BANK’S BUSINESS; Few Suggestions. Part…..3.

In part 1(BANK’S BUSINESS; Few Suggestions. PART….1) and 2(BANK’S BUSINESS; Few Suggestions. Part….2) of the blog, different suggestions were put forth for the banks for improving the health of their institutions. Three remaining suggestions are discussed here under:-

  • Creating different layers of income

Banks shouldn’t depend on only one type of income i.e from interest on loans and advances. They have now many other fields available for creating different layers of income such as (1) Bank insurance (2) Selling of mutual funds (3) Trading of shares          (4) Providing Depository services to clients(financial services for clients) (5) Making treasury operations more efficient (6) Better cash management (7) Providing fee-based services to various Govt. departments, institutions and Corporates for collection taxes, fees or their bills (9) Providing cash management services to big religious trusts, Corporates, railways, airlines, and metros etc.(10) Providing consultancy services for different activities (11) Providing non-fund based facilities such as letter of credits and bank guarantees (12) Acting as bankers to The Issue and underwriting the Issue of shares etc. etc.

Earning income is important but plugging its leakages by exercising effective control over all types of capital and revenue expenditures too is very important. ‘Spend where necessary but strictly avoid wastage’ is a mantra for an efficient control system on revenues.

All these services are very lucrative but require properly trained and dedicated manpower to handle these portfolios.

  • Training and upgrading of knowledge.  

Providing proper training and upgrading of knowledge of the staff at the operational levels is very necessary. It is generally observed that the staff doesn’t take the training seriously and consider deputation to training as a pleasure tour on paid holidays. This concept/notion is very dangerous. Providing training to staff is a very expensive exercise and in addition to heavy expenses, it takes a toll on the quality of services which get affected during the absence of the concerned staff from their active duties. We all know that it is only the men in the armed forces who take their training very seriously because they are aware of the fact that they would be the first to suffer the consequences of not taking the training seriously.

Both these aspects of heavy expenses and non serious attitude towards training can be taken care of by following the ‘DEEP SE DEEP’ model of providing training. There is no dearth of prime training institutions in the country and abroad. A few intelligent officers from the senior scales can be deputed for training to a particular institute for training in a particular field with a clear understanding and instructions that they will follow the schedule of training very seriously, have discussions with the experts who provide training in order to remove doubt if any and come well prepared to impart the same training to other fellows in the bank on their return. These officers so trained be required to impart training to other staff members in batches at the bank’s own offices/Premise/training centres in the evening for a few hours. The staff so trained will have to follow the same routine of providing training to other staff and so on. This model will save expenses, make the trainees accountable and experts, and create in-house expertise in many fields of activities. This will also create a lasting bonding amongst various cadres of staff as well as a sense of belonging for the institution. Bank’s training centres can be made self-sustaining and income generation  units by providing training to staff of other banks in specialised fields at a suitable cost/fees.

  • Customer meets with higher level executives.

A good leader is a good listener. People want to be listened to. They feel relieved and delighted once they are listened to. They feel that they are cared for and are important. Bank’s top brass should therefore not ignore this aspect of public feeling at any cost and shouldn’t feel shy of holding customer meets and face criticism if any with a good spirit. This creates long lasting bonds with clients as they feel that they are important. Any cutoff from the masses is suicidal for the banks. Banks, therefore, need to remain in touch with their customers, listen to them and implement the good suggestion forwarded by them.

BANK’S BUSINESS; Few Suggestions. Part….2

In part one of the blog suggestions regarding resource mobilization were discussed (BANK’S BUSINESS; Few Suggestions. PART….1). In this part, few suggestions are offered for an effective and healthy credit dispensation. A healthy credit dispensation requires:-

