The State Bank of India plans to add 1,200 branches this fiscal, its Managing Director and Group Executive (National Banking), A. Krishna Kumar, said. The bank had added 645 branches in fiscal 2011-12. The last fiscal was a period of consolidation after the bank had added about 1,000 branches during the preceding three fiscal years.
SBI has a network of 14,127 branches (as at the end of the June 2012).
Its dominance in the physical space is evident from some comparative numbers. Its nearest public sector competitor, Punjab National bank has 5,697 branches while its nearest private sector competitor ICICI Bank has around 2,755 branches.
Two-thirds of SBI’s network or 9,400 branches are in rural and semi-urban areas. The RBI mandates that at least one in four new branches should be in an un-banked rural area. The existing branch structure allows them considerable cushion to expand in urban and metro areas.
New branches of SBI will come up predominantly in the urban/metro areas. The bank is enhancing its presence to a level commensurate with its market share in these areas. Krishna Kumar said, “We are roughly looking at around 700 branches in the urban/metro areas, 300 in un-banked areas, and the remaining in whichever areas we wish to expand our presence in.”
Most branches tend to breakeven within 18 months of their opening, according to SBI.