Locals all smiles after bank opens branchLocals of Api Himal Rural Municipality, Darchula in the country’s far west no longer have to undertake a five-day trek to Khalanga for bank access.
Locals of Api Himal Rural Municipality, Darchula in the country’s far west no longer have to undertake a five-day trek to Khalanga for bank access.
Last month, Machhapuchchhre Bank opened a branch office in the village, saving residents the trouble of having to walk all the way to the district headquarters Khalanga. Locals have been able to conduct banking transactions conveniently after the bank established a branch at Khadeshwori. The village of Khadeshwori does not have road access.
The bank also opened a branch at Sunsera of Byas Rural Municipality in mid-January. After Nepal went federal, banking services have reached all nine local units of the district which has made life much easier for locals.
Man Singh Dhami, a local of Dhaulakot of Byas Rural Municipality-5, said that locals were compelled to travel to the district headquarters to deposit their savings as there was no banking service at the local unit. Local municipalities said that the establishment of banks had made economic transactions easier for the residents.
The local units are working to spread financial literacy and educate locals about the advantages they can get by conducting financial services through banks.
“We are making all financial transactions through the bank,” said Dilip Singh Budathoki, mayor of Byas Rural Municipality. The rural municipality has made it compulsory for the social security allowance to be distributed through banks, he said. The establishment of banks has encouraged locals to conduct banking transactions which has helped service providers to improve financial governance.
Women are responsible for the daily household work in rural areas. “The money they save used to be spent for lack of financial institutions,” said Parbati Khati, president of Srijansil Mahila Samuha of Byas Rural Municipality-6. She said that people often lost cash to theft as they had no secure place to deposit their savings. “Now we can save money confidently.”
According to Staman Panta, branch manager of Machhapuchchhre Bank at Sunkeshra, the bank aims to develop rural areas and make farmers financially strong. They plan to create an investment environment through evaluation by the bank, he added.
Locals find conducting financial transactions through banking channels a big hassle due to lack of financial literacy. To end this, the bank will go to the doorsteps of locals and provide easy banking access, he said. The bank has gone to Byas Rural Municipality as per the ‘one home, one bank account’ campaign announced through the budget statement, he added.
Nepal Rastra Bank had directed all commercial banks to open branches at all local units within the end of the last fiscal year. Banks have been delaying opening branches at local units for lack of physical infrastructure and security.