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Monday, December 31, 2012

IOB board okays rights issue

The board of Indian Overseas Bank has approved a rights issue. The bank proposes to issue 20 crore equity shares of face value Rs 10 each at a premium to be decided based on the market conditions.

The bank also proposes to issue 20 crore fully convertible preference shares of face value Rs 10 each at a premium to be decided at the time of the issue.

The resolution is subject to approval by RBI and other authorities. The Government’s shareholding in the equity capital of the bank is at 69.62 per cent.

IOB shares were trading at Rs 85.70, up 0.65 per cent on the BSE.
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Deepali Joshi elevated as ED, RBI

Deepali Pant Joshi has been promoted as the Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India. Prior to her elevation, she was the Regional Director of the RBI’s Rajasthan regional office. Joshi’s appointment follows the superannuation of V. K. Sharma. The RBI has nine EDs.
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SBI rolls out ‘MobiCash Easy’

State Bank of India has launched mobile wallet service MobiCash Easy on a pilot basis in Mumbai and Delhi.

The prepaid service allows customers to transfer money to any bank account or to any wallet issued by State Bank of India, pay bills, recharge mobiles, and pay for digital TV and broadband connections.

The customers can also check their balance and the last five transactions they conducted through their mobile wallet.

Both SBI and non-SBI customers can make use of this service.

The product does not require any Know-Your-Customer (KYC) compliance.

Customers can register themselves for SBMC Easy at any of the Oxigen retail outlet.

With this, SBI plans to tap the migrant population who send money home frequently.

“Even though the product can be used by any segment of the population, it is designed in such a way that it can help immensely the migrant labourers who generally do not carry any document to meet KYC compliance but always have a need to send money home,” SBI said in a statement.

As per Reserve Bank of India guidelines, customers cannot withdraw money from their wallet once it is deposited.

At any time, the balance in the mobile wallet is capped at Rs 10,000 a month.

The customers cannot send more than Rs 5,000 in a single transaction to another mobile wallet issued by SBI.

Three such transactions are allowed in a month.

satyanarayan.iyer@thehindu.co.in
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Corp Bank GMs are brand ambassadors too

A few months ago, when Ajai Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Corporation Bank, was going through an issue of a well-known international publication, he found a picture of an Indian CEO on the cover page. After making enquiries, he discovered that it was a complimentary issue with a false cover having the picture of that particular CEO on it.

That set him thinking, and soon Ajai Kumar thought of implementing that idea in the branding exercise of his bank also. That is why you see in the latest series of advertisements of his bank. They come with the picture of the General Manager in-charge of a particular vertical. Ajai Kumar, who believes in the strength of people (Corp Bank staffers) and products, had highlighted this on several occasions.

He told Business Line that General Managers are the operational heads in banks. And with disarming modesty, he said: “CMDs and EDs come and go. It is these people (GMs) who are running the show.”

“Rather than using any other brand ambassadors, I am creating branding for my bank through my people who put heart and soul into work,” he said.

Recall value


Such measures instil confidence among the customers and other stakeholders, he said. Most of the customers and other stakeholders would have interacted with these GMs. They would remember that this person had done some work for them. This will help increase recall value of the brand.

Asked about the reactions for this campaign, he said he is getting good feedback from both customers and fellow bankers.

With a smile on his face, he said: “I hear that after seeing our advertisements, GMs of other banks are asking their CMDs for such ads.”

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in
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Friday, December 28, 2012

RBI employees to strike on January 1

Employees and officers under the banner of United Forum of RBI Officers and Employees have called a country—wide strike on January 1, 2013 to protest the decision to close currency notes and coins issue counters from that date.

In a press statement issued by the forum, General Secretary of the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association Samir Ghosh said that the RBI was mandated by the RBI Act 1934 to manage, issue and exchange of currency notes and coins throughout the country.

RBI’s effort was also complemented by the various branches of commercial banks across the country.

He said that the RBI management had decided to close down 200 counters in the 19 offices in state capitals and a few other big cities. This, he added, would render about a thousand staff and officers surplus.
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Andhra Bank to focus on agri, SME lending

Andhra Bank will focus on lending to agricultural and micro-, mini- and small enterprises, according to its Chairman and Managing Director B.A. Prabhakar.

“These two sectors are our priority business areas, as there is huge potential for growth. The non-performing assets here are also under control,” Prabhakar said.

The agriculture portfolio of Andhra Bank grew 26 per cent year-on-year, small and medium enterprises 18 per cent and retail 13 per cent till date.

Though demand for retail loans had picked up, competition has stiffened as major banks lowered interest rates.

“However, we have been trying to encourage retail lending. A lot depends on quality and service in which we have an advantage,” he added. In the corporate segment, credit offtake has been muted except for working-capital needs. “This trend is expected to continue for next six months at least,” the Andhra Bank chief said. Asset-quality issues would continue to be a challenge for banks, as slippages till last quarter were high. The current stress on assets quality is not confined to a particular sector, though is a tad higher in construction and power businesses, and the mid-corporate sector, he said.

