RBI Issues New Bank Branch Expansion Norms

In a fresh set of guidelines released Thursday the central bank said that banks need to open atleast 25% of their banking outlets in a year in unbanked rural centres.

In a proposition to take banking services to the remote locations of the country, the Reserve Bank of India has permitted the opening of mini branches or banking outlets across the country for all domestic scheduled commercial banks except Regional Rural Banks without having to take permission from the regulator on a case by case basis.

“Banking outlet is a fixed point service delivery unit manned by either the bank staff or its business correspondents where services of acceptance of deposits encashment of cheques withdrawal or lending of money is provided,” said the RBI.

The RBI has clarified that ATM kiosks, cash depositing counters and mobile branches will not be treated as banking outlets. They have to be left open for atleast 4hours per day for 5 days in a week manned either by business correspondents or by bank officials. If the space is not kept open for the minimum hours mentioned it will be considered as a part time banking outlet

This set of regulations come as a breather for payment banks and small finance banks who are planning to take banking to rural India mostly through small physical business correspondent touch-points.

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