Staff Reporter

IOB seeks to be different The proposal was to extend loans to three or four activities pertaining to agriculture and allied fields, in the cottage and village industries and in handicrafts.

CHENNAI: Indian Overseas Bank has joined the fast expanding list of banks offering no frills account, but in doing so, for the rural populace, it seeks to be different by facilitating doorstep banking at the village and designing tailor-made credit schemes.

The no frills account, also available to customers in semi-urban areas, could be opened with an initial balance of Rs.5 and is to be promoted and serviced through mobile vans. Specially designed and custom-made vans equipped with computers and audio-visual gadgets would be sent to the villages identified as un-banked or under-banked.

Announcing that the no frills account that could be operated with a minimum balance of Rs. 5 was launched recently, IOB chairman and managing T.S. Narayanaswami told presspersons here on Friday that the bank would launch shortly specially designed credit products for such rural customers. The proposal was to extend loans to three or four activities pertaining to agriculture and allied fields, in the cottage and village industries and in the area of handicrafts.

The idea, he added, was not to merely make the rural people open the account but to provide them with financial assistance to pursue gainful employment and encourage in them the concept of saving.

The deposit in the account would be paid interest as applicable to the SB accounts, which is 3.5 per cent now. However, cheque facility would not be available for the no frills account.

IOB, Mr. Narayanaswami said, was in the process of identifying the villages where the accounts would be offered through its Rural Training Centres in Karaikudi, Tirunelveli and Thanjavur.

The deputy general manager of the bank, S. Elangovan, said a mobile van would be used to cover 18 villages in Sivaganga, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram, while two more such vehicles for other districts were getting ready.

Apart from promoting the various savings and credit schemes of the bank, the mobile vans would enrol villagers interested in participating in the training programmes offered by the Rural Training Centres.

Listing the relief measures undertaken by the bank for those affected by the recent flood, IOB general manager P.K. Tripathy said the interest rate on agricultural jewel loan upto Rs.50,000 would be 0.50 per cent lower for short term crops.

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