New Delhi: The first phase of 'Loan Mela', an outreach programme for providing credit to retail customers and MSMEs, will begin from Thursday across 250 districts across the country to meet demand during the festival period.
During the four days beginning October 3, loans will be sanctioned for retail, agriculture, vehicle, home, MSME, education and personal categories on the spot.
All banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Bank of Baroda (BoB), and Corporation Bank have geared themselves up to take advantage of festival season demand.
SBI is the lead banker in 48 districts across the country. Likewise, BoB is the lead banker in 17 out of 250 districts in the first phase.
Simultaneously, it is holding Baroda Kisan Pakhwada during which most of its branches would focus on promoting farm loans, BoB said in a statement.
During the annual performance review earlier this month, public sector banks decided to undertake outreach exercise in identified 400 districts. Later, the private sector too expressed their willingness to join the initiative.
This is part of the systematic bank reform process which envisioned taking banks to doorsteps of customers. These camps will provide a one-stop destination for MSMEs, small retail businesses and end customers to access all bank services, especially loans in auto, home, personal and business section.
While at one level it will help businesses to gear up for the festive season, it will also provide ready cash in the hands of consumers.
Needless to say, all prudent financial norms and due diligence will be followed by PSBs while disbursing loans, a top official of the public sector bank said.
Awareness camps will be held in these districts to let people know about the event. For spreading information, the banker said, local vendor associations, commercial organizations and chambers of commerce may also be engaged to spread the message among merchants and customers.
In line with the government's thrust on Digital India, the initiative will focus on financial inclusion schemes and digital payment methods so as to encourage consumers and merchants to increasingly shift to these payment modes, the sources noted.
Apart from PSBs, NBFCs/HFCs/MFIs/SIDBI and private sector banks can also participate in the scheme. The second phase will be in 150 districts and will be held between October 21 and October 25, just before Diwali.