Your friendly postman has just turned banker. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the payments bank of the postal department that would allow postmen to offer financial services at the doorstep of every citizen, particularly in remote areas.
The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) seeks to leverage the vast network of post offices in every nook and corner of the country and the services of almost three lakh postmen and ‘Grameen Dak Sevaks’ to provide limited banking services at the doorstep.
The IPPB will start operations with 650 branches with the government planning to link 1.55 lakh post offices to the bank network by December 31. It would offer basic bank account services such as money transfers and bill payments.
The bank will accept deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh and offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third-party fund transfers. However, IPPB cannot advance loans or issue credit cards.
“Using this initiative, we will take the bank to villages and to the poor,” Modi said at the launch event in New Delhi’s Talkatora Indoor Stadium. The event was attended by hundreds of postal service employees who sat dressed in their khaki uniforms.
Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said IPPB will be available through 650 branches and 3,250 access points. Deposits in any account that exceed Rs 1 lakh will be automatically converted into post office savings account, he said.
The government owns 100% stake in IPPB, which has been set up under the aegis of the Department of Posts, and will offer products and services through multiple channels such as counter services, micro ATMs, mobile banking app, messages and interactive voice response.
IPPB will leverage tech platforms. It will use Aadhaar to open accounts, while a QR card and biometrics will drive authentication, transactions, and payments. Grameen Dak Sewaks will be armed with smartphones and biometric devices to handle transactions.
It will offer 4% interest rate on savings accounts. IPPB has teamed up with financial services providers like PNB and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance for third-party products like loans and insurance.