Saturday, October 7, 2017

Statebank Times is Changed will not be available mor. Now you have to visit for Times.

Now no PAN or Adhaar card required for jewellery purchase of over Rs 50,000

New Delhi, October 6: Jewellery purchases exceeding Rs 50,000 won’t require the income tax permanent account number (PAN) to be provided after the government reversed an earlier notification on Friday, providing a big festive cheer for the sector and potential customers.

Jewellers will also not be required to inform authorities about jewellery purchases of over Rs 50,000 after the government rescinded a notification issued on August 23.

Dealers in precious metals, precious stones and other high-value goods having a turnover of over Rs 2 crore in a financial year had been notified as persons carrying on designated business and professions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, (PMLA) 2002. This had made them reporting entities under the PMLA requiring them to intimate the relevant authorities about transactions above certain limits.

The government said the notification had been rescinded because certain incongruities had been brought to its notice and a fresh notification will be issued, indicating that the sector may still come under greater watch.

“The withdrawal of Rs 50,000 limit for KYC (know your customer) under PMLA is great news, as the imposition had impacted sentiment and sales to some extent,” said Sandeep Kulhalli, senior V-P, retail and marketing, Tanishq. Industry expects growth to recover after the relaxation.

“With the festive season still under way, the withdrawal of the notification has raised prospects of sales recovering in the third quarter,” said Surendra Mehta, national secretary, India Bullion and Jewellers Association.
“The 30% year-on-year growth that our company and the organised sector witnessed in the fiscal quarter ended June was impacted slightly, down around 5% in the second quarter, by the extension of PMLA to the gems and jewellery trade on August 23,” said Balram Garg, managing director, PC Jewellers. Earlier, like other sectors, the threshold for KYC was Rs 2 lakh. This got lowered to Rs 50,000 after the jewellery sector was brought under PMLA on August 23.

“After considering various aspects of the issue, the government has decided to rescind the said notification. A separate notification after  due consideration of points raised and wider stakeholder consultation in this regard shall be issued separately,” it said in a statement.

The entities covered by PMLA have to maintain records of all transactions of value exceeding Rs 10 lakh, all cross-border wire transfers of more than Rs 5 lakh and all purchases and sales of immovable property of Rs 50 lakh or more.

Monday, September 18, 2017

State Bank of India now Reviewing Minimum Balance Charges in S/B Accounts

State Bank of India is reviewing the feedback received from customers on the issue of penalty charges for certain categories of accounts for non- maintenance of monthly average balance

Mumbai, September 17 (PTI): State Bank of India (SBI) said it is reviewing charges for certain categories of accounts for non- maintenance of monthly average balance (MAB) after receiving feedback from customers.

In April this year, the country’s largest lender reintroduced charges on non-maintenance of monthly average balance (MAB) after a gap of five years.

“We have received feedback from our customers on the issue and we are reviewing those. The bank will take into account those and make an informed decision,” the banks managing director (national banking group) Rajnish Kumar told PTI.

“We will internally debate whether any moderation for certain categories of customers like senior citizens and students needs to be done anywhere. The charges are never cast in iron.”

As per the list of revised charges of SBI, failure to maintain monthly average balance in accounts will attract penalty of up to Rs100 plus goods and services tax (GST).

In metropolitan areas, there will be a charge of Rs100 plus GST, if the balance falls below 75% of the MAB of Rs5,000. If the shortfall is 50% or less of the MAB, then the bank will charge Rs 50 plus GST. In rural areas, the monthly average balance requirement has been kept at Rs1,000.

Any shortfall in maintaining minimum balance in rural areas can attract penalty in the range of Rs20 to Rs50 plus GST.

Kumar said the bank has over 40 crore savings bank accounts, which includes 13 crore of Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) and Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts. The bank has exempted BSBD and PMJDY accounts from maintaining the minimum balance requirement.

Out of the 27 crore normal savings bank accounts, nearly 15-20 per cent are those where customers are not maintaining monthly average balance. The bank in April had given notices to all those account holders who did not have monthly average balance and asked them to keep the minimum balance in May.

“When they did not maintained the monthly average balance in May then we recovered in June. We had recovered Rs235 crore from such account holders as penalty,” Kumar said.

He said there is huge cost in maintaining the savings accounts and banks should be allowed to recover some costs.

“There are lots of operational costs. We also have to invest huge amount of money in technology. There are some costs which I think bank should recover,” Kumar said, adding the charges which SBI is levying for non-maintenance of minimum balance is very competitive as compared to other lenders.

He said a normal savings account holder has an option to convert his account into BSBD account which will exempt him from maintaining monthly average balance.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SBI Card to debut contactless payments

Mumbai, September 11:  SBI Card customers could soon make payments by merely tapping their smartphone on a swipe machine. SBI Card is updating its mobile application to enable customers make contactless payments at point of sales (PoS) terminals using a technology called Host Card Emulation (HCE) which enables dematerialisation of the card.

Cardholders of the bank already use smartphones as an alternative for cards on the Samsung Pay platform and the bank will next month launch its proprietary application which enables virtualisation of the card in a smartphone using near-field communication (NFC). "Among our recent innovations we have enabled our card for Bharat QR code by incorporating the feature in our app," said Vijay Jasuja, CEO, SBI Cards.

SBI Cards, which recently entered into an agreement for partner GE to exit the venture, is looking to double its base from 50 lakhs in two years. The company, which is the second-largest issuer in India, has a renewed focus on SBI customers through pre-approved cards.

SBI Card has doubled its base in three years to over 50 lakhs and is recording fastest growth in issuance with 15% market share of cards in force (CIF) as well as card spends. "Before demonetisation the card volume growth rate was around 60,000 cards per month which increased to over 1 lakh cards per month post-demonetisation period and has now grown to around 2 lakh cards per month," said Jasuja.

At present, 15-20% of cards come from co-branded partnerships like Big Bazaar and Tata. State Bank of India customers account for 35% of cards. Bulk of the customers (45%) are from the open market. "While going after the whole lot does not make sense considering that the bank has a 50-crore customer base and we do not have the capacity for that, we will be picking them up in lots," he said.

Jasuja said that the company would invest in boosting infrastructure and working with partners. The company has recently identified top 100-200 institutions in the country where students in their final year of graduation, who are not yet employed, will be eligible for a credit card. Over the last one year the monthly card spend has grown from an average of Rs 3,500 crore per month to Rs 5,500-crore plus per month.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Say hello to Sia, SBI's intelligent chat assistant who will answer your queries

Mumbai, September 5:  India's largest public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) has come up with its own Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbot who will take care of customer queries by giving out information on SBI's range of products and services.

