ICICI Bank Limited has organised a 'Kisan Sampark programme' in 170 villages of Punjab as a part of its financial inclusion plan.
The programme helps in increasing financial literacy and encouraging farmers to develop saving habit.
The bank claims to have reached out to an estimated population of 3,500 in small villages around centres such as Amritsar, Faridkot, Gurdaspur, Muktsar, Nakodar, Tarn Taran, Ahmedgarh, Ropar, Mansa, Nabha, Nawanshahr, Sangrur, Zirakpur and Kapurthala.
Mr Vishal Batra, zonal head, rural and inclusive banking group of the bank, said, "We recognise the importance of inclusive growth for the farming community. It has always been our earnest endeavour to make a difference to the farmers and agri-communities residing in unbanked or under-banked rural areas by reaching out to them and offering them the benefits of safe and secure banking".
A release issued by the bank here on Tuesday said that during this programme, ICICI Bank branch managers and development officers conduct financial literacy camps in the villages and everyone from the farming community is invited. During the camp, they explain the benefits of banking through a formal financial institution rather than with the unorganised sector.
According to Batra, the bank officers help the farmers to calculate the interest rate on their existing loans which are usually significantly higher than available with a bank. They also help them understand the importance of maintaining a consistent repayment cycle, the effect it has on their credit worthiness and consequently, their loan eligibility, he added.
The bank officers, he said, explain to the farmers that when taking loans against assets such as jewellery, they should choose a formal banking channel that would keep their assets safe and secure.
After the conclusion of the programme, the bank officials spend the day going door-to-door and counselling the farmers on any financial concerns, he added.