Digital Banking Units (DBU), which were inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, will further augment the country’s digital infrastructure, Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das said.
“This will act as an enabler in the digital ecosystem and will improve customer experience by facilitating seamless banking transactions,” Das said in his speech. “The DBUs will augment our efforts to promote financial inclusion by providing banking services in a paperless, efficient, safe and secure environment.”
The specific financial services to be extended by the DBUs include, savings, credit, investment and insurance.
“On the credit delivery front, to start with, the DBUs will provide end-to-end digital processing of small ticket retail and MSME loans, starting from online applications to disbursals,” Das said.
DBUs will also provide services related to certain identified government sponsored schemes.
The products and services in these Units will be provided in two modes – self-service and assisted modes, with self-service mode being available round the clock, on all days.
An announcement was made by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the Union Budget of 2022-23 for setting up of 75 DBUs, following which RBI had issued the required guidelines after consulting the Indian Banks Association and other experts in the field.
“It is heartening to note that the commercial banks – both in the public and private sectors – have responded very positively to this initiative. Seventy five DBUs have been set up in a record six months’ time in 75 districts of the country to commemorate 75 years of our independence,” Das said.
The setting up of DBUs is a joint initiative of the Centre, RBI, the Indian Banks Association and the participating banks.
“The banks are also free to engage the services of digital business facilitators and business correspondents to expand the footprint of the DBUs,” he added.
State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, has opened 12 DBUs out of the 75, which are in places like Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Balod in Chhattisgarh, and East, North and West Sikkim, among others. Bank of Baroda has opened 8 DBUs which are in Varanasi, Kota, Vadodara, among others.
HDFC Bank – the country’s largest private sector bank has opened 4 DBUs which are in Haridwar, Chandigarh, Faridabad (Haryana) and South 24 Parganas (WB). ICICI Bank – the second largest private sector bank has also opened four DBUs– one each in Dehradun, Karur (Tamil Nadu), Kohima and Puducherry.