects in ten districts of seven states. It has already opened more than 400,000 ‘No Frill Accounts’ under PNB Mitra Scheme.

First Published: Tue, September 08 2009. 00:45 IST