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A Giant Awakens

‘The bank is actively exploring the use of AI, cloud platforms and tie-ups with fintechs to speed up processes’

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OTS gargantuan size, with over 24,500 branches, renders revamping the State Bank of India an arduous task. Yet this banking behemoth is leveraging the latest technology and its enormous reach to bank on making an impact among the masses, particularly through launching apps and platforms to enable transactions for customers but a breeze.

The bank recently launched a comprehensive digital service platform, YONO, for ‘You Only Need One.’ As an integrated omni-channel, YONO offers banking and digital services along with access to a large B2C market to meet lifestyle needs. The app caters to the needs of individuals in 16 categories, including electronics, travel, hospitality, among others.

Since launch, the app has registered more than 4.76 million downloads with 136,000 digital and insta-savings accounts opened. It has executed 652,000 fund transfers, with over 71,000 bill payments conducted. Over and above this, individuals can link their SBI Capital portfolios, life insurance, and SBI credit cards.

Besides, the SBI has rolled out a Customer Experience Excellence Project across more than 25 per cent of its branches with self-service machines and has enabled a queue-management system for prompt service to customers. The bank has also gone one step further in innovation: several of its branches provide sbiINTOUCH, which offers services such as printing of debit cards in 15 minutes. For individuals who have lost or damaged their debit cards, sbiINTOUCH can instantly re-issue a new photo-debit card.

On the business front, the bank has undertaken several initiatives. To enhance the ease of doing business for small enterprises, it has created asset-management teams to provide end-to-end solutions for SMEs availing of loans of Rs 50 lakh and less. It also hosts an online application and tracking facility for MSME borrowers. Besides, it has been extending collateral-free lending of up to Rs 2 cro re under the CGTMSE scheme, having disbursed nearly Rs 12,549 crore till March 2018.

Additionally, it has sharpened focus on the rural sector, serving 1.35 crore farmers across India. It has raised the limit for renewal of mortgage-free crop loans from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh. Also, it recently issued 71.66 lakh KCC-ATM-Rupay cards for ease of farmers.

As of last year, the SBI added around 71,000 employees to its workforce of around two lakh due to the merger of its subsidiaries and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank. Initiatives such as ‘Sangam’ helped in the smooth on-boarding of the new employees. It also rolled out a scheme called ‘SBI Gems’ to reward junior colleagues. Besides, a helpline has been introduced for employees to resolve HR issues.

On the financial front, the bank has strengthened its risk-management systems. Also, it has spent nearly Rs 112.96 crore on various CSR activities, largely focused on skill development, sanitation, PWD, health and education, among others.

On the business front, it has been growing at a steady 5 per cent, but plans to up its growth rate to around 10-12 per cent. “In the next two years, the bank will adopt a strategy that will achieve healthy credit growth of 10-12 per cent by 2020,” said Chairman Rajneesh Kumar.

With the issues of asset quality being sorted out, Kumar said: “The bank is actively exploring the use of AI, cloud platforms and collaboration with fintechs to improve and speed up processes. The investment in digital banking by your bank will pay rich dividends as issues of asset quality are sorted out.” Seems like the perception regarding the bank is set to change from an also-ran to a trendsetter.

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