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)

 

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BANKS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Banks at present are under tremendous stress because of ever-rising nonperforming assets (NPAs) and huge frauds which have taken a big toll on their profits, thus resulting into deterioration in their balance sheets as well as the brand image in the eyes of the public. Under these testing times, Banks are facing huge challenges which need to be faced with courage, maturity, dedication, hard work and tact. The challenges at present are enumerated as under:-

  1. The health of the Banks:-  The mounting NPAs, losses due to big frauds and continuous increase in operating expenses due to periodic increase in various types of variable costs such as salary, fuel, rent, and boarding lodging expenses are a big challenge for the banks to meet. These are a serious threat to the overall health of the banks. Concerned with this trend The Indian Banks Association (IBA) has offered a shockingly meager increase of only 2% to the bankers during the negotiations for the revision of their salary. This may be a cruel joke with the bankers but it speaks volumes about the health of the banks.
  2. Keeping the flock together:- Under the stress on resources, the workers get demoralized and start losing interest in the institution. Some may try to change job or search for the greener pastures. Only a team with high moral and a deep sense of belonging (A SENSE OF BELONGING)can keep the institution strong. This challenge needs a good and inspiring leadership at the top who could keep the flock together by providing guidance, hope, and good future to the stakeholders.
  3. Maintaining a sustainable growth:- With the graphs showing downwards trends, it is becoming difficult to manage growth in face of the tough national and international competition. All high-value proposals of multinational companies are taken by foreign banks who provide them credit at very cheaper rates because their cost of funds is very low. They can afford to give loans at thinner spreads and still make handsome profits because of high volumes and low cost of transactions. Because of reduced interests on deposits, the depositors are not attracted towards banks as in some cases, the net interest income after payment of income tax doesn’t cover the cost of inflation. Added to this is the fear in minds of the depositors about the introduction of a new law about bail-in in the banking sector, which though has been put on the back burners but people still have a fear in mind that the ghost may reappear at any time. They ponzy schemes and the crypto currencies like the Bitcoins have taken a big toll on the deposits of the banks. In view of stress on resources,  the banks are unable to fund large proposals.
  4. In-cumbersome procedures:-The age-old procedures of processing proposals with a lot of paperwork especially for the small traders and businesses and other small loans, discourage the perspective loanees from coming forward. Although some progress has been made in simplifying the procedure yet a lot needs to be done in order to attract customers.
  5. Comparatively Smaller unit size and strength of Banks:- Barring very few banks like State bank of India, the size, strength, capital base, and technological exposure of our banks is no match with the foreign banks. With the globalization and the world becoming a global village, our banks have to compete with the foreign banks. This is not possible unless we match their strength as well as the cost of operations.
  6. Diminishing of the physical interface:- With the introduction of technology in the banks, there is less interface with the customers as most of the transactions are done through the internet, mobile, or online banking, as is done in the foreign countries. Our culture, traditions, and behavior are different from theirs. Face to face interaction has an element of emotion to which we are used to, and the absence of which creates dryness in the relationship. With the increased size of business as well as the number of customers, it may be difficult to keep interface contact with them.
  7. Replacing the outdated technological infrastructure:- In order to match the competitors, the technological infrastructure needs to be updated or replaced with the more sophisticated and efficient one. This may not be economically feasible for the weak banks but in the face of competition and to ensure sustainable growth it becomes imperative to go for it. To stay in the market, an appreciable increase in the volume of business can only take care of the cost factor involved in the upgrading of electronic infrastructure. Only big volumes can reduce the cost of the transaction. The recent case of heavy costs incurred by banks while replacing the currency note holding trays of lakhs of ATMs, when the Govt. introduced new currency notes in place of old notes of different denominations is a live example of updating technology under compulsion in order to stay active in the market.
  8. Strengthening of internal controls:- In view of the rising NPAs and incidences of frauds, the strengthening of internal controls (DEFECTS IN BANK AUDITS AND INSPECTIONS) at any cost has become very urgent. The recovery of NPAs and strengthening of internal controls, management audit, effective inspections and audits of all operational activities, and forensic audits may add costs to the already burdened banks but there is no escape and must be activated in a mission mode in order to regain the public confidence.
  9. Skill building and succession planning:- Advance training in specialized fields and skill upgrading of staff is need of the hour. Gone are the days when banking was every body’s job and bankers used to be a jack of all trades but masters of none. Now with a lot of advancement in the banking field, new innovative ideas are the order of the day in order to beat the competition and the challenges. Value addition to banking products with fine packing and branding which may suit the tastes, requirements, and choices of the customers have to be tailored in order to stay ahead in the competitive atmosphere. A robust and sustainable succession planning must be done at least for the next two decades and which may be reviewed and upgraded periodically.
  10. Setting up an advisory for the clients and brand building:- The Brand building is a long and continuous process. Successful leaders have built successful Brands which have resulted in heavy returns for their businesses. A product can be easily copied by anyone but a brand can’t be copied. Banks need to attract more clients by providing them with the products suitable to their requirements and choice. The markets and businesses now are not protected against competition from across the international borders especially after the signing of the world trade agreement. Now only the strongest,  the fittest, and those who can afford to adopt a change can survive; others are bound to vanish from the scene. Under such circumstances, banks are bound to suffer losses as their products are exposed to greater risks. This is one of the reasons for a spurt in the level of NPAs of banks in the last few years.                                                                                                                                           THIS IS A BIG CHALLENGE FOR THE BANKS AND FOR MEETING THE SAME BANKS NEED TO PROVIDE EXPERT ADVICE TO THEIR CLIENTS AND FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEIR SURVIVAL. BANKS NEED TO ESTABLISH ADVISORY WITH EXPERTS WHO COULD PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO THEIR CLIENTS FOR SURVIVAL. The upcoming of big Malls, online shopping through big international giants like AMAZON, ALIBABA, FLIPKART, SNAPDEAL etc have adversely affected the retail market in the country. In order to compete with these big sharks, the retailers have to come up with a matching model of business in the market. Banks have to come up with new innovative models for their clients in their own interests.
  11. Retaining the existing clients:- In view of the tough competition in the sector, banks have a big challenge ahead in retaining the existing clients not speak of adding more to their kitty. The clients have various options and opportunities available to them, so the banks need to ensure that none of the good clients slips out of their grip. Gone are the days when there used to be a customer loyalty and attachment with their banks. Now the customers change banks more often than their vehicles. A regular contact with the customer/ holding customer meets by higher executives whose words and decisions matter need to be organized in order to create more confidence and bonding with the customers. Good leaders are good listeners and people love to be listened to. Promoting and advertising of banks products is very necessary. One of the cheapest ways to promote and advertise banks products is to feed their salient features as caller tunes into thousands of the mobile phones of staff members. In addition to products, the caller tune can be made to contain a mission or a brand promoting song. 