Sia, which is currently undergoing beta testing, said it is 'still learning' when asked a few questions. Please verify the information provided from other sources, it said.

Sia is designed to answer customer questions regarding home loans, education loans, car loans, personal loans, recurring deposit, term deposit, etc.

According to a NDTV Profit report, SBI had said that its new digital platforms like SBI inTouch are widely using bots and artificial intelligence such as IBM Watson, to perform a variety of jobs, especially in improving customer experience.

More than 80 per cent of the SBI's transactions are done in non-branch journeys, i.e. not touched by any SBI employee - only through machines, it said.

Aadhaar seeding scam takes root

Ranchi, Jharkhand, September 1: Rohit Kumar Pandit (22), BTech student of a private engineering college in Ranchi, and Om Prakash Singh, with the help of a banking agent (banking correspondent) of UBI's Jhumri Telaiya branch in Koderma in Jharkhand, linked his Aadhaar number with the savings account of a college to embezzle more than Rs 11.33 lakh in 30 days, exposing a serious threat to the unique ID seeding that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre is so aggressively promoting.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Mis-selling of insurance products by the banks are on the rise

Kolkata, September 4:  Septuagenarian Anusua Basu wanted to make a one-time investment of Rs. 1.5 lakh in an equity-linked savings scheme (ELSS) for tax gain. She paid the amount and was ready to wait for the three-year lock-in period to get over to earn her returns.

She was, however, in for a shock when her account was debited for Rs. 1.5 lakh the second year as well.

On receiving the premium renewal notice the second year, she realised that her bank had sold her a ULIP instead. When she went to the bank looking for the relationship manager who sold her the policy, she was informed that the person concerned had moved out.

Anusua is not alone. Instances of mis-selling of insurance products through bank branches are on the rise. Customers easily give in to the aggressive marketing techniques of some bank employees primarily on account of the trust reposed on the bank they have been banking with. Though there is no official data on the number of policies mis-sold, calls made to banking and insurance ombudsman offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad confirm there is a rise in complaints from people on mis-selling by banks.

Mis-selling refers to certain ‘unfair business practices’, including wrong sale of product, loading on products and promise of higher returns. “The number of complaints from people about mis-selling by bank branches has increased. However, a complaint may not necessarily mean that the product was always mis-sold,” a banking ombudsman officer from Mumbai told BusinessLine on condition of anonymity.

Mis-selling expected to rise:

According to industry experts, instances of mis-selling are expected to rise in future with banks and insurance companies going aggressive on the bancassurance channel, more so under the open architecture model, unless attention is paid to developing simpler products and equipping bank employees with adequate knowledge and infrastructure.

Under open architecture, a bank can have tie-ups with up to three insurers — in each of life, non-life and health segments.

“Mis-selling is prevalent in almost all kinds of channels, but the open architecture model will throw up more challenges,” said P Nandagopal, Founder and CEO, Insurance Inbox.

Aggressive push:

With the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) issuing guidelines on open architecture in 2015, banks and insurance companies have been looking at this segment aggressively to scale up their business.

While on the banks’ part it is a way to earn fee-based income, for an insurance company this would mean better penetration across the country, including the rural markets.

Need for simpler products:

Friday, September 1, 2017

SBI launches chatbot to assist customers

State Bank of India has enabled a chatbot to field queries
on the bank's retail products from visitors to its website

Mumbai, September 1: State Bank of India (SBI) has enabled a chatbot to field queries on the bank’s retail products from visitors to its website. Named SBI Intelligent Assistant (SIA), the bot responds to customer inquiries on home loans, education loans, car loans, personal loans, recurring deposits and term deposits. Chatbots are digital robots that can carry on a conversation through audio or text. Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, deputy MD and chief information officer at SBI, told FE that the decision to introduce a chatbot was taken as it was felt that navigating the website could be a bit of a task for a customer.

“Most of the time, customer touch-points with the bank are for three things — sales, service and enquiry,” Mahapatra said, adding, “We found that for enquiry and navigation, a customer has to navigate quite a bit or go to call centres, where the agent may not be fully knowledgeable.” The chatbot was developed by Allincall, a start-up backed by IIT Bombay, and uses machine learning and bot experience to respond to customer queries.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wage talks: IBA, Staff Unions agree to disagree on most outstanding issues

Thiruvananthapuram, August 29:  Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and staff unions have failed to find common ground on most of the outstanding issues in a warm-up session ahead of the 11th bipartite settlement talks.

A sub-committee of the IBA negotiating committee had held a round of talks with the unions (AIBEA, NCBE, BEFI, INBEF and NOBW) in Mumbai on August 23.


IBA was represented by Rakesh Sharma, MD & CEO, Canara Bank, who is the Chairman of the sub-committee, while all five unions were represented on the other side.

IBA held out its case for introduction of the ‘cost-to-company’ concept and alluded to the need for fixed-cum-variable pay and performance-related wages to recognise efficiency and performance. It suggested that the new system can be made to apply for future employees with an option extended to existing employees.

But the unions raised apprehensions and submitted that discussions should instead focus on further improvement in efficiency of the workforce as a whole and how to incentivise it.

When it came to the proposal for further rationalisation of special pay posts, the unions expressed their willingness to discuss any concrete proposal in this regard. But they reiterated the demand that the existing duties and powers need to revised with suitable increase in the quantum of special pay.

Minimum qualification

The minimum qualification for recruitment of clerical staff in banks made for an important topic for discussion.

IBA’ case was since the minimum qualification set now is graduation, the additional two increments given under this head should be discontinued. But the unions said this was not acceptable since there was a need to peg back the minimum qualification to 12th standard.

IBA also wanted to amend the disciplinary action provisions to provide for simultaneous criminal proceedings as well as departmental proceedings. The unions rejected it since they apprehended that the proposed amendment would go against the interest of employees.

Premature retirement

The unions did not also agree with the proposal for a provision to provide for premature retirement of employees in public interest any time on completion of 55 years of age or 30 years of service.

They shot down another suggestion that the ensuing 11th bipartite settlement contain a provision for outsourcing as per the Reserve Bank guidelines.

But they agreed on the need for meaningful discussions over grant of stagnation increment uniformly at an interval of two years after reaching the maximum; change in DA scheme based on 2001=100 Index series; improvement in sick leave; grant of maternity leave in combination with other leave; paternity leave to cover child adoption; and LFC entitlement.

Other demands including additional load on wage revision, revised pay scales and allowances, revised DA formula and HRA rates could be discussed at the full negotiating committee since these are common to both employees and officers.

