The number of bank accounts has significantly increased for the past few years, thanks to the financial literacy campaigns and expansion of banking networks across the country.
The number of deposit accounts has reached 25.66 million by mid-March 2019, which means around 85 per cent people in the country have their bank accounts.
However, the reality is otherwise.
The bankers said that there was duplication of the account holders as one person may have more than one account in different banks.
In the last two and a half years, 8.8 million deposit accounts were added. By the end of fiscal year 2015/16, the number of bank accounts was 16.84 million.
Likewise, the number of loan accounts in banks and financial institutions reached 1.36 million by mid-March 2019 from 1.096 million in fiscal year 2015/16.
The deposit accounts rose by 2,113,528 and loan accounts by 59,304 during the first eight months of the current fiscal.
Although the number of deposit accounts in bank increased significantly, around 50 per cent people in Nepal still do not have access to banking facilities.
According to executive director of Research Department of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Dr. Gunakar Bhatta, financial literacy campaign and expansion of bank branches contributed to the increase in the bank accounts.
The rise in bank accounts shows that the access of people to the banking service is rising in recent years, he said.
Above 50 per cent people might be in the banking net even though there are 10 million multiple accounts, he said. More multiple bank accounts are in the urban area than in the rural area banks, he added.
Due to the policy of the government to open branch of at least one commercial bank in each of the 753 local levels, the commercial banks have extended their branches at 713 levels as of mid-March.
The total number of licensed BFIs increased to 167 in mid-March 2019 from 151 in mid-July 2018. Branches of BFIs reached 8,055 in mid-March 2019 from 6,651 in mid-July 2018.
As per the branches of BFIS, the number of population per branch stands at 3,626 people at present whereas it was 6,562 in 2015/16.
The country’s economy will boost with the increase in saving in the banks, he said.
The deposit in banks and financial institutions reached Rs. 3,008 billion while lending stood at Rs. 2,749 billion, Bhatta added.
Immediate past president of Nepal Bankers’ Association and Chief Executive Officer of Nabil Bank Anil Keshary Shah said that extension of the bank branches in the last one year increased rapidly, which had never happened in the past.
“In my view, now above 65 per cent population of the country are in the banking net following the
aggressive extension of their branches in the rural areas,” he said.
According to him, bank will extend their branches in 40 remaining local levels, but the government should make efforts to develop required infrastructure, including road and electricity in those areas.
According to Parshuram Kunwar Chhetri, Chief Executive Officer of Janata Bank, initiative of banks to open their new branches in the rural areas is contributing to bring more people into the banking net.
“All the banks which have opened in rural areas are visiting people’s doorsteps encouraging them to open bank accounts,” he told The Rising Nepal.
Increasing bank accounts with the expansion of banking services in the rural areas will help accelerate the rural economy, he added.
He said that his bank is opening around 12,000 new bank accounts every month.
Duplication of bank accounts is high due to growing bank branches, which motivate the people of the same areas to open bank accounts in their banks.
Recently launched national campaign to open bank accounts of all Nepalis would also play a crucial role to bring more people into the banking net, he said.