Sunday, January 10, 2016

Citi, Barclays, 38 Others Willing to Partner India Post: Ravi Shankar Prasad

MUMBAI: As many as 40 domestic and multinational financial giants, including Citigroup, Barclays and ICICI Bank, have sought to partner India Post for its upcoming payments bank, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today.
"You have only got the in-principle approval, and other aspects like appointing a consultant are on, but already 40 big financial services groups from the country and abroad have evinced interest in a tie-up with the Postal Department," the Communications and IT Minister said while addressing postal employees here.
He named American banking giant Citigroup, British lender Barclays and the country's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank among those who have sent tie-up proposals.
Prasad said the department is aiming to get the bank operational by March 2017.
He said some of the requests are for selling insurance, while some seek to provide government-to-citizen and company-to-citizen services.
The Postal Department features in a list of 11 entities who were given the go-ahead by the Reserve Bank last August to set up payments banks, aimed at promoting financial inclusion through deepening the formal financial system by focusing on transactional banking.
India Post is the only state-run entity to feature in the list, which is populated by industrial houses like the Birlas, Ambanis, and Mahindras, apart from telecom biggies like Airtel and Vodafone.
The Department's reach, spanning 1.54 lakh touch points across the country, is its strength and the employees should leverage it for maximising revenue, he said. 
Prasad said as against a dip of 2 per cent in 2013-14, the revenue of the department grew 37 per cent in FY15 and has jumped 120 per cent till December 2015. He, however,
did not give the absolute figures. Prasad, who was speaking after inaugurating an e-commerce parcel processing centre at Parel in central Mumbai, said the department has done cash-on-delivery based deliveries of Rs 1,000 crore in 2015.
Noting that the e-commerce market is around Rs 98,000 crore and is estimated to grow exponentially going forward, Prasad asked the employees to make India Post the largest e-commerce logistics company in the world.
Over 65 per cent of the e-commerce orders are from smaller towns, which can serve as an advantage to the Department due to its wide network, he said.
To develop the network, the department is getting all the post offices on the core banking platform and is also giving hand-held devices to postmen that can be used during deliveries and selling insurance by March 2017, he said

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