The next round of meeting of the sub-committee will be held on September 6.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Post-demonetisation, 99% of Rs 1,000 notes back with RBI

Mumbai, August 27:  How many worthless Rs 1,000 and 500 notes were hoarders of black money left holding on to after demonetisation because they couldn't reveal they had them? No official answer has been provided for eight months, leaving everybody from the common man to the Supreme Court wondering.

Now, data put out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on its website suggests that at least for the Rs 1,000 notes, almost 99% of currency in circulation came back into the banking system.

The data on notes in circulation shows that at the end of March 2017, there was Rs 8,925 crore worth of Rs 1,000 notes still in 'circulation'.

According to the RBI, "notes in circulation" are all notes held outside Reserve Bank — that is by the public, banks treasuries and so on. Thus, this figure represents the total of all Rs 1,000 notes that were not deposited with the banks after note-bandi starting November 8 last year.

That might seem like a lot of money. But a look at the total value of Rs 1,000 notes in circulation on November 8 puts it in perspective. On that date, 6,858 million Rs 1,000 notes were in circulation, according to a statement made by Santosh Kumar Gangwar, minister of state for finance, in the Lok Sabha on February 3 this year. These would, thus, have been worth Rs 6.86 lakh crore.

Seen against this huge figure, Rs 8,925 crore constitutes a mere 1.3%. In other words, if these figures are right, 98.7% of all 1,000 rupee notes came back to RBI after demonetisation, and a mere 1.3% were not returned.

Attempts to get RBI's response to queries regarding this on Friday could not elicit any response.

A similar calculation cannot be done for Rs 500 notes because, unlike the Rs 1,000 notes where there were no new ones, the figure for Rs 500 notes in circulation on March 31, 2017 would mostly be for new notes, and the data does not give us a break-up of old and new notes.

However, Surajit Mazumdar, professor of economics at JNU who analysed this data, pointed out to TOI, "If 99% of the Rs 1,000 notes were returned, there is no reason to think that Rs 500 notes would be different in any significant way.

In other words, almost all the old 500 and 1,000-rupee notes appear to have been officially returned. Negligible 'black money' has been unearthed."

Mazumdar added that the total value of demonetised currency on November 8, 2016 was Rs 15.4 lakh crore. Of this, Rs 1,000 notes made up about 44% and Rs 500- notes 56%.

The government and RBI have not divulged the amount of returned notes till now. In June this year, the government said that RBI was still counting the returned money and that it may take a longer time.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bank Unions Likely To Meet Narendra Modi in September to Put Forward Their Demands

The nationwide strike hit around 42,000 branches of 22 public sector banks including State Bank Of India and IDBI, 18 old generation banks, eight foreign banks and 56 Regional Rural Banks. Bnkers will now join a march to Parliament on September 15, followed by another two days’ strike in late October-early November

New Delhi, August 23: The nationwide bank strike which was called by the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) saw major participation from across the nation. Banking operations on Tuesday were disrupted as public sector bank employees protested against the government’s proposed consolidation move among other demands.

Nearly 10 lakh employees and officers of public sector banks across 10,300 branches in the country had participated in the nationwide strike. The Bank Unions have now planned to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that they can put forth their demands and apprise the Prime Minister of the current situation.

C H Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA (All India Banks’ Employees Association) was quoted by Moneycontrol saying, “We were happy to see more young officers also participate in the protest and that helped us put forth the message. The present political culture has ignored the bank unions’ views but there will be a long term confrontation on the same.

We plan to meet the Prime Minister Modi post the September 15 morcha to put forth our points.”

On Tuesday, many states in India came to a standstill as banking transactions were severely hit. The protest across the nation affected cheque-clearing activity, financial, cash transactions and other routine daily banking services. ATMs that were operational ran out of cash as there were no replenishments. Reports stated that private lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank functioned normally.

States like Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu felt the heat of the protest as no transactions took place due to the strike. About 55,000 bankers joined the strike from Tamil Nadu, over 42,000 bank employees and officers were from Maharashtra while several thousand bank employees staged a rally at Azad Maidan in Mumbai which was addressed by leaders of UFBU and its nine affiliated unions.

AIBEA leader Vishwas Utagi informed that the nationwide strike hit around 42,000 branches of 22 public sector banks including the monolithic State Bank Of India and IDBI, 18 old generation banks, eight foreign banks and 56 Regional Rural Banks in Mumbai and Maharashtra.

The strike comes after the talks between UFBU on one side and Indian Banks’ Association, Chief Labour Commissioner and Department of Financial Services (DFS) failed on Friday. As per PTI reports, UFBU Convenor Devidas Tuljapurkar said the bank staffers will now join a march to Parliament on September 15, followed by another two days’ strike in late October-early November.

The UFBU had met on June 28 decided to launch an agitation on August 22 against reforms, mergers and our other issues after talks with the government on proposed reforms failed.

According to the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), when the country needs more banking services, the government is talking about consolidation, amalgamation, and merger of Banks.

