About 300 have been appointed by public sector banks in Madurai

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will train Banking Correspondents (BCs) appointed by public sector banks to provide banking services at the doorstep of customers in remote areas.

Public sector banks had appointed about 300 BCs in various villages of Madurai district under the Total Financial Inclusion scheme, R. Shankar Narayan, NABARD Assistant General Manager, told The Hindu here on Monday. In Madurai district, exercises for identifying district-level trainers had been initiated in consultation with the Lead Bank and other banks. The BCs had been provided with hand-held devices, linked to the bank's central system, using which the customer could have access to his bank account by swiping a biometric-enabled Smart Card.

Lead District Manager K.N. Subramanian said that BCs had been appointed in 151 villages with a population of more than 2,000 in Madurai district. Banks had been told recently to appoint BCs in another 167 villages with a population of 1,000 to 2,000 before the end of current financial year.

Call centres

Call centres and helplines would be established by the NABARD to assist BCs with their work and also for attending to customers' queries. Feedback received at call centres would be used to revise the training material. As part of the process, in the first stage, State-level Master Trainers had been identified by the NABARD, and they were being trained by the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIBF), Mumbai.

The State-level trainers would, in turn, train district-level trainers, who will eventually train the BCs. Efforts were on to identify suitable training institutes at the district level. The trainers would be drawn from among serving or retired bank personnel.

The NABARD and IIBF would soon come out with course material in the local language.

The training for the BCs was proposed to be held at the district-level in three phases, with the first phase earmarked for orientation training, the second phase devoted to basic refresher course, and the third phase will be an advanced module. At the end of each phase, the BCs must take an online examination conducted by the IIBF.