Kathmandu, May 20, 2018: A total of 14 commercial banks have come together with Sakchyam, an access to finance initiative by UKaid, to make a committment to establish 57 new branches in rural municipalities of Karnali Province, Province no.5 & 7. The banks came together to make the announcement amid a ceremony in Kathmandu on 17th May.
The newly signed partnership embodies UKaid and Sakchaym’s resolve to support Nepal’s commitment to establish commercial bank branches in all 753 municipalities in the country as part of decentralisation.
Realizing that there have been challenges while establishing branches in remote locations, a Stakeholders’ Discussion Session on “Banking in the New Federal Structure: Challenges & Way Forward” also took place today. Addressing the various concerns raised by the CEOs present, Mr. Uttar Kumar Khatri, Joint Secretary of Financial Sector Management Division of MoF stated, “Ministry of Finance is working towards ensuring that there is proper security and infrastructure to facilitate banks to go to the local units. We have taken into account all the concerns raised by the banks and will work towards addressing these issues collectively.”
Speaking at the program, Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank said, “The central bank had urged the banks to expand branches through last fiscal year’s monetary policy and initiatives such as these confirm that the commercial banks are in fact keeping up to their promise. We are glad to note that the banking community has risen to the need of the hour by committing to having branch presence in all the municipalities in the country”.
The new branches will be established in some of the most remote parts of the country. “Through this support we are expanding the reach of banking services to the under-served rural populations, energizing economic development, as well as enabling local governments receive federal funding and undertake local financial management functions. Additionally, we are also hopeful that social security payments will be disbursed through these bank branches,” said Mr. Baljit Vohra, Team Leader of Sakchyam. “These branches will also open avenues for over 1 million individuals and MSMEs in all local units in accessing full-fledged commercial banking services at their doorstep,” he added.
The goal is to make banking facilities accessible for the people living in the remotest parts of the country, echoed the signatories present at the ceremony.