Strike paralyses banking operations

Mumbai, August 22:  Banking operations in public sector banks, old generation private sector banks and regional rural banks across the country were hit on Tuesday as about 10 lakh employees went on a one-day strike to oppose, among others, amalgamation among public sector banks and their privatisation, and to demand tough measures against large loan defaulters.
The United Forum of Bank Unions, the umbrella union of trade unions, plans to intensify its agitation by calling for a two-day strike either in October or November if its concerns are not addressed, according to union representatives.
With the aforementioned banks accounting for about 75 per cent of the total banking business in the country, cheque-clearing operations were severely impacted. Besides, cash transactions could not be carried out as usual and government treasury transactions could not be put through as branches were closed down.
C H Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association, said in most of the places, clearing operations, particularly outward clearing, were badly affected. Normally, in the three clearing grids in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, on an average, about 40 lakh cheques and instruments worth about Rs. 20,000 crore are transacted per day.
“The government’s denial of adequate capital to public sector banks is creating conditions for privatisation. This would mean privatising the Rs. 80 lakh crore of common people’s money available in our banks. This is dangerous for the country and our people. Privatisation of banks would also result in denial of loans to priority sectors like agriculture, rural development, education, etc.,” he said.
Similarly, at a time when the country needs more banking services, the government is talking of consolidation, amalgamation and merger of banks, the trade union leader said, and added that bank mergers would result in closure of bank branches as is happening in SBI now after the merger of associate banks.
Loan defaulters
Given that the banking industry is reeling under bad loans, S Nagarajan, General Secretary, All India Bank Officers’ Association, emphasised that the industry has to be saved from the clutches of loan defaulters. Sanjay Manjrekar, General Secretary, Syndicate Bank Officers Association, said instead of hauling the large loan defaulters over the coals, the common depositor is being unfairly penalised by banks in the form of cuts in deposit rates and higher charges. The government should allow banks to take criminal action against the defaulters.
Pointing out that there are about 7,000 wilful defaulters, Venkatachalam felt that they should be termed as criminal offenders and tough criminal action taken. “But the government is suggesting litigation route/insolvency cases by which money due to the banks will not be recovered, rather there would be huge sacrifices and write-offs. “In the last five years, from 2013 to 2017, banks have written off nearly Rs. 2.50 lakh crore of loans due from these defaulters. This is diversion of people’s money to benefit the rich people,” he said.
Chennai, August 22: Ten lakhs bank employees and officers all over the country working in more than a lakh of branches of public sector, private sector and regional rural banks struck work today opposing to privatise PSBs, merger and consolidation of PSBs, writing off corporate NPAs, FRDI (Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance) Bill, Banks Board Bureau, passing on the burden of corporate NPAs on bank customers by hiking service charges, increasing service charges in the name of GST and demanding declaration of wilful default of Bank loans as criminal offence, implementation of recommendations of Parliamentary Committee on recovery of NPAs, ensuring accountability of Top Management/ Executives for bad loans and stringent measures to recover bad loans and adequate recruitment in all cadres, under the banner of United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella organisation of 9  workmen and officers unions.
The bilateral discussions held by Indian Banks Association on 16th August at Mumbai and the Tripartite conciliation meeting held on 18th August at New Delhi convened by Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) yielded no result as the Government and the Bank Managements were adamant and not ready to resolve any of the issues raised by the Unions and Associations.
There is a concerted attempt on the part of Government of India to write off lakhs of crores of rupees to the corporate loan defaulters using some method or the other and the same is cited as inefficiency of public sector banks and these PSBs are attempted to be either privatized or even liquidated through executive orders or enactments in the parliament. If the PSBs are privatised, it will ruin the fundamentals of the economy and have a cascading effect on the lives of common man who entirely depend on PSBs to improve their standard of living and to safe guard their hard earned small savings. That is why the Bank employees and officers are resolutely opposing the machinations of the Government, Reserve Bank and the top bankers to weaken the public sector banks.
Today lakhs bank employees and officers participated in the demonstrative programs held in more than 600 centres. In Tamilnadu demonstrations were held in more than 50 centres including  Chennai, Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Madurai, Trichy, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Nagercoil, Tuticorin, Vellore, Kanchipuram and Puducherry.
In Chennai more than 3,000 bank employees and officers took part in demonstration held near Collector office, North Beach road. The demonstration was chaired by Thomas Franco convener UFBU Tamilnadu. C H Venkatachalam, S M Selvaraj, R Sekaran, M A Srinivasan, K Krishnan and Manish Kumar spoke on the occasion.
In Tamilnadu more than 7,000 branches of commercial and Regional Rural banks remained closed and about 70,000 employees and officers participated in the strike. Around 12 lakhs instruments amounting to Rupees 7,300 crores remained un-cleared. We seek the support of the public to this patriotic struggle to protect the public sector banks.
C P Krishnan General Secretary Bank Employees Federation of India said: if the Government still remains adamant, there is no option for the UFBU but to intensify the struggles

SBI opens it second International sbiINTOUCH Digital Banking Outlet in Mauritius

Mauritius, August 21: Buoyed by the success of opening more than 250 plus sbiINTOUCH Digital Banking Branches across India, SBI is now sharing the flavour of its success to its foreign subsidiaries.

While it launched one such outlet in Nepal last month, it opened one more such outlet in Mauritius.

The Digital Banking outlet was inaugurated by Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India along with Rameswurlall Basant Roi, Governor of Bank of Mauritius and Abhay Thakur, High Commissioner of India to Mauritius.

The Bank also inaugurated its upgrade Internet Banking Platform- Finacle e-Banking Application (FEBA) in order to provide improved functionalities and  security features for the Internet Banking product.  A digital-wall was also inaugurated which provides an interactive, touch screen experience to the customers to know more about the Products and services of the Bank.

Speaking on the side-lines of the event, Bhattacharya informed the press-persons that basically the Digital Banking Outlet was aimed at the digital generation which is more comfortable with digital products.  She also said that the Outlet gives a lot of information and handholds  the customer to work on his own at the outlet with a little help from the staff at the Branch.

She also said that the Bank has also started a process of remittance to India through ATM.  SBI (Mauritius) Ltd has 13 retail branches and one integrated Global Business Branch together with 20 ATMs across the country.

The event was attended by other top executives of State Bank of India like B Sriram, MD (Corporate Banking Group), Praveen Gupta, MD (Compliance and Risk), Mr.Dinesh Kumar Khara, MD (Associates & Subsidiaries), Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, DMD & CIO, Siddhartha Sengupta, DMD (International Banking Group) and Independent Directors, M Cheeroo and G Gopee.

Monday, August 21, 2017

No Assurance from Government on Charter of Demands : Bank Unions Strike on August 22

Bank Unions to go ahead with
All India Strike on August 22

‘No Assurance from Government on Charter of Demands’

Chennai, August 21: Bank unions would go ahead with their all India strike on August 22 as talks with the Central government have failed. The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) had given the call for the strike on August 22 pressing for various demands including not to privatise public sector banks and merge some of them.

“In response to the strike notice, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) called the UFBU for discussions on August 16 to explore the possibility of averting the strike. During the meeting, the IBA could not commit to resolve any of the demands; it just stated that all these are policy issues of the government but appealed to the unions to withdraw the strike,” UFBU said in a statement. A.K. Nayak, Chief Labour Commissioner of Ministry of Labour Ministry, Government of India, too had a meeting with both the IBA and the UFBU.

During this meeting, UFBU representatives urged the IBA and the Centre to make assurance not to pursue the reform policies and resolve the demands amicably. Since no such assurance was given, the UFBU said it has decided to go ahead with the strike call.

Accordingly, as announced, nearly 10 lakh employees and officers of various banks all over the country would observe the strike, the UFBU said in the statement. “The strike is likely to affect banking services but we regret that the Centre and the IBA were not eager to resolve the issues; this has forced the unions to go ahead with the strike,” it added.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

SBI collects Rs 235 crore in minimum balance fine in June quarter: RTI

Mumbai, August 18 (PTI): State Bank of India (SBI) has realised Rs 235.06 crore as penalty from 388.74 lakh accounts for not maintaining monthly average balance in the first quarter of the current fiscal, an RTI query has revealed.

