Sunday, March 09, 2008

SBI joins Chinese bank to touch 10,000 branches

Public sector State Bank of India on Sunday became only the second bank in the world to have 10,000 branches when Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram inaugurated its latest branch here.

Speaking on the occasion, Chidambaram said China's ICBC Bank was the other bank to have 10,000 branches.

Opening 10,000 branches was a great feat. "It is not an easy milestone though the SBI was the bank of the government and Indian people even before other banks were nationalised," he said.

People all over the world, including the Chinese, would now know about this small village where the 10000th branch of the SBI had been opened, he said adding they would be amazed by the bank's growth.

The bank should be proud of the achievement he said and wished that the bank opened one lakh branches.

"Chairman of the 202-year old bank Omprakash Bhatt was indeed a more powerful man than me because he handled Rs nine lakh crore (business) whereas my budget is only for Rs eight lakh crore," he said.

The Minister said out of the over 100 crore people, seventy 75 per cent did not have any type of insurance. Similarly, 50 per cent of the 11 crore farmers did not have bank account. Banks should go to the people and enroll them as account holders. 'That is what economists say is financial inclusion,' he said.