Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: State Bank of India has achieved its target of covering one lakh un-banked villages ahead of the March 2010 deadline, with the opening of a customer service point at Sannyasidanga village near Jangipur in West Bengal on January 31.

It was inaugurated by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

It also coincided with the opening of a rural ATM at Barala village, 2 km away, and a branch at Jangipur town. SBI has now decided to cover at least one lakh more villages out of the over five lakh unbanked villages in India.

There are about 6.5 lakh villages, of which the majority do not have access to banking services. In April 2008, SBI Chairman O. P. Bhatt set a challenging task of covering one lakh unbanked villages by March 2010 by providing basic banking facilities to its population.