"An amount of Rs 235.06 crore has been realised from our 388.74 lakh accounts which did not maintain monthly average balance in the first quarter ended June 30," SBI said in its reply to an application filed by Neemuch-based RTI activist Chandrashekhar Gaud.

This information was furnished by a Mumbai-based Deputy General Manager rank officer of the bank's operations department, he said.

However, the country's top bank has not revealed the categories of accounts on which the fine has been levied for non-compliance with its minimum balance requirements, the activist said.

Gaud appealed to the state-run lender to review its policy of levying penalty for non-compliance with its minimum balance requirements in the interest of the poor account holders.

New Rs. 50 notes in your wallets soon

Mumbai, August 18:  The Reserve Bank of India on Friday said it will shortly issue Rs. 50 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series. The base colour of the note is fluorescent blue.

In November 2016, the RBI had introduced new banknotes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 denominations with base colours of stone grey and magenta, respectively.

The new Rs. 50 banknote has a motif of Hampi with a chariot, depicting the country’s cultural heritage, and the Swachh Bharat logo with slogan on the reverse.

All the banknotes in the denomination of Rs. 50 issued by the Reserve Bank in the earlier series will continue to be legal tender, the central bank said in a statement.

During the demonetisation period (November 9, 2016 to December 30, 2016), currency notes of denominations Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 (specified bank notes or SBNs), valued at Rs. 15.4 lakh crore and constituting 86.9 per cent of the value of total notes in circulation, were sucked out of the economy.

According to an RBI study, ‘excess’ bank deposit growth (year-on-year) following demonetisation was in the range of 3.0-4.7 percentage points. In nominal terms, these estimates imply excess deposits that accrued to the banking system due to demonetisation to be in the range of Rs. 2.8-4.3 lakh crore.

The study said a micro-level analysis of unusual growth in cash deposits in specific types of accounts, which are usually marked by low level of activity, also support the findings. Such gains in terms of a shift towards bank deposits, if durable, could have beneficial impact in the form of financialisation of savings.

Bank strike on August 22: Ten lakh bankers to protest against banking reforms

Talks between the United Forum of Bank Unions, and the Indian Banks’ Association, chief labour commissioner and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) failed.

Chennai, August 18 (IANS): Around 10 lakh bankers will go on strike on August 22 as talks between the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on one side and Indian Banks’ Association, chief labour commissioner and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) failed on Friday, said a union leader.

The forum is an umbrella body of nine unions in the Indian banking sector. The UFBU has given notice of a nationwide strike on August 22 to protest against reforms in the banking sector and other issues.

“The officials from IBA and DFS said there is no merger of government-owned banks or privatisation in the immediate future and urged us to withdraw our strike call. The talks were not satisfactory as there was nothing concrete coming from their side,” D Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, general secretary of the All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) told IANS after the meeting.

He said that around 10 lakh bankers working in around 1,32,000 branches would be on strike on August 22.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bank strike on Aug 22 to protest against proposed reforms

Kolkata, August 17: United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), the umbrella body of trade unions in the banking sector, has called a nation-wide strike on August 22 to protest against the reforms proposed by the Centre.

West Bengal convenor of UFBU, Siddhartha Khan said that the government is ushering in privatisation and consolidation in the Indian banking sector in the garb of reforms.

He said that the Bank Board Bureau had been formed to bring all the public sector banks (PSBs) under a banking investment company and get the government's share in PSBs below 50 per cent.

Rise in the gross NPAs of all the PSBs to Rs 6.83 lakh crore was also a major cause for concern and the banking system's financial health was suffering due to provisioning.

"The banks are giving very little stress on recovery of bad loans and taking recourse to either write-offs or provisioning," he told reporters on Thursday.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bank employees to go ahead with August 22 nationwide strike

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on Wednesday declared that their nationwide strike call for August 22 stands as the talks with the Indian Banks` Association (IBA) in Mumbai have failed.

Chennai, August 16 (IANS): The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on Wednesday declared that their nationwide strike call for August 22 stands as the talks with the Indian Banks` Association (IBA) in Mumbai have failed.

The Forum is an umbrella body of nine unions in the Indian banking sector. The UFBU has given notice of a nationwide strike on August 22 to protest against reforms in the banking sector and other issues.

"Since nothing positive emerged (at the talks) on the issues raised by us, our call for strike on August 22 stands," C H Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees` Association (AIBEA), told IANS.

"The IBA requested to withdraw strike without any concrete solution to the demands. Hence the strike call stands," D. Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, General Secretary of the All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) said.

The Chief Labour Commissioner has called the Forum for a conciliatory meeting in New Delhi on August 18.

Monday, August 14, 2017

SBI cuts staff strength, looks to redeploy 10,000

MUMBAI: State Bank of IndiaBSE -0.93 % (SBI) has reduced its staff headcount by 6,622 in the first quarter of FY18 to 2.73 lakh from 2.80 lakh at the beginning of the quarter due to retirements and a voluntary retirement scheme. The bank now plans to redeploy over 10,000 employees following the merger of its associate banks and due to digitisation. 

Consolidation of associate banks and a shift to digital channels for banking have set in motion a job restructuring process in one of th .. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Banker To Every Indian, Indeed

Arundhati Bhattacharya, the bank’s self-effacing chairperson is the ‘Woman Business Leader of the Year’ in BW Businessworld’s edition of the ‘Most Respected Companies 2017

Few banks play such a pivotal role in a country’s economy as the State Bank of India (SBI); it’s truly a ‘Big Daddy’. At end-March, the bank’s share of systemic deposits and advances stood at 23.07 per cent and 21.16 per cent, respectively (after the merger of SBI with its associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in the previous fiscal). And if you were to also pencil-in the share of state-run banks in this business at around 70 per cent, it makes SBI (though governed under a separate Act) very much the ‘polestar’.

No doubt that SBI has shown the way admirably. And for the same Arundhati Bhattacharya, the bank’s self-effacing chairperson is the ‘Woman Business Leader of the Year’ in BW Businessworld’s edition of the ‘Most Respected Companies 2017’. She was also conferred the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award in Banking’ in BW’s ‘Best Banks’ Survey 2017’ earlier this year. It tells you Bhattacharya is a standout both in her peer group and India Inc.

Numbers Say a Lot

A good part of SBI is legacy brings out its set of woes; the bank also helms a lot many programmes on behalf of the Centre. And, in turn, all of this — at many levels — tends to handicap the bank. What is the dread in the system as on date? Dud-loans and capital constraints. The bank’s performance shows it has tackled the plot admirably.

