HDFC Bank is targeting to double its semi-urban and rural (SURU) business in the next three to four years, a senior official said on Thursday.
The country’s largest private sector lender, however, did not share the current size of the SURU business, both on the assets and deposits front.
The bank said that already 52 per cent of its total 7,821 branches are in Suru locations, and it will add an additional 675 branches to take the total Suru branches to close to 5,000 in the next 12-14 months.
Its country head for retail branch banking Arvind Vohra told reporters that the SURU locations support more than 70 per cent of the population, and the bank feels this presents a huge business opportunity.
Vohra said the bank will enhance its business in SURU locations by expanding the reach and introducing strong product propositions in the market, which are designed keeping in mind the needs of the local population.
Vohra said the bank is also examining the possibility of adopting different loan underwriting norms for SURU locations without compromising on its core principles of maintaining asset quality.
He added that in FY23, the deposit base in SURU locations grew by 8 per cent for the overall banking industry, while HDFC Bank was able to increase it by 25 per cent.
The bank has launched a dedicated premium banking offering targeted at SURU locations, hoping to tap the opportunities offered by the relatively affluent sections in such areas.
Vohra said that traditionally, farmers are thought of when discussing rural areas, but there are other pockets in such areas that offer good business opportunities.
He specifically mentioned constituents like teachers, salaried employees, traders and other micro enterprises as areas of interest for the bank.
Customers in SURU areas are already part of various preferred banking programs of the bank, he said, adding that the latest program has been named ‘Special’ to differentiate.
However, he declined to share the number of customers who are already part of other preferred banking programs, or details of the overall universe of customers who qualify for the ‘special’ under its ambit.
He added that the bank is targeting to acquire 1 lakh customers in the next 12 months on the new initiative. Vohra said the initiative would also help the bank meet its priority sector lending (PSL) requirements.
The bank has clubbed the new initiative with a dedicated personal banker, 50 per cent discount on gold loan processing fee, daily hospital cash benefits, annual preventive health check-up up to Rs 3,000, unlimited health consultations and agritech services to name a few. Soil testing and agriculture advisory, according to an official statement.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)