HDFC Bank spins off rural banking business to go deeper into India

HDFC bank announced on Thursday that it has set up a rural banking function to dig deeper into India. The largest private lender wants to bring its banking products further into the hinterland through its rural banking function, according to the company announcement.

Rural Banking will consolidate the bank’s existing initiatives in this direction and bring them closer to the last mile, the release said.

“We are delighted to bring the bank’s world-class products and services to the most remote corner of India,” the press statement said, citing Anil Bhavnani, HDFC Bank’s Senior Executive Vice President and National Rural Banking Head.

“This is both a challenge and an opportunity, and I am delighted to take it on. For many years the bank has had 50% of its branches in semi-urban and rural areas. With this increased focus, we will open more branches this year in semi-urban and rural areas. While the stores are touchpoints, we are working to holistically meet rural needs by developing products specifically designed for these markets,” he added.

Spin-off from the Retail Branch Banking as part of the bank’s Future Ready project, the Rural Banking business is focused on semi-urban and rural areas, much of which remains undeveloped.

Currently, the bank has 50 percent of its 6,342 branches in semi-urban and rural areas and the remaining 50 percent in metropolitan and urban areas. The bank also works with Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE) from Common Service Centers (CSC) as an extension of the bank’s branches in distant areas.

The Rural Banking business offers a whole bouquet of products and services in semi-urban and rural areas. The bank proceeds as follows:

  1. Distribution Network – In order to expand its distribution in rural areas, the bank will open over 1,064 branches in semi-urban and rural areas this fiscal year.
  2. Strategic Partnership – The Bank has partnered with the Institute of Rural Management, Anand to develop a ‘Rural First’ strategy by understanding the evolving dynamics related to consumer behavior, customer satisfaction, service design and service delivery
  3. New Products and Services – Building new products and services related to rural transportation, forestry, agriculture and other related activities
  4. One Stop Shop Solution – Focusing on providing a one stop shop solution for small farmers, workers and traders
  5. Financial Literacy Awareness – To raise awareness of good savings habits and financial literacy

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