At end-March, operating profit grew by 17.55 per cent to Rs 50,847.90 crore; the net-profit by 5.26 per cent to Rs 10,484.10 crore after the higher provisioning requirements. The asset quality review (AQR) undertaken by Mint Road saw non-performing assets (NPAs) increase to Rs 1,12,343 crore (Rs 98,173 crore). Gross NPAs stood at 6.90 per cent (6.50 per cent), but the net-NPA ratio fell by 10 basis points (bps) to 3.71 per cent. Provisioning coverage was up 526 bps to 65.95 per cent.

You can’t also overlook the fact that capital quotes increased at a premium even as dud-loan pressure continues to hold sway. Yet it is to the credit of Bhattacharya that gross advances grew over the Rs 16,00,000-crore mark — at 7.80 per cent to Rs 16,27,273 crore. To contextualise this growth, Bhattacharya points out in the bank’s annual report for 2016-17: “The interesting part is as per the limited information available in public domain, China had injected $127 billion into their banking system during 2004-07, while the Fed (US Federal Reserve) injected $2.27 trillion following the 2008 crisis. In contrast, during the period 2006-2017, the cumulative capital infusion into state-run banks was at $17 billion.”

The other feather in the cap is the merger of SBI with its associate banks, which is the first large-scale consolidation in the Indian banking industry — State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Hyderabad, and State Bank of Patiala. The merger was particularly taxing given the state-run nature of the SBI Group— union’s sensitivities had to be handled with great care. That said, it will give SBI the much-needed heft in the face of the competition, which will arise in the near future.

With this merger, SBI has entered into the league of top 50 global banks (up from 55th position in 2016, Source: The Banker, July 2016) with a balance sheet size of Rs 33 lakh crore, with 24,017 branches and 59,263 ATMs servicing over 42 crore. The bigger balance-sheet size will enable the bank to command better terms in both international and domestic markets.

It has been a truly command performance by Bhattacharya. 

Is India prepared for demonetisation 2.0?

Demonetisation 2.0? That might happen soon. Phasing out the
Rs 2,000 note makes sense, but it should be done with caution.

Mumbai, July 27: According to reports, the Reserve Bank of India has stopped printing the Rs 2,000 currency notes altogether and will not be bringing in new notes in the current financial year. The last few weeks saw a shortage of Rs 2,000 notes. Many attribute this scarcity to cash-hoarding, given that it is easier to hoard black money in Rs 2,000 notes as compared to other denominations. But is that all?

If the government really plans to go ahead with a demonetisation drive once again, there are several things it should do, in order to avoid the chaos that the November 8, 2016 announcement caused.

1) First of all, the government should definitely not scrap both the high-value denominations. A lack of Rs 2,000 notes is something the people may be able to survive, but the absence of both notes (Rs 2,000 and Rs 500) will be tough for everyone. A section of the population may be better prepared for another wave of cashlessness, but a huge chunk still isn’t.

An RTI enquiry has revealed that the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna has 28.9 crore bank accounts as of July 14. According to an ICE 360° survey from December, 2016, covering 61,000 households 99 per cent of households in both rural and urban India have at least one member with a bank account.

But that still does not change the fact that digitisation of currency will not affect people. A bank account neither guarantees availability of accessible branches or ATMs, nor does it account for the section of people unable to use internet banking, mobile wallets and debit cards because of nonexistent infrastructure.

2) The RBI should have a new currency ready to minimise damage caused by cashlessness. A lot of problems emerged during the first wave of demonetisation and the unpreparedness was one of them. Notes were not being reprinted fast enough, bank ATMs did not have the hardware to carry the new notes and haphazard notifications from the central bank did not help any.

It is more than evident that black money cannot be flushed out by demonetising notes. In fact, a month into the drive, huge chunks of black money caught by the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate were found to be in the new currency. Additionally, the central bank is yet to give us a figure on how much of India’s estimated cash currency (in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes) have been deposited.

3) There have to be stricter laws about the use of demonetised currency for emergency services. Hospitals, petrol pumps, ration stores and pharmacies should be allowed to use demonetised notes, in case the cash shortage becomes a problem. Too many lives were lost due to mismanagement last time. The government should exercise all forms of caution this time.

The Centre is fairly unpredictable. We don't know what they can or will do. But we can speculate. And in terms of a second wave of demonetisation, the signs are abundant.

Economic Times reported that there is talk of this in Parliament as well. The Opposition on Wednesday, July 26, in Rajya Sabha asked finance minister Arun Jaitley to clarify whether the government has decided to scrap the newly launched Rs 2,000 note. Jaitley, however, did not respond.

Another report says that State Bank of India (SBI) - the country’s biggest bank - has started recalibrating the Rs 2,000 currency cassettes in a few of its ATMs to Rs 500 currency ones so that more cash can be stuffed inside the machines.

A few months ago, The Statesman reported that in order to curb fresh generation of black money, the government is preparing to gradually phase out the Rs 2,000 note. An official was quoted saying: "The idea behind introduction of the high denomination Rs 2,000 notes was to quickly remonetise the economy with the value in circulation.”

It was a stop-gap arrangement and now there is enough currency and hence the note should be given the marching orders.

A Mint report quotes an anonymous source (who is aware of the inner workings of the Reserve Bank of India), according to whom, about 3.7 billion Rs 2000 notes amounting to Rs 7.4 trillion had already been printed, when the printing process was allegedly stopped five months ago. The report also adds that RBI’s printing press in Mysuru has started printing the new Rs 200 notes, which are likely to come into circulation by August.

“Initially, around a billion Rs 200 notes are expected to hit the market,” revealed the source.

Phasing out the Rs 2,000 note makes sense. It is too huge a denomination, especially when the next biggest denomination is Rs 1,500 away. But there has to be a proper way of doing it. India managed to survive a mindless move once. The country is now stronger and will probably withstand another.

But does it still make sense to subject the population to yet another mismanaged demonetisation drive? No. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SBI takes 3 of the 12 NPAs to bankruptcy court for resolution

On June 13, the RBI had identified 12 top large loan accounts to be immediately referred to the NCLT under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

Mumbai, June 27: State Bank of India (SBI), country’s largest lender, has referred cases of three of the 12 NPAs to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) after the Reserve Bank of India’s direction to refer them under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

“Whatever has been asked for, we are doing in full force. I think 15 days’ time is over today, so the three accounts that were supposed to be taken within 15 days have been taken. In respect of the other three accounts for which we have time till, I think up to 15th of the (next) month, we will take them by that time, maybe a little earlier as well,” Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman of SBI, told reporters after the bank’s annual general meeting.

