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Report of the Internal Working Group (IWG) on Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy- (Reserve Bank of India) (06 Oct 2016)



The Reserve Bank of India placed on its website, the Report of the Internal Working Group (IWG) on Rationalisation of Branch Authorisation Policy (Chair: Smt. Lily Vadera, Chief General Manager, Department of Banking Regulation). The thrust of the recommendations is to facilitate financial inclusion by ensuring availability of banking services in all centers through low cost delivery channels and mapping the footprints of various banking channels. The Group has recommended a two-phased approach.

In the first phase, the recommendations focus on broadening of the current framework to include all 'banking outlets' which are fixed point locations and bring them on par with branches. In the second phase, a new data system may be devised which is capable of capturing the locations and transactions carried out by all 'banking outlets' including mobile BCs and non-fixed locations and services rendered through the 'hub and spoke' models which will aid in capturing the degree and level of financial inclusion and will be useful for future policy reviews. The data needs to be GIS mapped to enable getting a complete picture of banked and unbanked centres on the country's map at all times.

The opening of new branches and shifting of existing branches of banks is governed by the provisions of Section 23 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. In the light of the rapid developments in technology and associated digital and telecom revolution, banks are looking at alternative approaches to enlarge their footprints and reach out to the unbanked and underserved centres in remote areas in a cost effective manner. With a view to facilitating financial inclusion and providing operational flexibility on the choice of delivery channel, it was considered necessary to redefine branches and permissible methods of outreach keeping in mind the various attributes of the banks and the types of services that are sought to be provided. An announcement to this effect was made in the first Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2016-17 on April 5, 2016 and accordingly an Internal Working group was constituted for the purpose.


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