Good leaders have the tact and the wisdom to convert their weaknesses into their strengths and challenges into opportunities. All that is required is a strong will, dedication, a deep sense of belonging to the institution, and a good team of dedicated staff.

OPPORTUNITIES:- While there are big challenges, there exist equal opportunities also. Some of the opportunities available to banks are…..

  1. Big market and big population:- The size of the market is fast increasing and in order to meet the requirements of the second largest population of the world, which is increasing by 20 million souls every year, ample opportunities are becoming available  to the banks to finance in all sectors, may it be agriculture, horticulture and allied, industry and manufacturing, trade and services, infrastructure, mining, shipping, transport, power, tourism and so on. In addition to this, banks have the opportunities to go for business beyond the international boundaries as the entire world is open to them for doing business. All that is required is strength and will.
  2.  The country still not fully developed:- The country is still not fully developed and there is a lot of scope for investment in almost all sectors of the economy. Still, we are calling for FDI in various fields for economic development. Banks need to enlarge their capital and size to substitute the FDI. There is no dearth of opportunities, banks need to redraw their working models suiting the economic activity and matching the foreign banks.
  3.  Advisory services:- With the advent of an open economy, there is a need to change business models in almost all sectors. Banks can provide services for providing training to clients in order to take up new business models and earn some fees and attract customers. This is already being done on a small scale by banks and govt. like some awareness programs for artisans, farmers, and agriculturists etc. EDP(entrepreneurship development programs) are conducted by EDI in the country where banks can participate and attract young budding entrepreneurs.

Money blocked in NPAs and loss assets:- There is a lot of money blocked in NPAs and loss assets on account of money lost in frauds and for which banks have already made provisions out of their incomes. These block of funds are in a way HARD AND A LITTLE TOUGH MINES of reserves for the banks. Any recovery from these heads adds to the income and overall health of the banks. These reserves must be tapped by effective recovery techniques (Management of NPAs -Some recovery techniques.) and maximum effort needs to be made to address further slippage to this category. (Bank’s NPAs. Causes and Remedies.)

