Canara Bank has embarked on a massive overseas branch expansion spree. This is besides its domestic expansion plans of increasing its number of branches and ATMs from the present level of over 5000 and 6500 to 6000 and 10,000, respectively, by the end of March 2015. The bank intends opening 8 overseas branches, taking its total overseas presence to 15 by the end of this fiscal. The bank is awaiting RBI’s nod for expansion in 11 more international centers. R.K. Dubey, CMD of the bank, speaks about the bank’s plans for ultra small branches, NPAs and e-shopping initiatives:
V. Raghuraman: Canara bank has some 4800 branches and over 6300 ATMs across India. Which states will you be focusing on for your expansion? What is your presence in the North East and what are the plans for those states?
R.K. Dubey: We have embarked upon a major branch and ATM expansion drive. During the last fiscal year (2013-14), we opened 1027 branches and 2786 ATMs across the country, one of the highest in the industry. We are opening branches in those states where bank has less presence and states having low financial inclusion index. Presently, we have over 5000 branches and 6500 ATMs throughout the country and by end March 2015; its aim is to increase the number of branches and ATMs to 6000 and 10,000, respectively.
The industry is not showing any major growth in transactions per ATM. Is this a cause of worry? Will it impact your ATM expansion plans?
No. The average hit per ATM is affected due to large scale opening of ATMs in the banking industry. We are aiming at opening 1250 branches during the current fiscal along with onsite ATMs. To increase ATM hits, we increased debit card base and several features were enabled in the ATMs. We are encouraging our customers for optimum utilization of services enabled at the ATMs. Notably, our percentage of e-transactions increased from 26% to 44% in March 2014. Driving the objective of financial inclusion, we opened 1900 ATMs in rural and semiurban areas in the last financial year.