Staff Correspondent

Raichur: The Pragathi Gramin Bank (PGB), a subsidiary of Canara Bank, has achieved first place in the State in rural banking service.

It made a net profit of Rs. 35.98 crore with a transaction of Rs. 6,208 crore during 2008-09 and its transaction is poised to cross Rs. 7,400 crore during the current financial year.

Disclosing this to presspersons here on Saturday, M.N. Manoharan, Regional Manager of the bank, said that the bank, which had eight branches in the State, was mainly focusing on development of rural economy by extending assistance for agriculture and other allied activities. Mr. Manoharan said that it had been proposed to introduce core banking facility in all the bank branches to improve customer service through ATM counters in rural areas. The PGB had entered into the life insurance sector in coordination with the Canara Bank and proposed to establish its currency chest at its Chitradurga branch, he said.

He said that the bank management was taking steps to improve infrastructure and fill vacant posts in some branches. It had reserved about 90 per cent of funds to extend loans for the priority sector as against 60 per cent fixed by the Reserve Bank of India.

Mr. Manoharan said that the bank had been playing a major role in effective implementation of the crop loan waiver scheme announced by the Union Government. He said that the bank had taken up programmes to create awareness among rural people about opening bank accounts. So far, the bank had opened 7.54 lakh “zero balance” accounts.

Apart from extending crop loans to farmers, the bank was also extending assistance to self-help groups, stree-shakti groups and rural artisans mainly to improve their income generation and make them free from outside (private) debts.