Rod and reward:- Banks must not spare the rod wherever required and should not become a miser while promoting the talent and rewarding the performers.

Challenges make one more strong. Challenges provide an opportunity to face hard situations and increase one’s self-confidence. They provide an opportunity to prove your will and strength. A nation becomes strong only when it faces challenges and so are the banks. Banks have to take these challenges in the right perspective which ultimately will change their fate.

DWINDLING TRUST IN BANKS- 20 Steps/ Remedial measures Suggested

The deteriorating health of banks during the past couple of years has shaken the public confidence in the banking systems. The ever-increasing NPAs which at present are estimated to have touched a whopping figure of about Nine lakhs crores sends shivers down the spine of the stakeholders. Every year a fresh and heavy dose is added to the portfolio of bad loans and the trend doesn’t seem to have an end. This volcanic effect if not arrested, will wipe out the important agent of economy i.e. banking from the scene.

Another monster endangering the industry is the increasing incidences of big frauds in the banking sector in the recent years. It appears as if the bankers have surrendered before the fraudsters and the defaulters. The causes have already been discussed in earlier blogs Defects in bank audits and inspections and Bank’s NPAs. The faith and trust of the public in the banking sector is shaken badly. BANK IS THE OTHER NAME OF TRUST. PEOPLE KEEP MONEY WITH BANKS ON THE TRUST THAT THEY WILL GET GOOD RETURNS AND THEIR FUNDS WOULD REMAIN SAFE. However, with all said and done, the following 20 measures are suggested to regain public confidence in the banking sector:-

