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SBI Plans to Expand Branch Network

SBI Plans to Expand Branch Network

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India’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India (SBI), has made a crucial decision to further expand its network. As part of its strategic plans, SBI is aiming to open 400 new branches across the country. Last year, the bank inaugurated 137 branches, with 59 of these branches being in rural areas.

Currently, many banks are facilitating digital transactions, and SBI is also bringing digital banking services to every branch. In this context, many customers are using online or digital methods for their banking needs, often through specialized banking apps. Despite this trend, SBI’s recent announcement to open 400 new branches has gained significant attention.

The majority of these new branches are expected to be in rural areas. This raises questions about the need for new branches when there are already thousands of branches nationwide. SBI has responded to this by explaining that although 89% of services and 98% of transactions are conducted digitally, there is still a need for new branches due to emerging service requirements. Specifically, wealth and advisory services are conducted in the branches, necessitating customer visits to the bank.

As of March 2024, SBI has 22,542 branches nationwide. Additionally, SBI has subsidiaries such as SBI Insurance and SBI Payment Services. After expanding the operations of these subsidiaries, the bank plans to list them on the exchange. SBI will identify areas with the highest service demand and then open new branches in those locations.

The bank’s expansion plan underscores the importance of physical branches in delivering certain financial services that cannot be fully digitized, especially in wealth management and advisory roles, highlighting a balanced approach to digital and physical banking infrastructure.

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