BRANCH BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, India

India's Corporation Bank to open 300 branches

Corporation Bank will open 300 branches mainly in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Punjab, Orissa and Jharkhand.

To tap rural markets, the State-run bank is targeting to open 200 branches in rural and semi urban branches in the country mainly beyond Southern states. The bank has network of 1800 branches mainly in Southern states.

With large business houses in aviation, manufacturing and engineering under financial stress, the bank is focusing on retail banking. "The scenario is difficult. Many huge business houses have come down due to external internal reasons. But investment sentiment is building," said Corporation Bank chairman & managing director, Ajai Kumar.

The bank is eyeing retail banking including gold loans and SME credit market to achieve 15 and 16% growth respectively in advances and deposits in the current financial year.

The bank is targeting gold loan market of Rs 5,000 crore by March 2013 compared to Rs 2,000 crore in the last financial year. "

Private companies are already giving gold loans in a big way," said Kumar said while announcing to open 8 exclusive gold loan counters. "Gold loans will take care of credit requirements of farmers that are not covered under agriculture credit under priority sector lending," he added.

"Bulk advances are not in priority list for the bank and retail banking especially SME lending is on focus," Kumar said.

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