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Friday , February 8 , 2013
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SBI moots clusters

Kawaimari (Nagaon), Feb. 7: State Bank of India chairman Pratip Chaudhuri has asked Dispur to set up industrial clusters to boost the credit-deposit ratio in the state.

“The state should set up more industrial clusters which will help banks to put in money to improve the credit-deposit ratio,” Chaudhuri told The Telegraph.

The SBI chairman today visited a customer service point, also known as ultra small branch, at Kawaimari village, about 8km from Nagaon, and expressed happiness that it had brought banking services at the doorsteps of about 15,000 people.

“Industrial clusters have been set up in many states in the country’s western region. This has helped banks to lend more for industrial development,” he said.

Speaking at the function, which was attended by villagers and bank and district administration officials, the SBI chairman said he wanted to connect every citizen to the bank. He said the Nagaon deputy commissioner had raised some issues and the bank would take care of those.

The bank will open 800 ATMs in the Northeast and outsource its functions. Officials said this would help the bank to reduce its costs considerably. A consortium of public sector banks has released tender notifications to outsource 40,000 ATMs, they added.

The SBI has also appointed 800 new staff in Assam to improve its strength.

Rejaul Hoque Choudhury, owner of the customer service point at Kawaimari, said the branch had covered 3,779 families and would cover the remaining 974 in another two months.

So far, 9,577 accounts have been opened.

“The response has been tremendous and people are coming forward to open accounts,” he said.

The villagers, primarily farmers, are happy that their “next door” bank has saved them a trek of about 3-4km. “I can now at least deposit Rs 200 at the branch which is next door. Otherwise, I would have to walk 4km,” gushed Nazrul Islam, a villager.

SBI chief general manager (Northeast) Rajnish Kumar said the aim of the financial outreach programme was to help people access banking services at their doorsteps.

Chaudhuri distributed four ambulances to hospitals/healthcare centres in backward semi-urban/rural areas of the Northeast — two in the districts of Karbi Anglong and Goalpara in Assam, one in Mizoram and one in Nagaland — as part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility.

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