FM pats nationalised banks; calls for innovation

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Bangalore, Mar 24: Lauding the nationalised banks for responding ''admirably'' to the liberalised economy, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram today (Mar 24, 2006) urged them to embrace new technologies and banking instruments to emerge as financial malls of the future.

''Gone are the days of traditional banking,'' he said, urging them to rise to the growing needs of the new economy and come out with new financial instruments.

On the performance review of nationalised banks in New Delhi yesterday, the Minister said that over the last two years, the banks had performed admirably. ''I am very happy that banks have responded splendidly to the Government's policy suggestions,'' he added.

Mr Chidambaram was speaking after inaugurating SyndBank Services Limited, the first BPO subsdiary of nationalised banks, floated by Syndicate bank and also the 525th centralised banking services branch of Syndicate Bank.

He said Chairmen of various banks have agreed to introduce seven per cent interest on farm loans upto a maximum limit of Rs three lakh. The loan would be available to all sectors of agriculture, including value-added crops, and all sections of farmers.

Agriculture credit would significantly surpass the target of Rs 1,42,000 crore set for the year. The number of education loans extended during the first nine months of 2005-06 had crossed 1,76,000 and that of self help groups covered had crossed 3,25,000 by February-end.

''The goal is to ensure that more people are able to avail banking services,'' he said, adding that the inclusion committee he had proposed in the budget would submit its report in a few months.

UNI

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