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Axis Bank counts on digital to expand footprint in rural India

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Axis Bank is working on growing its business in rural and semi-urban markets in India, through what its management calls 'deep geo strategy'. With its strengths in technology, the bank hopes to grow its assets or lending business in these areas, said Sumit Bali, president and head, retail lending and payments, Axis Bank. In a conversation with reporters on Thursday, Bali said that the bank has identified about 1,577 branches in its network for the deep geo strategy, through which it has witnessed pretty strong growth. "We are very excited with this initiative going forward and we see strong growth month-on-month and this will, therefore, also help us become a significant strategic player in the overall rural side of the country. It will also generate for us priority-sector and agri assets, going forward,” he said. Through Common Service Centres, the bank has a network of close to 5,000 village level entrepreneurs who will act as distribution points for funding farmers, disbursing gold loans, home loans and two-wheeler loans. “This is an identified strategy that we want to be a significant player in the rural part of the country and we’ve also made a strategic investment in the CSC (common service centres), which will help us set up a strong distribution footprint across the country,” Bali said. Banking on digital strengths: According to a December 2020 presentation, the bank believes that public data and digital infrastructures will help transform banking services and lending products going forward, such as sachetisation of financial services…

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