Given their physical presence in India, banks are arguably well-placed to improve financial inclusion in rural areas. However, uncertain repayment capacities and high transaction costs mean formal financial institutions are often reluctant to lend to the rural poor. Conversely, high transaction costs in dealing with banks are also incurred by clients, through, for example, lengthy, cumbersome and potentially ignominious procedures. Negative attitudes towards poor clients can be an important component of such transaction costs. An applied research project funded by the Enterprise Development Innovation Fund (EDIF-DFID) developed an innovative training programme designed to encourage more positive attitudes of bank staff towards poor clients, and towards their own role in rural poverty alleviation and development. This paper examines the development of the training programme, its implementation, and the results of its evaluation. It is shown that training can bring about attitudinal change, which in turn is reflected in behaviour and social impact. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.