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HDFC Bank Ltd recently launched its rural Financial Literacy Initiative in the village of Sanguem in the Salcete district of Goa, under the aegis of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This initiative complements HDFC Bank’s efforts to support inclusive growth and take formal banking services to the remote corners of India.

This initiative is in line with the RBI’s recent circular which recommended that banks should scale up financial literacy efforts in rural areas through their branch networks. The programme was inaugurated by chief guest Shri S. Ramaswamy, Regional Director, RBI, Maharashtra & Goa. Shri Jaikish, General Manager, RBI, RPCD Goa, and Shri B.B. Sethi, General Manager, Nabard, Goa, were also present at the event along with Mr Jorge Bravo D’Costa, Circle Head, HDFC Bank and Mr. Rajkamal Vardharanjan, Head Key Accounts, HDFC Bank.

The rural financial literacy camps will enable both adults and school children to attain a conceptual understanding of financial products and services. HDFC Bank recently held the same programme in the village of Pernem in North Goa as well as Panjim.

HDFC Bank will use the Financial Literacy Guide, provided by the RBI as the standard curriculum while conducting these camps. This material is currently available in Hindi and English. HDFC Bank has gone a step further in Goa and is the first bank to translate the guide into Konkani, which is the local language. This has been done in consultation with the RBI and will greatly increase the impact and efficacy of these camps in Goa.

The Financial Literacy Guide is a comprehensive document that contains a note for trainers, guidelines for banks on how to conduct the camps, and financial literacy material. It also contains as well as a Financial Diary to track expenditure and a set of 16 posters. The purpose of this guide is to create financial awareness and educate the common man on a number of topics such as management of money, importance of savings, advantages of saving with banks, other facilities provided by banks and benefits of borrowing from banks.

Speaking on the launch, Mr, Ravi Narayanan, Branch Banking Head, HDFC Bank, said, “We are honoured to reach out to the people of Goa under the guidance of the RBI. Through this financial literacy initiative we are helping people in rural areas to make informed and effective decisions regarding the use and management of their money. This is in addition to bringing more people into the banking fold by going deeper into rural geographies and extending our reach in the hinterland in order to support inclusive growth.”

HDFC Bank now has 53% of all branches in its network located in semi-urban and rural areas. It has 63 branches in Goa of which 39 are located in rural or semi-urban areas. As of December 31, 2013, the Bank had a distribution network with 3,336 branches and 11,473 ATMs in 2,104 cities/towns.