The banking-at-the-doorstep scheme called Smart Card Banking (SCB) of the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) was launched by the Nilgiris Collector, Archana Patnaik, here on Saturday.

Addressing the gathering, she regretted that the percentage of recovery was falling. Stating that it was causing concern, she urged beneficiaries to repay loans.

She said that the Reserve Bank of India has permitted IOB to adopt the Business Correspondent model to achieve the objectives of financial inclusion.

The Chairman and Managing Director, IOB, S.A. Bhat, said that the scheme will benefit villages and urban pockets where banking facilities are not available.

Pointing out that there are 2,000 villages in Tamil Nadu without banking facilities, he said that through a network of business correspondents it is proposed to bring residents of those villages under the ambit of banking by the end of March 2011. Listing the benefits, Mr. Bhat said that it would inter alia bring down the cash circulation.

Explaining the salient features of the scheme, the General Manager, S. Palanisamy, said that it involved the provision of banking services through a hand held device called Smart Card Terminal. The Smart card basically performed the functions of any debit or credit card.

The Chief Manager, Dharmalingam Venugopal, welcomed the gathering.

Later speaking to The Hindu Mr. Bhat said that among the reasons for reluctance of beneficiaries to repay loans was the expectation that at the time of elections they would be waived.

Stating that Tamil Nadu was among the states where such an attitude is prevalent, he said that though the situation is not alarming, “it is pinching us.”

It is proposed to open ten more branches and 1000 more ATMs.

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