The Business Correspondent of SBI sounds more like a newspaper than a mobile banking service, but mobile banking is exactly what this new entity, a joint venture between the SBI and airtel, does. The newly formed entity aims to harness the strengths of the State Bank of India, along with the reach of airtel’s mobile telephony, to add value to the banking and financial services sector.
Speaking on the occasion, SBI Chairman OP Bhatt said, “State Bank of India has always been on the forefront of financial inclusion initiatives, and more than 67 per cent of its network is in rural and semi-urban areas. In the last four years, the Bank has set up more than 15,000 Customer Service Points of Business Correspondents as well as 13,000 Business Facilitators to increase its outreach. The Bank has already reached out to more than 1 lakh unbanked villages.”
Speaking about the new joint venture, he said, “The innovation in mobile telephone will enable the Bank to fulfil its mandate of reaching out to every Indian using airtel’s extensive network to bring banking services in a cost effective and secure manner. This will make banking more inclusive, and carry forward State Bank’s vision of being the banker to every Indian.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti airtel, said, “This historic collaboration between SBI and airtel brings together two sectors that have made the most impact in addressing inclusive growth. The services offered by the JV will enable financial inclusion and economic empowerment for people across India. This will be a complete game changer, leveraging SBI’s expertise in the banking sector, along with airtel’s 150-million strong customer base and ecosystem of over 1.5 million retailers and distributors across India. Together, we will create a scalable operation that will address the banking requirements of millions of Indians through the mobile platform.”