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HDFC Bank to double rural reach to 2 lakh villages in 2 years

Private lender HDFC Bank aims to cover a third of India’s villages, by expanding its reach to two lakh villages in the next 18-24 months. Currently the bank covers 1 lakh villages. The bank plans this expansion through a combination of branch network, business correspondents, business facilitators, and digital outreach platforms.

“India’s rural and semi-urban markets are under-served in credit extension,” said Rahul Shukla, Group Head – Commercial and Rural Banking, HDFC Bank. “They present sustainable long-term growth opportunities for the Indian banking system. Going forward we dream of making ourselves accessible in every pin code.”

As a part of this plan HDFC Bank plans to hire 2,500 people in the next 6 months. At present, the private lender offers its products and services to micro and medium enterprises in over 550 districts. Its rural banking services extend to 1 lakh Indian villages, which it aims to double to 2 lakh.

“Our digital initiatives will play a big role in deepening our penetration in the remotest corners of India and help us extend credit to those who have remained financially excluded despite the progress of our nation,” Shukla added.

The bank already offers customised offerings such as pre- and post-harvest crop loans, two-wheeler and auto loans, loans against gold jewellery, and other curated loan products in unbanked and under-banked geographies. It will now offer its offerings keeping in mind the fast-changing rural ecosystem, it said.

“Government of India through a variety of schemes is transforming rural economics. We believe in following the direction, as a responsible leader in banking and financial services space, by making best-in-class banking products and services accessible to all sections of the society,” Shukla added.

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