“Proxy” Banks Help Indian Farmers

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Via World is Green (thanks Suhit!) comes this report about a new entrepreneurial approach to banking in rural India.

With nothing more than an Internet-connected computer and an ATM machine, a branch bank of sorts can be set up to give farmers and rural citizens in India access to loans, insurance and mutual funds:

    “Deepa Shivaswami could have lived like any other girl her age in a remote village in Tamil Nadu. After she dropped out of school, Deepa could have married and started a family.

    Instead, she became an entrepreneur. She runs an Internet kiosk in her village, offering services like e-mail, Internet chat, tips for health and education and so on. By and by, she plans to introduce her village to financial products like mutual funds, insurance and even equity trading.

    An automated teller machine (ATM) that flashes the local language, Tamil, on its screen is being set up next door. In some time, the Internet kiosk and the ATM duo could well be a proxy bank for rural India. ***

    By mid-2004, over 10,000 such kiosks may dot Tamil Nadu and serve as a new vehicle for banking in rural India.”

Just like in the United States where branches are the mainstay of driving new business for banks, the “branch” appears to be a necessary part of a banking strategy in rural India. Even if it is a novel kind of “branch.” ATM manufacturers, take note.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.