India Post Payments Bank to open 3,250 mini branches, equip 200K postmen with smartphones

India Post Payments Bank

While India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has been delaying to kick-off its pan India presence for unknown reasons, it’s now planning to equip 200,000 postmen and gramin dak sewaks with smartphones to offer banking at customers doorstep in rural areas.

Leveraging smartphone, workforce and its deep penetration, IPPB is planning to open 3,250 customer access points (a kind of mini branches) across 650 districts by March this year. It’s slated to kick-off operations in March this year, according to a report by financial daily Mint.

The Payments Bank will use 155,000 technologically upgraded post office for bringing existing as well as the unbanked population in the country. Out of aforementioned tech-enabled post offices, 129,000 are in rural areas.

State-run banking entities will provide training to postmen and gramin dak sevaks to execute fundamental banking facilities including opening bank accounts and performing mobile-based transactions.

Currently, India Post has around 170 million savings bank accounts. Interestingly, IPPB competitor Paytm Payments Bank had migrated 170 million (17 crore) digital wallets to its banking arm in November last year. Paytm has started payments bank in May last year while Airtel Payments Bank commenced its operations in January 2017.

India Post Payments Bank is planning to employ 3,000 people to make its banking facilities operational across 3,250 customer access points. The Mint report mentions that half of the aforementioned workforce will be deputed from state-run banks and India Post.

India Post Payments Bank will offer a slew of banking services such as National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT), Real-time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and Immediate Payment Service (IMPS). Customers can also buy mutual funds, insurance products and pay utility bills using IPPB app.

So far, many commercial banks, insurance platforms, and asset management firms, including International Finance Corporation, Barclays, Citibank NA and several state-owned banks are in talks with IPPB for partnership. India Post Payments Bank aspires to cross 500 million account mark by 2020.

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