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SBI: Biggest Growth Catalyst

With operations in every part of the country, SBI has built a massive asset base, feeding the India growth story

Photo Credit : Bloomberg


Being the country’s oldest bank and its largest (24,500 branches), SBI tops the list of financial companies in India by a huge factor. Consider this: it has more than thrice the assets and income (based on our ranking parameters) of its nearest competitor. Little surprise then that it continues to dominate the Indian economy, providing precious growth capital to India’s millions of entrepreneurs and individuals.

Nevertheless, it is not banking on its past laurels. With technology advancing rapidly, SBI is amplifying its digital strategy, launching apps and digitalizing operations, helping reduce costs and service its vast customer base.

For example, the bank launched a comprehensive digital service platform YONO (You Only Need One), an omni-channel that offers digital banking alongside many B2C services to meet one’s lifestyle needs. The app includes service offerings in 16 categories, including electronics, travel, hospitality and many more.

The app has met with huge success, which also showcases the reach of SBI. Since its launch last year, it has registered 4.76 million downloads, and counting. It has helped the bank add over 136,000 digital and insta-savings accounts. And enabled over 6.5 lakh fund transfers and 71,000 bill payments. To top it all, the app offers additional linkages of investment portfolios in SBI Capital, life insurance and credit cards.

The bank is upping its customer service ante.  It has rolled out a Customer Experience Excellence project across 25 percent of its branches. It bank has installed self-service machines, queue-management systems, pass-book printing machines, and so on, to enable prompt and quick service to customers. The bank has also gone a 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 lending front for its SME clients, the bank has created special teams to enable SMEs avail of loans of Rs 50 lakh and less obtain better service. The team helps process online application and includes a tracking facility for MSME borrowers. Besides, the bank has been extending collateral-free lending of up to Rs 2 crore under the CGTMSE scheme, having disbursed nearly Rs 12,549 crore till March 2018.

On the rural front, the bank serves 1.35 crore farmers across India. Having raised the limit for renewal of mortgage-free crop loans from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh, the bank is seeing an increase in rural business. It recently issued 71.66 lakh KCC-ATM-Rupay cards for the ease of farmers.

It is also one of the largest employers in the country. SBI added around 71,000 employees to its workforce of around 2 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.

Risk management is a priority. The bank is also active in CSR activities spending nearly Rs 112.96 crore on various CSR activities, largely focused on skill development, sanitation, PWD, health and education, among others.

It has chalked up plans to increase growth rates to 10-12 percent from 5 percent. Rajneesh Kumar, chairman, avers in the annual report. “In the next two years, the bank will adopt a strategy that will achieve healthy credit growth of 10-12 percent by 2020.” For the country’s giant bank, that growth rate is not just a normal run, but an awesome sprint.

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