State Bank of India, the country's largest commercial bank, and bharti airtel, India's largest telecommunications company, have entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement to make available banking services to the nation's unbanked millions.
The agreement will see SBI and airtel offering a complete suite of banking services via both the mobile platform and a state-wide network of branches and retail distribution outlets.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director, Bharti airtel says: "This will be a complete game changer, leveraging SBI's expertise in the banking sector along with airtel's 150 million strong customer base and ecosystem of over 1.5 million retailers and distributors across India. Together, we will create a scalable operation that will address the banking requirements of millions of Indians through the mobile platform."
With the penetration of mobile teledensity standing at a strong 60%, the market possesses great potential for a collaboration that combines the strengths of both banking and telecom sectors, he adds.
The venture will initially engage airtel's retailers as Customer Service Points (CSP) all over India in a phased manner. Existing and new airtel mobile customers and SBI customers will be able to visit these outlets to open accounts and perform routine transactions.