MUMBAI, SEPT 07, 2022
Announcing a partnership with branchless banking network PayNearby, a senior executive of Axis Bank said on Wednesday that such tie-ups would aid the private lender in achieving priority sector lending aims.
“The priority sector targets that we have in our own business, if we have a shortfall, we have to build up through PSLCs (priority sector lending certificate) or something else. It is ensuring that we meet the requirements of the bank,” said Munish Sharda, group executive and Head of Bharat Banking.
Axis Bank aims to meet its priority sector lending targets in an organic manner, taking advantage of the PayNearby’s distribution-as-service network of 50 lakh micro businesses.
The tie-up will be used to set up current and savings accounts for both retail and individual customers in remote areas.
“We are looking at the penetration in these markets, then the loan growth rates that we are getting and then the cost at which we are acquiring,” Sharda said.
Axis Bank’s portfolio of rural loans was at Rs 58,800 crore at the end of the first quarter of the current financial year, registering a rise of 4 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
Out of Axis Bank’s network of 4,759 branches, 2100 are classified as Bharat Bank branches and the lender’s focus is to grow at a faster clip than the rest of the market and the rest of the branch network in the industry, Sharda said.
“It’s one of the top three priorities for the bank and Bharat Bank is one key initiative that the bank is pursuing. It has to become significant and profitable for the bank in the medium to long term. There are some strategic purposes which we are doing this,” he said.
“We think we have an opportunity to get a higher share by a reasonably focused approach in these markets,” he said.
Speaking on the collaboration, Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO, PayNearby, said, “For India to become financially and digitally empowered at the last mile, it is important that the local retailers are given the necessary tools for their growth. PayNearby, as an entity, is keen on improving and enriching the professional and personal lives of its retail partners. With this simplified current account option with India’s leading bank, Axis Bank, we are giving our partners better control over their money. We thank Axis Bank for making this process so easy and hassle free, and for introducing biometric based e-KYC enabled account opening, in our network. This will go a long way in allowing our retailers to maintain healthy financial practices and thrive.
With the savings account offering, we hope to partner with Axis Bank and re-bank India, so that every household in the country is able to operate an active bank account. Axis Bank’s brand credibility and operational best practices will ensure the process is simple, secure and easy to use, and combined with the local trust of the network, it will accelerate the adoption across the country. We hope to get Bharat to the formal financial fold at an accelerated pace and inculcate a savings behavior among the masses.”
“With this partnership, we continue to empower our retailers and customers while improving thereach of Axis Bank inthe remote hinterlands of the country. We will continue to bring innovative services to ensure that our retail partners and customers progress in life. PayNearby, ZiddAageBadhne Ki!” he added.
The local SMEs partnering with PayNearby will now be able to avail Axis Bank services with ease and can also upgrade their business transactions in an efficient way. Bringing this service to a nearby retail store will increase the uptake of Axis Bank’s current account at the last mile. In a diversified geography like India, where the cost of acquisition and servicing often becomes unviable in remote geographies, this model will benefit from PayNearby’s existing infrastructure, local trust and its high-end technology to make banking available for all.