Saturday, April 5, 2008

Union Bank to expand “Banking Habit Villages” program

Union Bank of India, under its business-building plan, is materializing to expand the ‘Banking Habit Villages’ program in Andhra Pradesh.

The main idea is to make certain all families have a bank account and access to banks various services. For this, the bank has deputed field staff and providing office with Internet and other facilities at its rural branches, said bank’s regional manager C Abraham.

The project has been put into operation in over 240 villages in the state and there are plans of extending it to other areas. The bank will conduct a survey of a particular region for assessing the banking needs of the people and will also take the help of self-help groups to identify the people, to understand their earning and spending patterns to devise services and products that suit them.

Under this project, the bank will be giving smart card apart from opening a savings account. The smart card can be used for getting pensions, claiming wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and other social security program. So far, the bank has issued about 6,000 smart cards in various districts.

It will be issuing about 150,000 cards shortly in Warangal, Karimnagar, Medak, Mahboobnagar, Chittoor and East Godavari districts. “The smart card can be used at the local grocery stores too,”’ said Abraham.

The bank has also established Village Knowledge Centers to provide knowledge to farmers on the new developments in cultivation and harvest, the right use of fertilizer and pesticides for better yield and higher income. Up till now 14 such centers have been opened in the state and there are plans to open more centers in the current financial year.

He informed on Friday, the bank launched its reverse mortgage scheme across the country and is working to open its overseas branch in Hong Kong shortly. Very soon it will also be launching Union M-Pay for transfer of funds through mobile this month besides adding another 50 branches to the present 156 in the state.

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