Among the private sector banks, Axis Bank had the largest ATM network in July, 2012, followed by HDFC Bank with 9709 ATMs and ICICI Bank 9366 ATMs. Except SBI, other banks have to go a long way before achieving the financial inclusion in the semi-urban and rural areas.
“The Finance Ministry is rightly very keen of achieving the financial inclusion of a large number of people in rural areas. This can best be achieved by leveraging of technology and use mobile telephony and ATMs. Somehow, the public sector banks will have to take a lead in these areas. Even their brick and mortar branch network is wider in the rural and semi-urban areas than the private sector banks,” said DS Rawat, General Secretary in a statement.
He said while a good beginning has been made, pooling of technology resources like the ATMs should be encouraged so that optimum use can be made to the advantage of the people. While the RBI has been expressing concerns over regulatory issues over the mobile banking, sooner or later different technology platforms have to be converged and the regulators need to equip themselves to deal with new challenges and opportunities, added Assocham.
A large number of Indians still remain outside the banking network. It is because of lack of the organized banking that the gullible people in semi urban and rural areas fall prey to unscrupulous money-lenders, observed the industry body.