  1. Remove uncertainty in the banking operations once for all. Clean up the balance sheet and don’t keep any NPAs under the lid. Any evergreening or hiding of NPAs may be a short time solution but its effects are dangerous. BRING COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY IN THE OPERATIONS.
  2. Once done, you can start afresh and can put the progress on track and by moving slowly and cautiously you can regain the lost speed by putting in more vigor, experience, honesty, and hard work.
  3. With speed, you need to avoid accidents by choosing the right tracks and extra vigilance. Make internal inspection and controls more effective and purposeful rather than a mere formality. The concurrent audit is a very effective tool for inspections as it nips the evil in the bud. Make it more effective by allocating the job to experienced and hard working people. More stress should be on spot rectification rather than just pointing out and reporting. Any mistake or an irregularity if allowed to stay for some time takes roots and destroys the system, so spot rectification is need of the hour to stop the spread of the weed.
  4. At present, there seem to be too many inspections by different departments and controlling heads and some of which are an overlapping on one and the other. Too much of everything is bad including the number of inspections. The number doesn’t matter, it is the quality which counts. It is generally seen that inexperienced people and not so good performers are placed in the audit and inspection wings in the bank. This attitude needs to be totally changed, and efficient, knowledgeable and hardworking people should be allocated this job. Unless a serious thought is given to this issue and the inspection/audit deptt. is not strengthened, the chances of intrusions into the systems would continue, thereby adversely affecting the health of the banks.
  5. Specially trained staff should handle credit appraisals, sanctions, and disbursement of loans. Follow up of credit disbursed should be done on time and in a very effective manner. Inexperienced and untrained staff is prone to make mistakes, mishandle, and ultimately land the bank in trouble. Don’t jump into the fields about which you have no experience. Many banks went into trouble especially in the consortium financing because of their lack of adequate experience and blindly following the leader of the consortium.
  6. Controlling offices to be more vibrant and vigilant. Every tier through which the credit proposal moves including the board of directors, must add value to the proposal and share responsibility. No one can shirk responsibility on the pretext of being nontechnical in the respective field. This is a very dangerous attitude. People at the helm should be more serious, accountable and responsible.
  7. Banks should have experts as directors on the boards of the bank who could provide better guidance and direction based on their rich expertise and experience in their respective fields. Persons with political leanings/connections should as far as possible be not appointed as directors on the boards of the banks.
  8. A periodic rotation/shifting of people in the credit wing be done regularly as well as proper training and refresher courses be conducted for the persons handling credit in order to keep them abreast with day to day changes in the credit market, its procedures, and emerging risks.
  9. No proposal should be handled in a hurry. It may be processed expeditiously but not in a hurry. The prospective borrower is always in hurry, make him appreciate that even hurry takes some time. There have been instances when the highest body of the bank i.e. board of directors have complained that sufficient time was not provided for evaluating the agenda of the board meeting and some proposals were introduced as a supplementary agenda item on the day of the board meeting. How can one expect any value addition by any expert to such an item on the agenda?
  10. With the digital and online banking have taken roots, the interface interaction with the customers seem to have taken the back seat. Although the banks have effective complaint redressal systems yet face to face interaction is very important. Banks must conduct periodic customer meets at all levels and listen to the point of view and suggestions of customers and redress their grievances if any. The customer is the working capital of the bank. His suggestions must be evaluated and acted upon on merits of each case.
  11. Interaction with the staff by the executives at different levels helps in knowing their expectations from the bank as well as sharing the expectations of the management with the staff. This needs to be done periodically wherein individual staff targets can be set and evaluated. The concerns and policies of the bank must be shared with the staff as a family and they should be involved in the overall development of the institution and encouraged to meet individual targets. This can help banks to build good teams and induce a sense of responsibility, understanding, and a deep sense of belonging to the institution.
  12. The policy decisions of the board as well as of the regulators must be strictly followed in letter and spirit.
  13. Banks must learn from the past experience and avoid entering into waters whose depth and force of the flow is not known.
  14. Avoid wasteful and avoidable expenditure as you are under the constant public glare. This creates a lot of negative publicity for the institution.
  15. The seniors at all levels have to be a role model for others in the field of dedication, devotion, hard work, honesty, transparency, simplicity, no favoritism, and expenditure control.
  16. Banks should not spare the rod where ever required without any prejudice or bias. They should also be not miser in encouraging and promoting people to achieve the given targets.
  17. Banks must have a workable and sound whistleblower policy. People at the top need to be sensitive to even minor and feeble signals of misdeeds by anyone in the institution. They should read between the lines and make independent investigations where ever required.
  18. Banks should create and strengthen other layers of income from para-banking activities and also try to increase income from fee-based and non-fund based business.
  19. Banks, till date, had been enjoying the luxury of managing comfortable NIM (Net interest margin) which is a ratio of the difference in interest earned on assets and interest paid on deposits to the assets. Since there are a number of well-organized trade and industry association both at the local and national level who manage to get the interest on trade and industrial loans reduced, but unfortunately there is hardly any organized body representing the depositors who can watch their interests. The result is that depositors have no option than to accept whatever is offered to them. The consumers of the credit manage a good deal, banks manage a comfortable NIM, and all this adversely affects the returns for the depositors. This situation is fast changing with more awareness especially through the internet and the depositors are searching for the better green pastures in the shape of mutual funds and other instruments with better security and returns. The shift of capital to cryptocurrencies is a matter of concern for the banks. In such circumstances, the banks may find it a bit hard to mobilize funds except after sacrificing a good part of their NIM.
  20. In view of above banks need to make long-term strategies for managing funds and lay more stress on non-fund based and fee-based income. A more scientific asset liability management and better risk management strategy will go along way in increasing incomes of the banks. The funds locked in bad debts need a special focus of the top management. The recently passed insolvency and bankruptcy act is a boon for the secured creditors though with a cost yet very useful for recovery and cleaning the balance sheets of the banks. The suggestions put forth are not exclusive and the banks can take any other measure to improve its working and image in the overall interests of all the stakeholders and also in order to regain the lost ground.

DEFECTS IN BANK AUDITS AND INSPECTIONS

These days most of the Banks are suffering from the problems of Bad Loan around the world especially the Asian countries. As a result of globalization, any failure in banking systems in any part of the globe affects the banks in other countries too. The subprime lending in American banks had its effects in the banking sectors across the globe.

The recent trend of increasing NPAs and frauds happening in the banking sector is a serious matter which has shaken the confidence of not only of the depositors and other stakeholders but also that of the general public in the banking institutions.

This trend needs to be curbed in order to improve the confidence of the public in the banking systems. The reasons for loans becoming NPA is already discussed in the blog Bank’s NPAs. Causes and Remedies. The reasons for frauds may be:-

  • Due to staff negligence/Connivance.
  • Lack of proper supervision and controls.
  • Lack of experience, knowledge and adequate training for the staff.
  • The absence of corporate governance GOOD GOVERNANCE from the banking systems.

