HDFC Bank has recently carved out a Rural Banking division to penetrate deeper into rural markets. Tasked to take banking products further in the hinterland, Rural Banking will consolidate the bank’s existing initiatives in this direction, and take it closer to the last mile.
Carved out of Retail Branch Banking as part of the bank’s ‘Future – Ready’ project, the Rural Banking business to focus on semi-urban and rural areas, a large part of which remains untapped.
Anil Bhavnani, who has been with the bank for over 19 years, has been appointed National Rural Banking Head. The Bank has at present 50 per cent of its 6,342 branches in semi-urban and rural areas, and the remaining 50 per cent in metro and urban areas. The bank also works with Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE) of Common Service Centres (CSC) as an extension of the bank’s branches in remote rural areas.
The Rural Banking business to offer an entire bouquet of products and services in semi-urban and rural areas.
HDFC Bank’s key Rural Banking interventions
Distribution Network – To expand its distribution in the rural areas, the Bank to open 1,064 branches in semi-urban and rural areas in this financial year.
Strategic Partnership – The Bank has partnered with Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) to create ‘Rural First’ strategy by understanding evolving dynamics related to consumer behaviour, customer satisfaction, service design, and service delivery.
New Products and Services – The Bank will build new products and services related to rural transport economy, forest economy, agri economy, and other allied activities.
One-Stop-Shop Solution – To focus on providing a one-stop shop solution to small farmers, workers, and traders.
Financial Literacy Awareness – To spread awareness on good savings habits and financial literacy.
Underlining the Bank’s focus on rural markets, Anil Bhavnani, Sr Executive Vice President and National Rural Banking Head, HDFC Bank said, “We are excited to take the bank’s world-class products and services to the remotest corner of India. This is both a challenge and an opportunity and I am very excited to take this up. For many years now, the bank had 50 per cent of its branches in semi-urban and rural areas. With this enhanced focus, we will open more branches this financial year in semi-urban and rural areas. While branches are touchpoints, we are working on meeting rural needs holistically, by creating products specially designed for these markets.”
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