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United India Insurance - Rs 110 crore losses have been claimed till now due to floods in Tamil Nadu Aadhaar, niraadhaar and banking Why any time money? Rationalised Bottomlines shrink, bad loans rise... Small finance banks offer high interest rates Perhaps small is more beautiful than big! Stage set for Indian ‘avatar’ of foreign banks Thirty more cities seek to become SMART Drop in SLR- sparing lendable resources New capitals of Migrant banks The paradox: clamour for the Goliath and David Financial inclusion vs unclaimed deposits Governance in Reverse Gear? A development bank for BRICS Cautious and considerate Small is ‘more’ beautiful Another route for achieving financial inclusion Anytime banking to anywhere banking Targets continue to be ad hoc How ‘secure’ are the secured loans? Growing gainfully Why priority status? Greet Lakshmi the banking robot Smart banking in smart cities Ernakulam excels... All that glitters is not gold... Insatiable appetite for credit Good, bad and ugly Monetary policy continues to adopt dis-inflationary path Cradle of banks to a smart city... Capital base of regional rural banks raised One down in private sector Ferrying digital banking to Lakshadweep New bank licences, at last... Grows Bigger Cut in repo rate – lower than expected Hesitancy in announcing year-end results Managing NPAs... Fund healthcare clinics in villages... Lacklustre credit expansion Emerging crisis Well-lived... Small finance payment banks... Banking on Risk Nothing much can happen…. Bank deposits account for 46.3 per cent of household savings Drastic decline in asset quality Banking in Telangana The collaboration suite of cyber criminals Big bank merger, bigger expectations LVB- A supermarket of financial services Needed a Banking Atlas Who is the real beneficiary? A bank for women, by women Two banks: their jubilees and performances From lazy banking to easy banking Growing volume of stressed assets… Just 660 days! Target over-ambitious... What is the priority – mergers or NPA reduction? Reaching out: is it slowing down? Payment banks have arrived A new development bank rising in the east… Mega merger is on Holy or unholy? Banking overhauling or reorganisation? It’s a war on black money, support it. Too big to fail and too small to sail Merger mania haunts banks Reaching the Unreached… Indian customers are tech savvy How okay are new banks?
 
From lazy banking to easy banking
Gyan Sangam was the high profile retreat of bank executives organised by the Finance Ministry, Government of India, at Pune.

It was a rare occasion, where the Prime Minister attended the bankers’ meet along with the Finance Minister, the Governor of Reserve Bank of India and the top officials of the Finance Ministry.

The deliberations of the two-day meet were focused. The outcome has been positive in directing the banking sector to improve its operational mechanism to respond to the changing aspirations of the masses, without sacrificing efficiency.

 

Reaching out to the unreached...

Providing easy accessibility to banking services for the poor continued to be the major thrust area. Banks have travelled miles since the launching of the National Mission for Financial Inclusion in August last year, under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana. It appears that banks have collectively opened 10.63 crore new basic savings bank accounts.  Nearly 78 percent of these accounts are having zero balance of deposits, while 2.30 crore accounts are having a total deposit of Rs.8369 crore. According to Census 2011, the percentage of households availing banking services was 58.7 and it has now risen to 98 percent. With this remarkable achievement, banks must now ensure that the accounts with zero balance do not slip into dormant accounts.


Curtailing non-performing assets (NPA)

The rise in NPAs is a cause for concern. According to the Reserve Bank of India, the gross NPA has increased to 4.5 per cent and net NPA has gone up to 2.5 per cent of the total advances as on September 2014. Banks have been directed to strengthen their risk management apparatus to receive early warning signals. The government is planning to make laws relating to recovery of dues more stringent by amending the SARFAESI Act. Laws pertaining to debt recovery tribunals (DRT) are also expected to be amended to effectively deal with bad loans and willful defaulters.

 

Maintaining autonomy of banks

Political interference in the public sector banks’ operations has been an issue which could not be eliminated so far. This is reflected in the nomination of directors in the banks’ boards also. The Prime Minister has assured bankers that there would not be any interference by the PMO. It is highly desirable to include in the board, experts in financial management and even retired bank executives of proven track record, instead of persons owing allegiance to political parties.

It was decided to leave the decision of bank mergers to the banks themselves: no bank merger would be initiated by the government. Merger is not a desirable strategy at this stage as it is bound to dilute the amalgamated banks’ interest in intensifying their recovery drives.  Also the mere merger of banks is not going to make the public sector banks competitive, so long as they continue to carry less remunerative business components.

 

Improving the human resources

Banking sector employs over a million. But for their participation, it could not have reached out to over 150 crore households across India. So far no thought has been devoted to making them the shareholders of banks. As the Government of India is planning to reduce its shareholding in the public sector banks, bank staff may be encouraged to become shareholders. When the wage revision is being negotiated, the staff may be advised to invest at least 10 per cent of the enhanced wages in their own banks’ shares. The officers and workmen are represented by their elected leaders as directors in the banks. It is time the banks’ unions consider the feasibility of investing in the banks’ shares. n

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