Indian Bank, on September 14, introduced IB SAATHI (Sustainable Access and Aligning Technology for Holistic Inclusion), a comprehensive financial inclusion initiative. This endeavor is designed to offer fundamental banking services to various stakeholders through the business correspondent (BC) channel.
Under this revamped model, the bank’s primary objective is to ensure the availability of basic banking services for a minimum of four hours daily at fixed outlets across all centers, as outlined in a statement released by the public sector lender.
One noteworthy aspect of IB SAATHI is the plan to extend BC agent services directly to customers’ doorsteps, further enhancing the accessibility and inclusivity of financial services.
To achieve this ambitious goal, Indian Bank has initiated a mission to deploy over 5,000 new BCs by March 2024. At present, the bank boasts 10,750 BCs and 10 corporate business correspondents (CBCs). This existing infrastructure is set to expand substantially, with the aim of reaching 15,000 BCs and 15 CBCs.
As part of its commitment to providing a wide array of services to customers, Indian Bank currently offers 36 different services through its BC channel. Looking ahead to the fiscal year 2025, the bank plans to introduce an additional 60 services, further enriching the range of financial offerings available to customers.
The introduction of IB SAATHI underscores Indian Bank’s commitment to financial inclusion. This initiative recognizes the importance of ensuring that all members of society have access to basic banking services, regardless of their location or socio-economic status.
By expanding its BC network and adopting a customer-centric approach that extends services to doorsteps, Indian Bank aims to bridge the gap between traditional banking and underserved communities. This move aligns with the broader mission of promoting financial literacy and economic empowerment across India.
The extension of BC agent services to customers’ doorsteps represents a significant leap forward in making banking more convenient and accessible. Many individuals in remote or underserved areas face challenges in accessing brick-and-mortar bank branches. The doorstep services offered by IB SAATHI aim to address these issues directly, enabling customers to conduct essential banking transactions without the need for extensive travel.
This approach is especially crucial in rural areas, where banking infrastructure is often limited. By bringing banking services closer to the people, Indian Bank hopes to facilitate financial inclusion and improve the overall quality of life for residents in these regions.
Indian Bank’s ambitious plan to increase the number of BCs from 10,750 to 15,000 by March 2024 demonstrates a strong commitment to reaching more communities and individuals. BCs play a pivotal role in extending banking services to remote and underserved areas, acting as intermediaries between customers and the bank.
This expansion of the BC network will not only enhance the bank’s reach but also create opportunities for individuals to become BC agents, potentially generating income and employment in local communities.
Indian Bank’s dedication to offering a diverse range of services through its BC channel is evident in its current offering of 36 services. Looking forward to FY25, the bank’s plans to introduce an additional 60 services signify a significant expansion of its financial product portfolio.
These services may encompass various banking transactions, including deposits, withdrawals, fund transfers, and more. The broader range of services aims to meet the evolving needs of customers and further enhance their banking experience.
Indian Bank’s launch of IB SAATHI reflects its unwavering commitment to financial inclusion and customer-centricity. By extending basic banking services to all, especially to those in underserved areas, the bank aims to make banking more accessible and convenient. The expansion of the BC network and the introduction of a broader range of services demonstrate Indian Bank’s determination to provide holistic financial solutions that empower individuals and communities across India. IB SAATHI is not just an initiative; it is a testament to Indian Bank’s vision of a financially inclusive future for all.