Most of the frauds have happened due to the staff connivance and it appears as if these were like a consensual rape. Unless there are strict deterrents in place, the frauds will continue to happen. Any laxity in taking strict actions against the delinquent staff of all cadres, overtly or covertly involved in the frauds will continue encouraging them to commit more frauds. Many big and small frauds have happened in the past, but hardly there is any action against the perpetrators, more so, in the higher cadres. Only a few of the small fish is caught in the net and the big ones are allowed to escape. All those who are involved in the crime need to be named, shamed and severely punished. There should be no place for the dishonest people in the financial sector as they not only spoil the sacred institutions by themselves but also induce others to follow the dirty trend.

However, merely Staff is not responsible for all the deceit in the system, there are many problems with the audits and inspections in the banking system too. The staff hardly gets time to attend or go through all the voluminous audit and inspection reports. Many inspections are just repetition of each other and need to be done away with. Nothing can be achieved by repeating the inspections as a mere formality. Only effective inspections and audits should be carried out. At present, the banks go for following audits and inspections.

(A). Internal.

Internal audits and inspections are carried out by banks own staff or by an independent party for checking their health as well as to analyze the operational efficiency. These are:-

  • Internal inspections mostly conducted by the bank staff only.
  • The concurrent audit carried out daily by specially engaged concurrent auditors.
  • Snap inspections by all senior executives every month.
  • Credit audit and stock audits.
  • Revenue audit.
  • Information system audit.
  • Management audit.
  • Forensic audit.
  • Compliance audit.

(B) Statutory.

Statutory audits are conducted by the qualified chartered accountants duly approved by the Reserve Bank Of India. These mandatory audits form the base for the banks yearly balance sheets to be placed before the shareholders in the annual general meeting for approval. The purpose of these audits is to report the state of the bank’s finances and accounts to the Government. These are of two types

  • Tax audit.
  • Company audit/ Financial audit.

(C). RBI audit.

It is conducted by the auditors/Inspectors of RBI in order to ensure that the banks are working within the norms prescribed by the banking regulation act.

In spite of all these audits, financial frauds are still happening unabated. Too many audits are becoming a headache for the bankers. They hardly get time to look into The audit reports seriously and take remedial steps. ‘Too much of everything is bad’ is an old adage which is truer in respect of the audits of banks.

Following measures are suggested for improvement in the audit and inspection systems in the banks:-

(A). The concurrent audit on real-time bases should be made more effective by allotting the job to professionals and they should be made accountable for any lapse that may remain in the day to day transactions. The concurrent audit is the most suitable solution because when a lapse happens and if not detected immediately may prove to be fatal afterward.

(B). Statutory audit is the domain of The Reserve Bank Of India and is carried out by the RBI approved qualified chartered accountants against a fee to be paid by the banks directly to the Chartered Accountants. Anybody is bound to be loyal to his paymaster and to none else. Banks can get their balance sheets structured by putting pressure on these CAs. The fees should be paid to the auditors by the RBI after successful completion of the audit and after recovering the same from the concerned banks. The  CAs would then not oblige the banks, instead, they will remain true and loyal to the RBI instead to the Banks.

(C). Recently the World Bank has advised the Indian Government to give more teeth to the Reserve Bank. RBI auditors are very professional but the audits reports are not properly followed and strict actions are not taken. RBI should make the Boards and the top bosses in the banks accountable for any laxity in the corporate governance of the respective banks.

(D). Too many audits and inspections consume the too much working time of the branch staff and they get fed up by repeated audits and tend to ignore the same. Some of the useless inspections may, therefore, need to be done away with.

(E). Banks are doing everything except banking. They should not enter into the domains not meant for them. They are made to go for pennies and lose pounds. Banking is the backbone of the country’s economy so they must be allowed to focus only on their field of activity.

(F). Well trained, efficient and experienced staff should be posted in the audit and inspection units of the banks. Generally, those who fit nowhere in the system or don’t compromise with their bosses are posted in the inspections department. This vital organ of banking has been ignored but it needs to be strengthened. As a matter of policy, it should be made mandatory for every upcoming officer to give at least one tenor of service in this department for promotion to a higher grade because one learns a lot in this department.

Banks, therefore need to lay more stress on corporate governance GOOD GOVERNANCE, make inspection wings more active, vibrant and efficient. ‘When the old cock crows the young one learns’, the senior functionaries should, therefore, create a self-example of honesty, dedication, and sense of belonging to the institution SENSE OF BELONGING. Unless some harsh measures are not taken to restore public confidence, it is feared that the future of banks may remain uncertain. The Central Government and Central Bank need to make changes in the policies for the banks for bringing transparency in their functioning.

