RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, India

HDFC Bank targets setting up branches in remote areas

The lender plans to open 147 branches in remote areas such as Kashmir, North East and Rajasthan.

HDFC Bank plans to open branches in remote areas of Kashmir, North East and Rajasthan as part of its target of opening a fourth of its new branches in unbanked regions. This was indicated by Ravi Narayanan, head of branch banking at the inauguration of its Leh branch - the first to be opened by a new generation private bank in the remote Himalayan district.

The bank is also set to open a branch in Kargil. Last month RBI told banks that they would need to open one bank in an underbanked area for every three branches they open elsewhere. HDFC Bank plans to increase its branch network to around 2700 from 2111 branches as on end-June 2011. This means that around 147 branches will need to be opened in remote areas.

Although underbanked areas such as Leh in Ladakh provides opportunites to banks to generate deposits there is very limited commercial activity to generate income thorough loans. According to Mr Narayanan the bank will first look at opportunities to grow its topline in these regions.

View the full story in Times of India.

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