Thursday, March 14, 2013

India Post readies plan to start bank

NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India having opened the window for new bank licences, the postal department is finalizing the blueprint to set up a bank of its own at your neighbourhood post office, a move that will challenge the dominance of large public sector lenders in smaller towns and rural India.

 While the department already has a balance sheet of Rs 6.18 lakh crore, which includes deposits of around 5.5 lakh crore, it is expected to set up a new entity that will function as the bank. Transferring the existing deposit base to the bank or converting the entity into a bank will entail an initial capital base of around Rs 55,000 crore to meet RBI's requirement, which the government will find difficult to provide. So, the proposed bank will start with the minimum capital requirement of Rs 500 crore, said a source familiar with the development.

 "This will benefit rural areas enormously. There are nearly 1.55 lakh post offices and no capital cost of building is required. We are connecting post offices. As it is, we are offering savings bank in post offices and this is a natural progression. The matter is under discussion with the finance ministry and RBI," communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal told TOI.

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