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BW Businessworld

BW Real 500: Reducing Stress

The Punjab National Bank is working aggressively to resolve its NPA situation and improve its quality of assets

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Despite all odds, Punjab National Bank (PNB) continues to occupy the 4th position in BW Real 500 rankings — same as the last few years. According to Usha Ananthasubramanian, Managing Director & CEO, “During fiscal year 2016, we crossed several landmarks: Rs 9.65 lakh crore in global business, Rs 8.50 lakh crore in domestic business, Rs 5.50 lakh crore in global deposits, Rs 4 lakh crore in net advances, Rs 2 lakh crore in CASA deposits and Rs 12,000 crore in operating profit.”

During FY15-16, the bank organised two mega sale campaigns, under which residential, industrial and other miscellaneous categories of properties were put up for sale, with wide publicity. The events helped the bank in increased sales, and led to a substantial recovery during the year. The bank also focused on taking physical possession of immovable properties (IPs) with the help of supporting agencies or by moving applications before the DMM/CMM. This resulted in an increase in the percentage of properties under physical possession of the bank, thereby leading to more auctions under mega sale campaigns.

The accumulation of stressed assets, however, remained a concern for the bank. It initiated various measures to arrest the incremental delinquencies and fresh slippages to improve the quality of assets. In all non-performing assets (NPAs), account-specific resolution strategies were implemented and progress was monitored regularly; daily progress of recovery in NPAs (outstanding Rs 10 lakh and above) was monitored. Further, negotiated settlements through one-to-one meetings with borrowers were undertaken. The bank’s 17 asset recovery management branches (ARMBs) also functioned exclusively for resolving NPAs.

During the fiscal, the bank implemented a new strategic approach named ‘Indra Dhanush’ that charts seven key reform areas for the bank, so as to adapt, evolve and thrive in the face of increased competition in the Indian banking space. It also launched a new mobile app based e-learning platform named ‘PNB Univ.’

The bank also introduced the facility to register for mobile banking through its vast network of over 9,000 ATMs. It has successfully migrated the CBS database from M9000 servers to new Sparc Super Cluster (M6-32) servers.

PNB is in the process of introducing ‘PNB Unified Payments Interface (UPI)’, which will allow fund transfer through its mobile app, link all accounts including those with other banks and also facilitate merchants to pull the transactions through mobile apps as an alternate POS and cash transfer.

To spread financial awareness across the length and breadth of the country, the bank flagged off ‘Vitiya Jan Chetna Abhiyan.’ This programme will also emphasise on creating awareness about the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, Mudra Loans, Pradhan Mantri Jeewan Jyoti Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jan Suraksha Yojana.

Meanwhile, Ananthasubramanian sees more opportunities in housing finance sector and aims to bring down the NPA level of 2016, in this financial year. The situation looks bright after many years of struggling to clean up the books of the bank.