On June 13, the RBI had identified 12 top large loan accounts, accounting for 25 percent of the total bad loans in the banking system, to be immediately referred to the NCLT under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Those filed in the NCLT are likely to be among the companies such as Monnet Ispat Ltd, Alok Industries Ltd, Jyoti Structures, Amtek Auto and Essar Steel Ltd.

On Friday, the RBI further asked banks to make provisions (set aside buffer in case there is no recovery at all) of 50 percent towards the secured portion of the debt of each of the 12 accounts and 100 percent for the unsecured portion.

On the increased provisioning, Bhattacharya said, “… In all of these accounts we have pretty large provisions. So yes, we have to make a little more but it should not very badly impact the numbers.”  She added that in case a new buyer bids to buy one of the loans, the declared provisions would reduce the value of the asset.

“Only problem is that when you already make so much of provision and if there is somebody coming in order to take over that account, they will immediately take that as the lowest level of write off or hair-cut. So to that extent, we may have realised better value if we have not exactly pin pointed the amount of provisioning that we were making,” the SBI chief said. However, if there is a revival in the asset, the provisions can be written back and added to the profits of the bank.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

SBI makes Aadhaar number mandatory for all new recruits from July 1

Thiruvananthapuram, June 4:  State Bank of India (SBI) proposes to introduce from July 1, 2017, a scheme for verifying the identity of candidates applying for all its recruitment processes through Aadhaar cards. Accordingly, while applying for appointment, it will be mandatory to furnish the 12-digit Aadhaar number (or 28-digit Aadhaar enrolment ID in case the Aadhaar has been applied for, but not received).

The Aadhaar number will be used to match the biometric information taken through a biometric attendance system at the time of examination/ interview/ medical fitness test/ reporting for joining with that stored on the Aadhaar server, to establish the identity of the candidate.

The above provision is applicable in all states and union territories except Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam. Applicants from these states may user voter IDs, passports, driving licenses or any other valid document, as may be specified in the recruitment notice, as proof of identity for future recruitment in SBI.

A relevant notice issued by the SBI Central Recruitment and Promotion Department said ascertaining the identity of candidates is critical for the fair conduct of the recruitment process and ruling out impersonation. In this context, the department invoked the provisions of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits, and Services) Act, 2016 (the Aadhaar Act of 2016). The regulations under the Act have come into effect on various dates as published in the Official Gazette.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Paytm to launch payments bank on 23 May, Renu Satti to take over as CEO

New Delhi, May 17: Paytm has received the final approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and is set to launch Paytm Payments Bank on 23 May, its holding company One97 Communications Pvt. Ltd said on Wednesday.

Renu Satti, vice-president of business at Paytm, will take over as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Paytm Payments Bank, the company said. Shinjini Kumar, who was hired in February last year by Paytm to lead the payments bank, is on her way out, according to people directly involved in the matter. Kumar was a former senior executive at the Reserve bank of India.

Satti has been with Paytm for nearly a decade now and started out as manager of human resources at One97 Communications. Since then she has worked on several projects, including Paytm marketplace and the wallet business.

One97 Communications founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma was among the 11 applicants to receive RBI’s in-principle nod for a payments bank licence in November 2015.

In January, Paytm had said it received the final approvals from the RBI and was planning to start payments bank in one or two months, but the launch was delayed. In the same month, Bharti Airtel Ltd started operations for Airtel Payments Banks, a joint venture between Bharti Airtel Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

Paytm said that all active wallet accounts on the payments app will be transferred to the payments bank. “As per the directions of RBI, the company will be transferring its wallet business to the newly incorporated payments bank entity, Paytm Payments Bank Ltd, under a payment bank licence awarded to a resident Indian, Vijay Shekhar Sharma,” it said in a statement.

Paytm will allow users, who do not wish to transfer their accounts, to opt out through a written request, while for accounts dormant for six months and having zero balances, Paytm will transfer wallets only when the user notifies it to do so. Such communication will have to be made before 23 May.

Paytm Payments Bank has set itself a target of 200 million accounts, across current and savings accounts, and mobile wallets, within 12 months of the launch. It aims to touch half a billion accounts by 2020. Paytm has close to 218 million wallet accounts.

Friday, May 12, 2017

SBI New ATM, Cash Transactions Service Charges wef 01.06.2017

SBI clarified on new charges on ATM and cash transactions to be effective from June 1

New Delhi, May 11: India’s largest lender State Bank of India, revised service charges on various cash transactions for its customers, effective from June 1.

Announced in a circular on the SBI website on Thursday morning, the revisions initially created confusion among customers over news that all cash withdrawals through ATM will now be charged at Rs. 25 per transaction. The bank later clarified that the Rs. 25 charge will be levied only on withdrawing money from an ATM through SBI’s mobile wallet app “State Bank Buddy.”

In an emailed statement to NDTV Profit, an SBI spokesperson clarified that a limit of four ATM withdrawals per month only applied to the Basic Savings Banks deposit account.

All normal Saving Bank accounts will continue to get 8 free ATM transactions (5 SBI ATMs + 3 other bank ATMs) in metros & 10 free transactions in non-metros (5 SBI ATM + 5 Other Bank ATMs) free, the clarification added. 

Apart from ATM charges, SBI also  revised service charges on various cash transactions for its customers. Here are some of the other key changes.

  1. Online Transfers: Online fund transfer through IMPS will now be charged Rs. 5 plus service tax for amounts of up to Rs. 1 lakh, Rs. 15 plus service tax for above Rs. 1 lakh and up to Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 25 plus service tax for above Rs. 2 lakh and up to Rs. 5 lakh.

  1. Exchange of Soiled Notes: Going forward SBI said it will charge 2 rupees for every soiled note on exchange of more than 20 notes or if the total value of exchanged notes is above Rs. 5,000 plus service tax.

  1. Cheque Books: From June 1, a customers with a Basic Savings Bank Deposit will have to pay Rs. 30 plus service tax for a 10 leaf cheque book, Rs. 75 with service tax for 25 leaf cheque book and Rs. 150 plus service tax for a 50 leaf cheque book.

  1. Charges on ATM Cards: SBI said that issue of new debit cards will be charged from June 1 and only Rupay classic card will be issued for free.

  1. Cash Withdrawals: Customers with a Basic Savings Bank Deposit will get four free withdrawals (including ATM) in a month, after which withdrawals will be charged at Rs. 50 plus service tax at an SBI branch and at Rs. 20 plus service tax at other bank ATMS.