  1. Selection of a developing and long lasting sector/a viable economic activity for credit dispensation.
  2. Selection of the right prospective borrower/group of borrowers.
  3. Proper and scientific evaluation of the proposed activity/ proposal of the prospective borrower.
  4. Proper evaluation of the risk factors involved and mitigation of the same.
  5. Availability of adequate tangible and purposeful security as well as ensuring the availability of proper margin( Borrower’s part of the investment in the proposed project/activity).
  6.  A proper evaluation of the proposal at all levels and disbursement of the same by the dedicated, sincere, honest, and well trained and qualified staff.
  7. Need-based disbursement of the loan after proper execution of the required legal documents and after meeting all the terms and conditions prescribed in the sanction letter.
  8. A regular post disbursement followup to ensure that the funds disbursed are actually utilized for the purpose for which the same have been disbursed.
  9. Regular spot inspections of the unit in order to ensure that the same is running properly and the inventory level is not depleting.
  10. Timely renewal of the facilities allowed/DP note and periodical valuation of the property mortgaged to ensure that its distress sale value is sufficient to cover the amount outstanding at any given time.
  11. A regular follow up of the loan portfolio.
  12. Any concession in the rate of interest in any sector shouldn’t be upfront, rather it should be a backend offer on the timely repayment of the loans. This would encourage timely repayment of loans and prevent them from slipping to the NPA category.
  13. A timely action for regularization of any account showing signs of sickness is always a better option. (Bank’s NPAs. Causes and Remedies.
  14. Very effective and robust recovery management. (Management of NPAs -Some recovery techniques. )
  15. Settlement of NPA account by negotiation should never be less than the value of all the available securities including the personal as well as third-party guarantee available, and the same should cover the amount due in full with up to date interest including all legal or other costs. Concession if any should not be encouraged and be given only in very deserving cases on the merits of each case.

Although absolute freedom is not available for exercising  the choice for selection of a sector for credit dispensation in view of the social responsibilities on the shoulders of the banks, yet they should after meeting their responsibility of financing the social sector/priority and the neglected sector, make a firm choice for deployment of their funds in the sectors of their choice where they have trust, experience, and confidence. Niche banking is always preferable unless the staff is well trained to handle all other sectors. Many banks have suffered a lot by fishing in the troubled waters in absence of experience to swim across the tides.

Selection of the borrower should be independent. Undue laxity, influence, or any pressure is sure to bring bad results. There should be no compromise in the selection, appraisal, sanction, and disbursement of the loan. BANKERS MUST BEAR IN MIND THE FACT THAT ONCE THEY COMPROMISE IN THE SELECTION, APPRAISAL, SANCTION, AND DISBURSEMENT  OF ANY LOAN DUE TO ANY CONSIDERATIONS, BE IT POLITICAL PRESSURE OR OTHERWISE, THEY WOULD AT THE END HAVE TO COMPROMISE A LOT WHILE RECOVERING SUCH LOAN. There is no dearth of live examples of such cases, especially in the very recent past.

There should never be any haste in the sanctioning the loan and nor should there be any undue delay. Evaluation of a proposal has to take some justifiable time. After all, it pertains to the parting with the public money which the public has kept with us with extreme confidence and trust. Unless we maintain that trust, we can’t expect to attract good resources.

Every activity has an element of risk attached to it. This has to be honestly identified and properly provided for. Suitable legal and tangible securities which are properly identified are to be obtained in addition to getting the same along with all inventories properly insured against all risks. All risk mitigation factors as advised by the risk management departments of the respective banks be adequately taken care of. Banks these days are offering margin free loans i.e 100% financing and which is not a healthy proposition. The borrower must have some stake in the activity financed to him or otherwise, he would have no pains/interest in carrying out the activity judiciously as he has nothing to lose in case of a failure.

Four qualities/attributes of the staff; Honesty, Sincerity, Dedication, and a deep Sense of Belonging for the institution are the basic necessity for building a strong financial institution. Any lacking in these basic convictions in the staff is bound to dupe the banking sector. There is no dearth of allurements to staff and once they swallow the bait, the hook is sure to get entangled in the throat of the staff as well as the bank resulting into very heavy losses. Therefore staff in the bank and especially in the credit department should be honest, dedicated, sincere and well trained and their knowledge should be got periodically updated so as to keep them abreast with the day to day changes in their field of activity. There should never be square pegs in the round holes in the credit department because of the sensitivity of this very vital portfolio in the banking sector.

Once the loan is sanctioned, both the proposed borrower as well as the branch staff are relieved and excited. This is the time when most of the mistakes are made. Even a single penny shouldn’t be released unless all legal documents are properly executed, got vetted, and all terms and conditions of the sanction letter have properly been complied with.

The sanctioned amount is to be released in need-based installments and utilization of the disbursed amount must be ensured by conducting on-site physical verification as well as from the bills produced/GST paid vouchers etc. Every loan disbursed needs regular follow up till it is fully repaid with interest. You ignore this and you will lose sight of the same and land in trouble. Giving loan and its regular follow-up are similar to sowing a crop and taking care for its growth by regular visits to the field, ensuring proper watering, hoeing, proper manuring, de watering where required, spraying of pesticides/insecticides and timely harvesting. Unless this is not done, the crop is bound to fail. Same applies to the loans disbursed.