HOW AND WHERE TO INVEST SAVINGS

THE YIELD OR THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE RISK YOU TAKE. SO YOU SHOULD TAKE A WELL CALCULATED RISK AND IT DEPENDS UPON YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT AS TO HOW MUCH RISK YOU ARE PREPARED TO TAKE. PLEASE AVOID TAKING HIGH RISKS UNLESS YOU ATTAIN EXPERTISE IN MARKET FORCES

Once you are in the habit of saving, you should start investing in different schemes of different financial institutions. Four things are to be taken into consideration before deciding to park your saved funds in different schemes. Financial institutions/mutual fund companies have all types of tailor-made schemes for different maturities and you can choose those which suit your requirements. The issues to be considered before investment are:-

  • Safety of your funds.
  • The risk involved or quantum of risk you are prepared to take for your investment.
  • The rate of growth of your invested funds.
  • The maturity period of scheme you intend to invest in.

You may have bulk funds available or a regular monthly salary/income. Options available for investment of bulk funds in order of safety and risk are:

  • Sovereign Gold bonds.
  • Real estate.
  • Banks term deposits.
  • Debt linked instruments of the reputed mutual fund company.
  • Equity-linked instruments of the reputed mutual fund company.

For savings out of regular monthly salary/income, the available options are:

  • Saving bank account of banks
  • Recurring deposit account of banks
  • Debt linked SIP(Systematic investment plan) of the reputed mutual fund company.
  • Equity-linked SIP of the reputed mutual fund company.

THE GOLDEN RULE OF INVESTMENT

THE YIELD OR THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE RISK YOU TAKE. SO YOU SHOULD TAKE A WELL CALCULATED RISK AND IT DEPENDS UPON YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT AS TO HOW MUCH RISK YOU ARE PREPARED TO TAKE. PLEASE AVOID TAKING HIGH RISKS UNLESS YOU ATTAIN EXPERTISE IN MARKET FORCES.

Then there are high-risk options such as Equity market. It is always advisable to avoid investment in equity market directly unless you fully understand the nitty-gritty of the Equity market as well as the movement of local as well as world economies and political climates. Investment in the equity market is advised through equity-linked mutual fund schemes.

Ponzi schemes promising very high returns don’t have any sound base and support systems and people have lost their fortunes in such schemes. Don’t get lured by such schemes.

RECENTLY BITCOINS HAVE COME INTO GLOBAL MARKET WHERE PEOPLE HAVE ALTHOUGH MADE EXTORBITANT PROFITS YET IT IS HIGHLY RISKY TO INVEST IN BITCOINS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE ANY BASE. NO GOVT. OF ANY COUNTRY HAS RECOGNISED BITCOIN AS A SOUND INVESTMENT.
IT IS CRYPTOCURRENCY HAVING NO SUPPORT. IT’S BUBBLE CAN BURST ANY TIME RESULTING IN VERY HEAVY LOSSES, SO DONT BE LURED BY SUCH RISKY INVESTMENTS.

60% of your net monthly saving is advised to be invested in reputed mutual fund companies in the ratio of 50% in debt and 50% in equity-linked SIP or Recurring deposit scheme of banks for a period of 15 years. 40% of net saving every month be kept in saving bank account. Amount so accumulated in this account be converted into term deposit of 50 thousand or one lac or 5 lac as the case may be for the period of your of your choice. Keep on renewing the term deposits on due dates or invest in any high yielding scheme of financial institutions. You should not keep all eggs in one basket.

And above all, there is an investment which we should never forget to make whenever we receive an income or salary and that investment is CHARITY for a good cause. The amount of investment/donation depends upon your own will; no bindings. However, some religions have mandated a percentage of income as charity, like Sikhism, which advice to donate 10% of your income in the charity called DASWANT and in Islam the limit is 2.5% called ZAQAAT. Charity purifies your income provided it is out of honest means, and purely organic in nature. Any income out of dishonest means, corruption, cheating or any illegal means is inorganic in nature which may infect your organic and healthy income. No charity of whatsoever amount out of such income can purify your wealth. No one can get peace of mind in life out of such income and it always leads to problems and problems only.
Slowly and steadily you will accumulate enough wealth to take care of your future needs.

Till you are in active service/earning stage, you should continue parking your savings in growth schemes and meet your social and moral responsibilities. And once you retire, better keep saved funds in monthly yielding schemes of financial institutions to augment your monthly income and live a peaceful life with financial independence.