The Reserve Bank of India has directed banks to consider establishing branches in all villages with population of over 2,000 before March 31, 2011.

Of the total 239 villages meeting the criteria in Madurai district, 159 are found to lack branches and are served by those in vicinity, according to N. Mathivanan, District Collector. He was addressing the District Level Review Committee meeting of bankers convened here on Friday by Lead Bank for Madurai, Canara Bank.

Mr. Mathivanan said that these efforts were directed to ensure that financial and banking services reached the masses through business facilitators/correspondents. He called upon the bankers to prepare a ‘plan of action’ before the next meeting in October outlining the strategy to achieve this objective. This would be coordinated with the Lead District Manager K.N. Subramanian.

Reviewing the performance of the banks in last quarter, S. Selvaraj, Assistant General Manager, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said that most of the banking indicators were satisfactory and that targets set under annual credit plan were being achieved.

However, he expressed concern that advances under differential rate of interest scheme was very low and also pointed out that sanctions given under Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) were on the lesser side.

R. Shankar Narayan, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), said that Rs. 260.58 crore had been disbursed in crop loans of the total annual target of Rs. 890 crore.

While almost half the financial year had elapsed, only 29 per cent of the target had been achieved, he said, adding that it was 32 per cent in term loans. He called upon bankers to step up their activities in the remaining two quarters besides focussing on crop insurance, which was mandatory.

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