Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the bank, Kerala’s first private sector bank since Independence, at a colourful function in Thrissur on Friday March 17,2017
It also witnessed the launch of the bank’s ATM-cum-debit cards, official website and digital banking channels.
Promoted by ESAF Microfinance and Investments, the bank proposes to open 85 branches in the first year.
Approval from the Reserve Bank of India has been obtained with respect to 15 of these on the inaugural day itself.
All will be full-fledged retail branches and will start functioning from next week at major centers like Edapally, Palakkad, Pala, Thiruvalla, Kattapana, Perinthalmanna and Kozhikode.
As per the RBI guidelines, the bank is required to open 25 per cent of its branches in unbanked rural centers. In Kerala, it will open not less than 10 branches in such places.
It is also planning to open branches in the metropolitan cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad in the first year.
“ESAF Microfinance has a network of 285 branches in 93 districts spread over 11 states. They will be converted into customer service centers or ultra-small branches or satellite offices,” said K. Paul Thomas, Managing Director and CEO, ESAF Small Finance Bank.
ESAF Microfinance owes its success to the doorstep delivery of services, which will be replicated in the case of the bank as well.
“We are planning to appoint 10,000 agents for providing the banking services at doorsteps. The agents will provide services such as account opening, banking transactions and small value loans,” said Paul Thomas
With owned fund of over Rs. 300 crore, ESAF has recently raised another Rs. 330 crore through the issue of commercial papers. The bank is targeting a business of Rs. 20,000 crores by 2020.
R Prabha, former chairman, Kerala Grameen Bank, is the Chairman of ESAF Small Finance Bank.
The bank will launch a new social deposit scheme, 'Hridaya Deposits,' for HNI and NRI customers.
“It will enable them to contribute to the overall development of the underdeveloped segments in the society,” Paul Thomas said.
The newly launched ESAF Small Finance Bank will offer between 5.75 per cent and 9 per cent for term deposits of varying maturities.
For savings deposits, the rates vary from 6 per cent to 7 per cent, based on the outstanding balance in the account.
Senior citizens will be entitled to an additional .05 per cent for term deposits