KHAMMAM: Punjab National Bank on Tuesday opened its 69th branch in the AP Circle at Khammam. Inaugurating the branch, district Collector Shashibhushan Kumar called for steps to meet the credit needs of the peasant community in a big way.

K.K. Aravindakshan, Deputy General Manager of the bank, said the thrust was on expansion of agriculture credit in a big way in rural and semi urban areas. Equal importance was attached to SHG lending. The bank was participating in the smart card project of the State government for paying social security pensions and NREGP wages.

He said that the bank was getting ready to issue some 40,000 smart cards. With a net profit of 46.75 crores, the AP Circle of the bank could register a growth of 42.44 per cent.