Public sector banks (PSBs) plan to up their game in the competitive banking space by stepping up focus on women, youth and MSME customers; on-boarding TASCs (Trusts, Associations, autonomous bodies, Societies, Clubs) to mop up low-cost deposits; and introducing reward and motivation programmes for employees, among others.

These action points are part of the PSB EASE (Enhanced Access & Service Excellence) 7.0 agenda for FY25. EASE is a joint initiative of the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, and PSBs, under the aegis of the Indian Banks’ Association.

The initiative comes in the backdrop of PSBs’ share in total credit dropping to 58 per cent as of December-end 2023, from 63.7 per cent as of March-end 2020, according to a CARE Ratings report. Correspondingly, private sector banks’ share in total credit rose to 42 per cent as of December-end 2023, from 36.3 per cent as of March-end 2020.

The state-owned banks plan to broaden penetration of banking solutions for beneficiaries of women-focused government programmes, underthe EASE 7.0 agenda.

In the works is the launch of financial products for women – for example, women-oriented savings bank accounts and loan schemes in sectors dominated by women entrepreneurs.

As part of their outreach to women, these banks will accelerate the Self Help Group (SHG)/ Micro Finance lending portfolio, enable grade improvement of SHGs, and offer wider banking products to enterprising individual members.

Harnessing youth power

PSBs intend to drive customer acquisition, deepen relationships, and retention targeted at young customers across retail and MSME (micro, small and medium enterprise) banking. They will design products suited to young customers’ evolving needs (for example, credit cards with lifestyle benefits, salary accounts with varying benefits, etc).

The banks plan to come up with loan programmes for new business ventures (for example, start-up incubation loans cash-flow-based loans).


PSBs will strengthen new-to-bank MSME customer acquisition. They will also increase retention, deepen relationships and ‘win-back’ customers with product offerings that are suited to the evolving needs and business profile of MSMEs.

Also on the cards is an improvement in underwriting and deploying analytics-driven scorecards in MSME digital lending journeys for end-to-end automation and improved risk management.

CASA growth

In the backdrop of a decline in CASA (current account, savings account) across the banking system, PSBs plan to actively pursue new retail and TASC (Trusts, Associations, autonomous bodies, Societies, Clubs) CASA customers through customised offerings and digitised processes.

They will implement initiatives for growing and making CASA accounts ‘primary banking relationships’. The CASA ratio of banks has declined from 41.4 per cent of total deposits as of March 31, 2023, to 38.9 per cent as of December 31, 2023, according to CARE Ratings.

Agriculture: Lending beyond KCC

The banks plan to deepen linkages and partnerships with SHGs, joint liability groups, primary agriculture co-operatives, original equipment manufacturers (catering to the farm space), farmer producer organisations, tech and retail platforms.

PSBs will diversify the agri-lending portfolio beyond small-value KCC (Kisan Credit Card), with emphasis on allied agri, agri processing, agri infra, agri export, agri equipment, agri value chain related business portfolio. They will also design tailored products for segment-specific small-ticket lending for immediate financial needs.

Improving customer service

PSBs will design, implement and track reward and motivation programmes for customer friendly behaviour through creation of an employee rewards pool.

Further, they will ensure continuous availability, reliability, responsiveness, and performance of self-service channels such as ATMs, mobile banking, internet banking, and chatbots.

The banks plan to increase availability of services to customers at non-home branches and also provide omni-channel processes to rationalise the need for branch visits.