Bandhan Bank may begin operations by early 2015

Bandhan Bank may begin operations by early 2015

"We have a two-pronged strategy to reach customers in both urban and rural areas," SAID Bandhan CMD Chandra Shekhar Ghosh.

Microlender Bandhan Financial Services plans to launch its full-fledged bank by early 2015 with 600 branches, its technology partner Fidelity Information Services (FIS) said on Thursday.

"The proposed Bandhan Bank plans to begin operations in early 2015 with about 600 branches and about 10 million customers," global banking and payments technology solutions provider FIS said in a statement, adding that Bandhan has outsourced all technology operations for its banking operation to FIS.

FIS would provide a fully integrated banking and payments solution platform to allow Bandhan to offer services to the underprivileged people in the rural areas and also for those residing in the urban areas, it said in a statement.

Kolkata-based Bandhan microfinance institution Bandhan and city-based infrastructure lender Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) were among the two dozen entities awarded "in-principle" permissions to start full fledged banks by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in in April.

They have 18 months time to comply with mandatory requirements, and the licence is valid for that time.

The RBI said that the objective giving newer players banking licenses is to deepen the process of financial inclusion because only 35 per cent of Indians over the age of 15 years have bank accounts at present.

"We have a two-pronged strategy to reach customers in both urban and rural areas," Bandhan Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, who has also been quoted in the statement, said.

He added it needed an infotech partner to provide "scalable, agile and cost-effective platforms" to reach its target group quickly and efficiently.

The statement said FIS would provide and manage a fully integrated banking and payments platform in the outsourced delivery model, encompassing core banking, channel solutions, treasury, trade finance and payments services that include switching, debit card management and interbank network connectivity.

The statement said that Bandhan, which was started in 2001 and has more than $1 billion in assets serving 5.8 million customers across 22 states, is the one of the biggest microlenders in the country.

The proposed Bandhan Bank plans to "continue microlending but is also expected to offer differentiated banking products to untapped market segments in vast rural and unbanked areas," the statement said.

For the needs of affluent clients, Bandhan would offer premium services in urban and metro areas with "new services experiences," the statement said.