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Where spirituality and business blend-the new Centurion credit ca

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) The Centurion Bank of Punjab has entered the credit card market with its 'Mircle,'-- truly a card with a difference where spirituality and business go hand in hand--you help educate underprivileged children while you spend.

Centurion Bank of Punjab has tied up with new age Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's 'Art of Living'(AOL) for a credit card for its members and any other well wishers of the poor to spread smiles on the faces of thousands of underprivileged children by providing them with education and living expenses.

''There is a miracle when you get the card. Each subscription facilitates members to make a very nominal contribution of Rs 50 while a matching contribution of Rs 50 is made by the Bank.

Thereafter, the card is free for life. The entire Rs 100 per card goes to the 'Gift a Smile' programme of AOL', Mr Vivek Vig, Country Head- Retail Bank, Centurion Bank of Punjab, told UNI.

The beneficiaries will be 2,000 children of schools run by AOL in 65 villages. These are children who will be the first literates in their families. Their entire cost of living is to be funded from the proceeds of the credit card.

Apart from it being ''Free for Life'', the credit card has several other innovative features-- Low rate of interest of 0.99 per cent for the first six months; zero per cent interest on the balance transfers for a period of three months and almost all other advantages of a nominal credit card.

''This tie-up is a strategic step taken by us in achieving twin objectives--it is an important milestone towards completing our retail portfolio and simultaneously helps contribute to the society by providing the necesssary financial aid to the customer.

There is a pent up demand in the Indian society for doing good actions. The privileged feel that they owe it to their less fortunate bretheren to allieviate their sufferings. We provided a convenient window to fulfil these noble goals,'' Mr Vig said.

A brainchild of Mr Vig, the card has the blessings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a spiritual leader who has introduced to people all over the world the science of 'Kriya Yog,' which is 'rhythmic breathing that cleanses the body of physical, mental and emotional toxins.' Describing Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as an "artist extraordinary", Mr Vig says the ''card cuts the clutter in branding'' and is a unique way of penetrating the over-heated credit card market.

The motive is not not just pure business, but has ''more to do with corporate social responsibility,'' Mr Vig said, adding that the new generation private sector bank stands to gain by way of ''visibility, loyalty and image''.

Mr Vig, who has spent several years in running the credit card business in some leading International Banks and is popularly known as a 'retail banking guru' in the banking sector, said by using the card members accumulate 'Seva Points'. The monetary worth of 'Seva Points' gets collectively contributed to the 'Gift a Smile' programme.

''Out of the large base of AOL members as well as many other compassionate individuals, even if five lakh members take this card the contribution works out to Rs five crore, enough to sponsor education and living expenses for 5,000 poor children,'' said Mr G S Channi, All India Head of 'Financial Institutions and Government,' Centurion Bank of Punjab.

In the ultimate analysis, both Mr Channi and Mr Vig see themselves fulfilling the vision of Mr Rana Talwar, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank, who wants to see the Centurion Bank of Punjab as the ''most respected and trusted financial institution.'' UNI GS SS RL RK1419

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