The Union Bank of India (UBI) will soon open a branch in Kadamakudy panchayat, the only panchayat in Ernakulam district without a bank branch. The UBI is the district lead bank under the Lead Bank Scheme of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The branch will be opened in a few months, a top official of the bank has said.
The absence of a bank branch was reported by The Hindu five months ago, on the eve of Ernakulam being declared as the country’s first fully banked district, as part of the financial inclusion programme undertaken by the RBI.
RBI Governor D. Subbarao had made the declaration in November last year.
Kadamakudy is a cluster of islands which ails from inadequate road connectivity with the mainland. The islanders reach South Chittoor on the mainland by means of ferries, services of which are irregular. Banks have long ignored the islands due to low earnings of the population mainly engaged in agrarian activities.
The UBI had been operating an ultra small branch at Pizhala in Kadamakudy. A business correspondent operates there, as per the RBI scheme of conducting day-to-day banking operations through a financially literate person. While accounts can be operated through the special banking channel operated by the business correspondent, the absence of ATMs has been hampering speedy operations. Cheques deposited with the business correspondent would have to be deposited at a branch in the mainland which resulted in delay.