HDFC Bank launched its ‘Vishesh’ retail banking program for clients in semi-urban and rural geographies on Thursday in which it plans to onboard around 1 lakh new clients.

As part of this, the bank plans to add more branches and launch customized and tailor-made financial products and solutions for this market segment.

HDFC Bank will seek to add 675 branches in semi-urban and rural geographies in FY24 to bring the total number to nearly 5,000. As of March 31, 52 percent of the bank’s 7,821 branches are in rural and semi-urban areas.

“This is not a product platform. What we are seeing are 4-5 important segments: farmers, merchants, micro-enterprises, government employees. We have to understand their different needs,” said Arvind Vohra, Group Head-Retail Branch Banking.

Given HDFC’s limited reach in Tier II and Tier III cities, Vohra also hopes that the merger of parent company HDFC will unlock more opportunities in this market segment due to the extensive branch network the bank now has, making make it easier to serve customers.

“With the bank’s presence now so broad, offering one more product or proposition is very profitable,” Vohra said. Line of business, adding that it will reduce turnaround time by helping to avoid duplicative processes, such as underwriting and loan processing, while enabling cross-selling of products and services.

HDFC Bank already has a ‘Classic’ program for HNI or upper tier of clients where it has a client base of 9 lakhs, of which 3 lakhs are in semi-urban and rural locations. These clients are now being singled out under the ‘Vishesh’ program to increase focus and grow this market segment, the bank said.

Program features include a dedicated personal banker; easily expandable to 8 family members; up to 50 percent discount on gold loan processing fees and a 50 percent waiver on valuation (once a year); and up to 50 percent off loan processing fees for construction equipment, tractors, personal, commercial, auto and two-wheelers.

It also offers daily Hospicash benefits (up to 5 days), annual preventive health check up to Rs 3,000; a free, cashless annual medical checkup; unlimited TeleHealth consultations and a host of agritech services such as soil analysis, farm advice, drone spraying and farm equipment rental through associations.

Under the programme, the private sector lender has launched a unique client engagement model, congratulating rural seniors such as sarpanches, teachers and key officials as they play a key role in the growth and village progress.

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