Handling the credit portfolio is a highly technical job so needs to be handled by well experienced staff with utmost care. The changing economic situation and its exposure beyond the national and international borders makes lending more vulnerable to various risks. An inept handling of this sector therefore is a risky proposition and therefore needs to be handled by men of integrity, experience, and knowledge of the concerned subject………..To be continue as part 3.







BANK’S BUSINESS; Few Suggestions. PART….1

Banks these days are under tremendous pressure for mobilizing resources as well as for credit dispensation in social as well as in other financial sectors. A very simple definition of banking is, ‘ TAKING MONEY, GIVING MONEY AND MAKING MONEY’. Banks don’t have their own funds. They take it from the public, lend again to the public, and in the process make money for themselves. They have to ensure that the procedure of running the bank is safe, secured, and a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. Seven things are very important for the banks to run their business in a secure, profitable, and growth-oriented manner;-

  1. A sound resource base.
  2. A proper credit dispensation under well-trained staff (Bank’s NPAs. Causes and Remedies). in a  secured, lucrative, and risk-free market.
  3. A robust follow-up and effective recovery. management system. Management of NPAs -Some recovery techniques.
  4. An intelligent inspection and supervision control DEFECTS IN BANK AUDITS AND INSPECTIONS system.
  5. Non banking/para-banking activities for creating different layers of income.
  6. A systematic system for training and skill development of staff.
  7. Regular contact with the client/public and listening/understanding and appreciating their point of view for a better brand building.

For creating resources Banks try to attract deposits from the public by tailoring different products suiting the capacity, requirement, and affordability of the public. Various products are made by the banks with an eye on a particular segment of society. Fixed deposits with different maturities for those who can afford to deposit fixed sums for a fixed period of time. Monthly deposits for those who can’t afford a fixed sum but can spare a comparatively lesser amount every month. Schemes for pensioners, senior citizens, Students, girl child, salaried class, industrial workers etc. etc. Current accounts for the business and trading community. Saving accounts for general savings etc. etc.

Although scores of schemes for resource mobilisation are launched by the controlling offices yet at the operating level only a few traditional schemes are given preference and the rest find a very little attention, with the result that many target groups remain untapped. Operational level, therefore, needs to focus on all the schemes and try to sell all the products available in their kitty. They should fix scheme/products wise targets of all the products launched by the bank. Staff members should be assigned individual targets of all such schemes and the controlling office should keep an eye on such programmes and encourage staff in meeting their targets

There are some very attractive schemes especially for salaried persons, professionals, self-employed, students, and even the business people who can accumulate wealth by taking benefit of monthly deposit schemes which unlike the saving bank account which has a very low rate of return. These schemes have yields available for the term/fixed deposit. Even the last few installments in such accounts attract the higher rate of interest equivalent to that of fixed deposits. For example, if a normal branch by its concerted efforts opens 1000 such accounts in a year with an average monthly deposit of Rs.5000 per month will mobilise 6 crores of rupees in one year. The figure will go up to 18 crores in 2nd year if another 1000 accounts are added in that year, If the same momentum of opening 1000 account with an average of Rupees 5000 per month is maintained for five years, the deposit growth would go to 36 crores in the third year, Rs.60 crores for the 4th and Rs 90 crores for the 5th year. A normal bank with say 1500 very effective branches will this way mobilize resources to the tune of Rs.135000 crores in just five years. Is not this growth pattern most attractive? and does this not deserve to be paid very focussed attention at all operating levels?.

For the promotion of all such schemes, all that is needed is awareness amongst the staff which further to be spread amongst the public by organizing awareness camps, special deposit mobilization fortnights with individual targets for all the staff members who have to work as a team. Rewards and appreciation letters can be offered to the staff for exceeding their targets as well as for topping in their district. or zone or in the bank as a whole.

Newspaper or other paid media advertisements are a costly affair and the public doesn’t pay much heed to such advertisements. It is advisable to distribute printed pamphlets to the public during awareness camps, through the services of newspaper vendors and also by talking to walk-in customers. A WORD OF MOUTH IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A WRITTEN PASSAGE.

One thing lacking in the modern time branches is proper visibility of the products in the shelf of the banks for its clients/public and the rates at which these are available. We presume that the client or the public knows everything but the fact remains that the sale persons at the counters themselves are not aware of the products available in their stores and their attractive features themselves. This needs serious remedial action by the main leadership of the banks………….(To be continued in part 2)