“We are making major changes in the retail banking vertical, the national banking group. The bank has decided to create a separate network for micro-finance and financial inclusion under each circle. The new unit will be headed by a general manager,” said Rajnish Kumar, chairman, SBI.
The purpose is to enhance oversight on financial inclusion initiatives and the Business Correspondents (BC) channel. Kumar said the management of these initiatives was scattered earlier and would be focused now.
Around 35 per cent of branches in rural and semi-urban areas will be managed by this unit. The bank has started a pilot project in the Chandigarh circle. At present, SBI runs its national operations through 17 circles. Each circle in headed by a chief general manager.
Senior SBI executives said the volumes resulting from the financial inclusion (FI) initiative had put pressure on branch networks and affected services to regular customers. Now, customers coming through FI initiative would be served by the new unit.
Under financial inclusion, the bank has about 58,000 BCs and 22,010 branches across the country to offer banking services. SBI recorded 397.5 million transactions amounting to Rs 1.73 trillion in 2019-20, translating to around 1.5 million transactions per day.
The bank has worked out strategies and leveraged technology to expand financial services to the doorsteps of the unbanked to bring them under the ambit of the formal banking system.
The circles work under retail and digital banking group, the largest business vertical of SBI, constituting 97.05% of its domestic deposits, and 54.89% of its domestic advances, as of March 31, 2019. The group comprises of eight strategic business units that drive the largest branch network across the country.