Hyderabad: Even as the country is under lockdown, business correspondents (BCs) have turned into ‘corona warriors’ by ensuring there is no disruption to banking services, particular cash availability, in rural areas.
Like banking and financial services, business correspondent services too have been listed as essential services. About 8 lakh BCs have been on the field to help rural people withdraw cash, according to Sasidhar N Thumulur, Business Correspondents Federation of India (BCFI) chairperson.
There are about 8 lakh BCs operating in the country and about 50 per cent of them are working. “In this time of crisis, BC agents and the services they provide are critical because people are not able or are not allowed to travel long distances to bank branches. People are in need of money to buy daily supplies, medicines to run their lives,” he said.
The BCs are now aiding in cash withdrawals. “With the direct benefit transfers proposed by the financial relief package announced by the governments, BCs will be the key touchpoints for many to withdraw this cash,” said Thumulur. Many are also sending and receiving money from their families, friends and employers.
“Most often, BCs have their own kirana shops or other businesses. They allow cash withdrawals first with their money and get commission for every transaction. The monies paid on behalf of banks will be paid to the accounts of BCs. In other words, BCs cut the need for many customers to visit the banks, which is needed for social distancing,” said Thumuluri, who is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of city-based Sub-K IMPACT Solutions.
Now, the withdrawals to deposits is 10:1 while in normal times it would be 2:1, he said adding that government should look to provide a honororium to BCs to supplement their falling incomes.
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