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Kerala gets first private bank

By Ians

Thrissur, March 17: ESAF Small Finance Bank, Kerala's first private sector bank, was launched here on Friday by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The bank, promoted by ESAF Microfinance and Investments (P) Ltd, has announced that in its first year it will open 85 branches.

Kerala gets first private bank

As per RBI guidelines, the bank is required to open 25 per cent of its branches in unbanked rural centres besides in cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad in the first year.

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"ESAF Microfinance, which presently has a network of 285 branches in 93 districts spread over 11 states, will currently convert all its existing branches into customer service centres or ultra-small branches or satellite offices," said K Paul Thomas, Managing Director and CEO, ESAF Small Finance Bank.

ESAF Microfinance, which owes its success to the doorstep delivery of services, will replicate the same model for the bank. "We are planning to appoint 10,000 agents for providing the banking services at doorsteps. The agents will provide services such as account opening, banking transactions and small value loans," added Thomas. The bank is targeting a business of Rs 20,000 crore by 2020.

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