India Post to roll-out 1,000 ATMs

India Post to roll-out 1,000 ATMs

India’s Department of Posts will roll-out 1,000 ATMs in the next couple of years as part of its plans to hive off its financial services business into a bank. Widely reported in the Indian business press, this piece is courtesy of The Hindu Business Line:

Currently, the Department, which is also known as India Post, has two ATMs – one each at Chennai and Delhi.  Kalpana Tewari, Member (Planning & Technology), Department of Posts, said the ATM roll-out is linked to putting the post offices on the core banking platform.

Since 2012, the Department has put 676 Post Offices on the core banking platform. By the end of March 2016, it expects to put 25,000 such offices on the platform, which entails networking of branches to enable customers to access their account from and perform transactions at any of these networked offices.

The Department has a budget of Rs. 5,000 crore for modernising its operations, said Tewari.

On the Department’s plans to foray into banking, she observed that while the intention of her Department is to enter the banking space, when and how it will be done remains to be seen.

Given that India Post has been handling financial services such as Post Office savings schemes, postal life insurance and money remittance services for several decades, it is likely that it will opt to become a payments bank.

Tewari said the Department, which has 30 crore accounts with deposits aggregating Rs. 6 lakh crore, as a standalone entity as well as a partner to banks is an ideal vehicle for achieving the goal of financial inclusion.

Among the challenges facing the Department include technology and setting up accounting systems, she added.

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