RBI urges banks to include all villages by 2011
By Vaibhav Aggarwal
Dec 10, 2009
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With prominent signs of recovery in the economy, RBI is planning to concentrate more on banks' financial inclusion programme.

The central bank appears to be worried about banks' participation in terms of offering services to the poor and may introduce a system to evaluate performance of bank managers who work closely at the branch levels.

RBI Governor, D Subbarao said, "Merely 40% of the population have bank accounts, while just about 10% have life insurance covers. Opening of no-frill accounts only may not achieve full financial inclusion."

As a solution to this, RBI will soon compel banks to cover all villages with population of 20,000 and above and make financial services accessible to them by March 2011. The governor suggested the lead banks to prepare a roadmap by March 2010 to achieve this target.

The regulator will also asks banks to come up with individual strategies for financial inclusion. The governor said that RBI did not want to impose more financial model and wanted the banks to own what they were doing.

Subbarao said that if the banks failed to achieve this, RBI would not hesitate to include other business models like micro finance.

"MFIs have demonstrated how low income groups can be bankable proposition," he said. The governor said interest rates charged by MFIs at 24-30% annually are still too high.


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