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INDIA POST WILL APPLY FOR BANK LICENSE AFTER SEPT 2013 AND SPEND $410 MILLION

New Delhi: India's Department of Posts wants to apply for a commercial banking license after September 2013, by when it expects to complete a pilot project to implement core banking solution across India, The Economic Times reported citing the department's Secretary Radhika Doraiswamy.
The postal department also plans to spend around $410 million to strengthen its financial services offerings and to enhance its information-technology network, Doraiswamy said, without giving the estimated time-frame.
The department is seeking to improve its technology to rope in systems like core banking, which links branches via computers. It plans to apply for banking license after seeking permission from the Union Cabinet, Doraiswamy said.
Acquiring a banking license will help the postal department to boost its finances at a time when email, rising mobile phone usage and determined private courier companies are depleting the department's revenue from postal services.
Earlier August, the Reserve Bank of India had issued draft guidelines for licensing of new banks in the private sector, in a bid to open up the highly-regulated sector to more players to increase penetration. Indian companies are keenly awaiting final guidelines for licensing of new banks, and many have expressed interest in entering the highly-regulated sector.
The postal department plans to start a pilot project on core banking and seeks to cover pan-India by September 2013 with the capability for core banking, Doraiswamy said.
Indian postal department is the chief supervisor of the government's small savings scheme. It also provides financial products via its 155,000 offices.
The department had handled around 240 million savings accounts with total deposits of Rs 264.57 billion by March.

Source: banking.contify.com

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