SHILLONG, Nov 30 � With a vast rural population remaining out of the banking network, the State Bank of India on Monday launched the �Bank on Wheels,� which would visit 39 unbaked villages in Meghalaya and extend its banking services.
The SBI has collaborated with the Meghalaya Rural Development Society (MRDS), which would help �motivate� the villagers to open accounts and thus bring them under the banking network.
The �Bank on Wheels� is a van which would be manned by SBI and MRDS bank officials and they would move to villages and help open accounts and also make them financially literate. SBI has already launched 80 odd such vans, which move to remote villages of the country.
�The van would cover five to six villages in a week and we hope to cover all the 39 unbaked villages in Meghalaya soon,� A Krishna Kumar, Managing Director of SBI, Mumbai said while launching the mobile banks.
He said villagers would be allowed to open an account without problems. �These would be no frills accounts and we would only ask for a certificate from the village headman for identification of a prospective account holder,� he added.
Kumar, who also donated a bus to a charitable organisation, said that as of now roughly 50 per cent of India�s population do not come under the banking network. �We are trying to create financial literacy and awareness about banking habits among the rural masses,� he stated.
In Meghalaya, the SBI has been asked to create banking facilities in 662 unbanked villages by March 2012 and so far it has managed to cover 496 villages and the remaining would be covered through these new initiatives like the Bank on Wheels.
He added that the bank would also help in extending loans to the villagers with the help of the MRDS and do away with unscrupulous money lenders. �We have tied up with the MRDS so that they would be able to help the bank in all matters,� he added.
Meanwhile, Kumar said that any complaint with regards to the service of the SBI can be brought up directly with the bank authorities by typing �unhappy� and SMSing to 8008202020 and the customer care would try addressing the grievance.