  • Cash deposit through banking correspondents of up to Rs. 10,000 (in multiples of 100) will be charged at 0.25 per cent of the value with a minimum of Rs. 2 and maximum of Rs. 8, plus service tax.
  • Cash withdrawal through the same channel of up to Rs. 2,000 (multiples of 100) will be charged at 2.50 per cent of the transaction value (minimum of Rs. 6), plus service tax.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

We Should Try to be Among World's Top 30: SBI

Excerpts from an interview with State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya...

On preparations for the merger

We started with putting together a team at the corporate centre and transition teams on ground. There were seven groups, including technology, accounting, credit quality, organisational structure and human resources. Each group had members from both SBI and the subsidiary working out challenges, gaps and what we wanted to achieve. Then there was the monitoring committee led by the MD of associates and subsidiaries and MDs of the associate bank. I will sit in on the review process of the plan on a quarterly basis or more frequently, if needed.

On the most challenging part of the process

Two things. The first is the HR piece. It is a question of so many people coming into the organisation. When we discuss a merger of two parties, we talk of culture. Here, the DNA and culture of seven organisations are coming together (SBI, five subsidiaries and Bhartiya Mahila Bank). We have to make sure the people are handled and re-skilled properly. HR is the biggest challenge.

The other thing is IT. While everyone uses the same central system, the versions are different, patches are different. There were 350 applications in different banks which need to be aligned. There were overlaps, so we needed to pick one. In some cases, we felt we did not need to pick it at all. We ran 62 mock trials of the data merger to ensure that the final integration works smoothly.

On whether the process will divert focus away from the core business

Not at all. For all those not involved in the merger process, it was business as usual. To ensure that people would not take their eyes off routine banking, we opened clear lines of communication. Internally, we held town halls. Deputy managing directors of subsidiaries held interactive sessions on a regular basis to ensure people didn't pull back on work.

Among customers, there is more than 80% overlap in the loan books, so teams were patched together and handed over to single customer relations managers. A few days ago, we discussed how we can showcase better abilities to the customers of erstwhile banks. Under SBI, we can offer any loan product that was not available to subsidiary customers so far.

On competing against the private sector

We will have a bigger reach along with our global presence. This is a network customers can truly leverage. It gives us an even bigger advantage in the retail space. We can leverage technology synergies. For example, a customer can generate a token number from the app and needn't stand in line at the branch. Our digital and social media efforts can now be combined. The move also frees up some very highly skilled people. Earlier, there were five treasuries using 200 people. The expanded treasury is only using 20 more people, so 180 highly-trained staff are free for other tasks.

In the corporate book, we have 80% common customers. So six independent teams were serving accounts of the big conglomerates but now we need only one. These high quality and skilled teams can be redeployed. There were also some gaps in mid-level management that arose from lower hiring in certain years. Those have been bridged completely.

On how long before competitors have to face up to the new SBI

One or maximum two quarters!

On global prospects

We will grow our international banking in a way that makes sense for us. We have some very good prospects in the neighbourhood. We will be in places where there is a market especially for our kind of offerings. We should gradually try to be among the top 30 from the current top 50 globally.

On targets from the merger

Increase the retail share in the portfolio from the current 54%. Our agri business and SME have been de-growing, which we should correct.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wage talks: ‘Conditional mandate’ to IBA irks State Bank officers’ Federation

Wage talks: ‘Conditional mandate’ to IBA irks State Bank officers’ Federation Goes against the spirit of bilateralism followed thus far, says officers’ body

Thiruvananthapuram, May 8:  A ‘conditional mandate’ given to Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) for the ongoing 11th bipartite negotiations has irked the All India State Bank Officers’ Federation (AISBOF).

“We are given to understand that the bank has given a conditional mandate authorising the IBA to negotiate in respect of officers in Scale I to III only,” Y Sudarshan, General-Secretary of the federation wrote to the Chairman of State Bank of India.

Revised mandate

“We request you to kindly send a revised mandate authorising IBA to negotiate with us on behalf of all scales, which has been the practice hitherto, based on Pillai Committee recommendations,” Sudarshan said.

The bipartite negotiations began on May 2. The conditional mandate, he said, goes against the spirit of bilateralism that has been followed thus far at the industry level.

It would hurt the sentiments not only at the bank level but also at the industry level since the AISBOF has often set the agenda for the peers. It claims to represent the interests of nearly a lakh officers.

Sudarshan recalled that the federation has been pursuing issues related to officers of all scales. It has supported all progressive initiatives of the bank, right from computerisation and business process re-engineering to merger of associate banks.

He hoped that the conditional mandate would not be stretched to the levels of hurting the sentiments of all concerned, leading to potential industrial-relations issues.

Better deal sought

Such a decision does not augur well for strengthening officers’ confidence in the bank and earning their trust. Dividing them on the basis of ‘scales’ tantamounts to ‘divide and rule’ policy that is not in the interest of either party.

Sudarshan also flagged pending issues on which the management has failed to respond despite many reminders. This included a plea for a better deal for officers of associate banks that merged into SBI as also of existing officers of SBI.

The officers have helped with the successful implementation of demonetisation but till today they have not been compensated for late-sitting or for working on holidays.

Staff strength is steadily going down increasing the work pressure, which has disturbed the work-life balance. Many of the entitlements and perks revised once in three years have not been enhanced even after four/five years, he said.

The AISBOF leader said that members would be forced to go on an agitation if these issues are not sorted out soon.

Monday, May 8, 2017

SBT branches won’t be shut immediately: SBI

Kochi, May 6: The State Bank of India has clarified that it would not immediately close down the branches of the State Bank of Travancore that merged with it recently. The assurance has come after the list of SBT branches that have been identified for closure after the merger was doing the rounds.

Now the bank is focusing on coordinating the functions of the employees as well as the customers. The SBT branches will continue to function as SBI branches for the time being, it has been clarified.

On winding up a branch, the SBI would have to surrender its license with the Reserve Bank of India. The bank does not intend to take any such action at present. It intends to relocate certain SBT branches within the same panchayat and municipal areas where they are functioning at present.

This mostly applies in the case of branches of the two banks that had been functioning in a locale or in the same building before the merger.

The SBI had identified 189 branches that needs to be relocated after the merger long back. The process would be completed only within a year or two and for the time being the branches would function without any hitch.

Now the priority is for training SBT staff to sell the banking products and improving the service to customers. Such training is progressing at various centres. Care should be taken to protect the customer base of SBT, so that other banks would not canvass them. Employees should ensure that they are getting the same service even after the merger.

But employees who have completed three years at one branch are being transferred. Additional posts are also being created for ensuring the efficient disbursal of loans to customers at certain branches.