The Kerala Gramin Bank (KGB), formed after the amalgamation of the South Malabar Gramin Bank (SMGB) and North Malabar Gramin Bank (NMGB), is planning to expand its operations to all panchayats in the state in the next four years.
“At present, we have 506 branches and we plan to expand our presence by 10 per cent per year. We will be opening 50 to 60 branches every year. Our aim is to open at least one branch in all the panchayats of the state in the next four years. We are concentrating in the semi-urban and rural areas. When it comes to the number of branches, there are only 23 in the urban sector,” KGB chairman K V Shaji told Express.
According to the chairman, the bank will focus on the agriculture and rural development sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and small road transport operators (SRTO). Among the SMEs, priority will be given to the small and micro enterprises. The SRTO will be following the credit guarantee system according to the local needs and priority.
“We will be moving closely with the commodity boards as many of them are headquartered in the state,” said Shaji. Unlike the South and North Malabar Gramin Banks, KGB will try to tap the NRI remittances. “Earlier, both the banks could not implement the plan effectively as they lacked core banking facilities. Now, it has been solved,” he said.
KGB, with Malappuram as its headquarters and sponsored by Canara Bank, came into existence with effect from July 8, according to a Government of India Extraordinary Gazette Notification. The integration of the IT and HR department will be completd in the next two months and the new emblem will be ready in one or two weeks, said its chairman. In addition to its present employee strength of around 2,900, KGB has started recruiting more into its fold.
“We will be employing only those who can read and write Malayalam and it is mandatory that they had studied Malayalam as a subject from first standard to tenth,” he said.
The command area of the new bank will be the combined operational area of the two erstwhile Regional Rural Banks, covering 14 districts. KGB, one among the 82 RRBs in the country will have a total net worth of `471.58 crore and a clientele of nearly 45 lakh. The shareholding pattern of KGB will continue to be along the lines of the earlier model with the Centre having 50 pc, Canara Bank 35 pc and the State Government 15 pc stake.