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RBI-RRBs - Frontloading of branches in unbanked rural areas
August, 10th 2013


August 7, 2013

The Chairman
All Regional Rural Banks

Dear Sir,

Frontloading of branches in unbanked rural areas

Please refer to paragraph 96 of Monetary Policy Statement 2013-14 (extract enclosed) on the above subject. As stated therein, branch expansion in rural areas is essential to address the existing asymmetries in achieving financial inclusion.

2. With the objective of increasing banking penetration and financial inclusion rapidly banks were advised in terms of our circular RPCD.CO.RRB.BC. No.43/03.05.90/2012-13 dated November 6, 2012, they should allocate at least 25 per cent of total number of branches proposed to be opened during the year in unbanked rural (Tier 5 and Tier 6) centres. An unbanked rural centre would mean a rural (Tier 5 and Tier 6) centre that does not have a brick and mortar structure of any scheduled commercial bank for customer based banking transactions.

3. In order to take financial inclusion to the next stage of providing universal coverage and facilitating Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), banks have been advised to draw up the next Financial Inclusion Plan (FIP) for the period 2013-16. To facilitate speedier branch expansion in unbanked rural centres for ensuring seamless roll out of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)/EBT Scheme of the Government of India, banks are advised that they may consider front-loading (prioritising) the opening of branches in unbanked rural centres over a 3 year cycle co-terminus with their FIP(2013-16). The requirement of allocating at least 25 per cent of total number of branches proposed to be opened during a year in unbanked rural (Tier 5 and Tier 6) centres will continue. Credit will be given for branches opened in unbanked rural centres in excess of 25 per cent in a year which will be carried forward to the subsequent year of the FIP.

4. Please acknowledge receipt to our Regional Office concerned.

Yours faithfully,

Principal Chief General Manager

Encl: As above

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