Odisha Sun Times Business Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 26:
With a view to providing banking services in villages, the ICICI Bank Ltd, India’s largest private sector bank, today announced the launch of ‘Branch on Wheels’ in Odisha, the first initiative of its kind by any private sector bank in the country.
Inaugurating the launch of the novel initiative here, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said “Financial inclusion is a key focus area for Odisha and I am very happy to see ICICI Bank partner with the state government to play a strong role in this area. This unique initiative of Branch on Wheels will go a long way to provide basic banking services to the remote unbanked villages in the state.”
Rajiv Sabharwal, executive director of ICICI Bank said, “ICICI as a group has always taken a holistic approach to provide financial services in rural and remote areas. In line with this approach, we have already launched 440 branches across the country to provide basic banking services in villages which are devoid of banking facilities. Today’s launch of ‘Branch on Wheel’ is yet another step of the bank to expand its reach to the unbanked villages.”
The ‘Branch on Wheels’ is a mobile branch with an ATM. It offers a wide range of banking products and services such as savings accounts, loans, cash deposit/withdrawal, account balance enquiries, statement printing and funds transfer/DD/PO collections, among others.
The ‘Branch on Wheels’ will be stationed at specific timings of the day in the pre-identified and unbanked villages at specified locations.
The van is equipped with a GPS tracking system, laptops with 3G connections, LED TV, a safe, a printer, public announcement system, an UV Lamp that detects forged cheques, a note counting-cum-authentication machine that identifies fake currency notes and a unique low weight ATM.
Two ICICI Bank officials and a guard will manage the ‘Branch on Wheels’ while the nearest branch of the Bank will act as the parent branch of the ‘Branch on Wheels’, routing all cash and transactions for it.
The ‘Branch on Wheels’ is mapped to the parent branch at Hinjilicut in Ganjam district and Bhedabahal in Sundargarh district. It will cover nine unbanked villages at Gandala, Palasi, Dobadi and Sahapur of Ganjam district and Lankahuda, Kopsinga, Rupidihi, Kirei and Kandabahal of Sundargarh district.
Odisha is the third state where ICICI Bank has expanded its ‘Branch on Wheels’ network after Maharashtra in September 2013 and Chhattisgarh in February 2014.