Mumbai: In a major step toward bringing about financial inclusion of the unbanked sections of the society, the Reserve Bank today allowed commercial banks to open mobile branches without its approval in areas with less than 50,000 population.
It has been decided to further liberalise the branch authorisation policy and grant general permission to domestic scheduled commercial banks (other than RRBs) to operationalise mobile branches in tier 3 to tier 6 centres (with population up to 49,999 as per Census 2001) subject to reporting," the central bank said in a notification.
The move will help in taking banking services to unbanked areas and help promote financial inclusion.
The mobile branch scheme envisages extension of banking facilities through a well protected van with arrangements for two or three officials of the bank sitting in it with books, safe containing cash etc, it said.
The mobile branch would visit the places proposed to be served by it on specific days. However, it should not visit the villages or centres which are served by co-operative banks and places served by regular branch of commercial banks, the central bank said.
It should be stationed in each location for a reasonable time on specified days and specified hours, so that its services could be utilised properly by customers, the notification said, adding the business transacted at the mobile branch shall be recorded in the books of the base branch or data centre.
Further, it has been decided to grant general permission to scheduled commercial banks (other than RRBs) to operate mobile ATMs at places identified by them, without prior permission from the Reserve Bank, it said.