SBI to open 1,000 semi urban, rural area branches

State Bank of India (SBI), India’s leading lending institution, plans to open 1,000 branches in rural and semi-urban areas of the country during the 2010-11 financial year.

“During this financial year, till now we have opened about 600 branches in rural and semi-urban areas, and next (financial) year we are planning to open 1,000 branches in these areas,” SBI chief general manager for rural business Jayanta K. Sinha told reporters here on the sidelines of an event.

“We aim at expanding our reach to masses in rural India,” he said.

At present, the bank has more than 8,000 rural branches.

Asked what was the status of non-performing assets (NPAs) for the bank’s rural business, he said: “Before the government launched the debt-waiver scheme, we used to face problems of having big numbers of NPAs. But now, the things have improved and there has been a drastic decline in the number of NPAs for rural business.”

However, Mr. Sinha declined to provide any specific numbers. “Now, it (the NPA level) is same as for any other business,” he said.

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