|Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) Lending Policies and Loans in India (IRMA, 1993)|
The following concluding remarks may be made based on the overall analysis carried out in the paper. The RRB though meant basically for the poorer sections was found to be serving not only all the segments of the rural society but also the major portion of its loans had gone to the households in the better-off categories. Moreover, the regular accessibility to the RRB was found to be restricted mainly to better-off households. This is attributable mainly to the emphasis put by the RRB on the security based lending. The system or practice of considering the individual and not the household as the borrowing unit had not only enabled the richer sections to borrow from the RRB in the name of rural poor but also had helped them to garner a major share of its loans. Though the bank had brought in a considerable number of poorer households into its ambit, their coverage is attributable more to the selection of such households by the government agencies under various poverty alleviation schemes rather than to banks own initiative. Incidentally, most of them have also not been able to sustain their access to the bank. As a result, the RRB was found to be serving mainly the better-off sections who could sustain their dealings with it unlike the poorer households.
Given the common lending policies pursued by the RRBs, the following conclusions may be drawn. The RRBs which were created as institutional innovation for the rural poor, however, did not come out with any radically different policy or strategy to reach out to their clientele. Unlike the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh,16 the RRBs in India have followed mainly the established security based lending and hence, their success as an institutional innovation/reform appears to be of a limited nature only. Since their basic policy remained the same, the outcome was in no way significantly different from that of other institutions like the co-operatives and the commercial banks. This suggests that what becomes important for serving the rural poor by the institutional credit agencies is not their form but their policies and this has to be reckoned with in any future institutional policy reform for the rural poor.