Money & Banking

A regional rural bank’s gram sabha listens, counsels and creates awareness

A.J. Vinayak Talapady (Mangalore) | Updated on November 16, 2017 Published on June 25, 2012




As you travel from Mangalore to Kerala on NH no. 66, Talapady is the last village on the Karnataka side.

Two-and-half years ago, Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) set up a branch here.

On Monday, this village was one among the 1,000 villages selected by the bank to conduct a ‘gram sabha’ (people-contact programme).

The Dharwad-headquartered bank conducted this programme at more than 500 of its branches in nine districts. The aim was to reach more people, create awareness about various government schemes, and listen to criticisms and suggestions from the customers. The Regional Manager of KVGB, Mr Narayan Yaji, and the Branch Manager, Mr Pradeep Karkera, said that their branch had crossed Rs 11-crore business mark, two-and-half years since its opening.

The village also has a branch of a public sector bank, a primary agricultural credit society, and a private gold loan lender.

Business

A majority of KVGB’s business came from gold loans, MSME, housing and agriculture loans.

There were solar lights on display at the ‘gram sabha’ venue with around 100 villagers in attendance. Mr Karkera said that the branch has disbursed loans for nearly 100 solar lights and water heaters. The branch had overtaken the private operator in gold loan lending — just through good service, its officials say.

Mr Yaji urged the villagers to explore the potential in animal husbandry.

When the villagers were asked to air their grievances, they poured out. But all the complaints were related to the services of the public sector bank branch in the village.

Mr Jayarama Shetty, a villager, said that the public sector bank makes customers wait for hours.

However, the two-member branch of KVGB provides the service in minutes, he said.

Mr Rasheed, another villager, said that when he and his friends wanted to open no-frill accounts to get money under the rural employment guarantee scheme, the public sector bank branch did not show interest. It was KVGB that came forward, and he and his friends were able to save some money in that account.

One platform

Mr Sambashiva Reddy, Chairman of KVGB, said that the main objective of holding ‘gram sabhas’ is to bring villagers under one platform to discuss schemes, disburse loans, and listen to their suggestions and complaints.

“It is just like having discussions in our families, as we treat our customers as our family members,” he said.

> vinayakaj@thehindu.co.in

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Published on June 25, 2012
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