HDFC Bank on Thursday launched its retail banking programme ‘Vishesh’ for customers in semi-urban and rural geographies wherein it plans to onboard around 1 lakh new customers.

As a part of this, the bank plans to add more branches and launch customised, tailor-made products and financial solutions for this market segment.

HDFC Bank will look to add 675 branches in semi urban and rural geographies in FY24 to take the total number to nearly 5,000. As of March 31, 52 per cent of the bank’s 7,821 branches are in rural and semi urban locations.

“This is not a product platform. What we are looking at is 4-5 important segments — farmers, merchants, micro enterprises, government salaried people. We have to understand their different needs,” said Arvind Vohra, Group Head-Retail Branch Banking.

Given the limited reach of HDFC in tier-II and tier-III towns, Vohra also expects the merger of parent HDFC to unlock more opportunities in this market segment owing to the wide branch network that the bank now has which makes it easier to cater to customers.

“With the bank presence now being so wide, giving one more product or proposition is very cost efficient,” Vohra told businessline, adding that it will reduce turnaround time by helping avoid duplication of processes like underwriting and loan processing while also allowing cross selling or products and services.

HDFC Bank already has a ‘Classic’ programme for HNI or top layer of customers where it has customer base of 9 lakh, of which 3 lakh are in semi urban and rural locations. These customers are now being hived off under the ‘Vishesh’ programme to increase focus on and grow this market segment, the bank said.

Features of the programme include a dedicated personal banker; facility extendable to 8 family members; up to 50 per cent discount on processing fees in gold loan and 50 per cent waiver on valuation (once a year); and up to 50 per cent off on processing fees on construction equipment, tractors, personal, business, auto and two-wheeler loans.

It also offers daily Hospicash benefits (up to 5 days), annual preventive health check-up up to Rs 3,000; one annual complimentary and cashless health check-up; unlimited Tele Health consultation, and a host of agritech services such as soil testing, agri advisory, drone spraying, and agri machinery rental through partnerships.

Under the programme, the private sector lender has put in place a unique customer engagement model, felicitating rural seniors such as sarpanches, teachers, and key officials as they play a key role in the growth and progress of villages.