India Post Payments Bank plans to roll out its branches across India from May 2018 with an investment of about Rs 1,450 crore, Postal secretary Ananta Narayan Nanda said today. “By April, all our systems will be ready. We will start rolling out all India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) branches between May and September,” Nanda told PTI. He said all 1.55 lakh post office branches will operate as access points and 650 payments bank branches will provide them back-end support. “Initially, Rs 800 crore fund was approved for IPPB but now due to some cost escalation, we will launch branches with an investment of Rs 1,450 crore. This includes investment in hardware, software, training and staff cost, among others,” Nanda said.
In 2015, RBI had granted ‘in-principle’ approval to 11 entities, including the Department of Posts, to set up payments banks. Payments banks can accept deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses. Unlike traditional banks, payments banks are not allowed to give loans or credit to customers. The new model of banking allows mobile firms, super market chains and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses. A payments bank is a differentiated bank and confines its activities to acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services, Internet banking and other specified services.
IPPB will be the third payments bank to have full fledged operations after Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm. “We will offer door step banking service which none of the payments banks are in position to provide. Also, the cost of transaction will be very competitive,” Nanda said. IPPB launched its pilot services in Raipur and Ranchi in January 2017 and expected to expand to 650 branches across the country by September 2017. However, its plans were delayed, as it could not sign up the system integrator (SI) within the schedule timeline.
Nanda said IPPB will have an edge over competition in the market due to vast reach of post offices and the trust factor that it commands. “We expect to break even in the third year of operation. There are already around 17 crore post office savings bank accounts which will get some services from IPPB. Even if we are able to open 50 accounts from each access point of 1.55 lakh, the number will be huge in the first year of operations,” he said.
IPPB will have a workforce of about 3,500. It has already started recruitment drive for 1,700. “Most of the employees will be from open market and from among those who are on deputation in government departments, including India Post,” he said.