On the restructuring of corporate loans, he said the number of requests had come down in the present quarter, as those who wanted it had already completed the process.

GROWTH


Given the business environment, deposit and credit growth could be in the range of 14-16 per cent and 15-16 per cent respectively. The net interest margin for Andhra Bank could be around 3.1 per cent against 3.15 per cent in the second quarter, he added.

The bank will recruit 2,000 officers and 1,500 clerks soon, Prabhakar said.

naga.gunturi@thehindu.co.in
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Federal Bank offers stock options worth Rs 114 cr to employees

Private sector lender Federal Bank has offered employee stock options of more than 2.4 million equity shares amounting to Rs 113.76 crore to all its permanent employees.

This is the second time the bank is offering stock options since it implemented the employee stock option plan (ESOP) in 2011.

The grant in 2011 was at Rs 420.65 a share, and Rs 474 in 2012, the bank said in a statement.

At the time of the announcement, the share price of the Kerala-based bank stock was at Rs 542. The bank has about 1,000 branches and 10,000 employees, the bank said.

An ESOP is an option that provides a company’s workforce with an ownership interest in the company through its stocks. These options can be converted into shares at a later stage. On the BSE, the bank’s share ended at a new high of Rs 538.85 on Friday.

Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bank of India raises bulk deposit rates for select maturities

Bank of India today revised upwards the interest rates on deposits of Rs 10 crore and above for select maturities.

“...has informed the BSE that the bank has revised the interest rate for the deposit of Rs 10 crore and above for the time bucket of 1 year and above to less than 2 years to 9 per cent (earlier 8.75 per cent),” Bank of India said in a filing to BSE.

The new rates would be applicable from December 27, 2012, it added.

Shares of the bank ended down at Rs 337.60 apiece on the BSE, down 0.82 per cent from their previous close.

Recently, Federal Bank and Dena Bank also revised upwards deposit rates for select maturities.
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Corporation Bank to raise Rs 200 cr via tier-I bonds

Corporation Bank plans to raise Rs 200 crore through tier-I bonds on a private placement basis, the bank said in an exchange filing late last evening.  The bonds will be unsecured, perpetual and non-convertible.  The face value of each bond is Rs 10 lakh.  The coupon rate is 9.29 per cent per annum.  There is no put option.  A call option can be exercised after 10 years.  The issue opens on Dec 27 and closes on Dec 28.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bank of Baroda to issue Rs 1,550 cr pref shares to Govt

Bank of Baroda (BoB) on Wednesday said it will raise Rs 1,550 crore by issuing preference shares to the government.

The board at its meeting held on December 24, 2012, has approved issuance of shares of face value of Rs 10 each, for an amount upto Rs 1,550 crore, on preferential basis in favour of Government of India, BoB said in a filing on the BSE.

The prices of the shares would be decided as per the SEBI norms, it said.

Shares of the BoB closed at Rs 854.40, up 0.84 per cent on the BSE.

Preference shares are given higher ranking over common shares but subordinate to bonds in terms of claim.

At the end of September 30, the government held 54.31 per cent stake in Bank of Baroda.
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South Indian Bank business set to touch Rs 75,000 cr

South Indian Bank is all set to achieve a business target of Rs 75,000 crore by March 2013 as envisaged in the Vision Document 2008.

SIB's five-year business plan — Vision 2013 — was drawn up in 2008 to achieve Rs 75,000 crore business, 750 branches, 750 ATMs and 7,500 employees.

V. A. Joseph, Managing Director and CEO, told Business Line that the bank has been able to clock Rs 67,000 crore in total business as on date.

Its employee strength is at 6,800, the number of branches 740 and ATMs 775.

“We hope to achieve the target of Rs 75,000 crore and 7,000 people by the end of March 31. We might just exceed some of the targets,” he said.

Ten more branches are to be opened shortly in Gujarat, West Bengal and Maharashtra, he said.

The bank hopes to open another 25 ATMs by March 2013 taking the total to 800.

Joseph was here in connection with an event of Season Six of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival in which South Indian Bank is the title sponsor.

This the second consecutive term the bank has sponsored the event promoted by the Kerala Government.

Responding to a question on the takeaways from being involved in this event, he said it would enable the bank to enhance its client base through close interaction with the public.

The prize money involved in the shopping festival is 101 kg of gold, which would be distributed through bank branches. Those who come either for registration or for getting the prize money could be potential customers in future, Joseph said.

The bank's association with the event has helped it add to its customer base.

Being a Government initiative and its local base with 350 branches in the State made eminent sense to be associated with the event, he said.

Moreover, this would also help drive financial literacy to an extent since at least 3,000 staff is directly involved in the shopping festival
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Karur Vysya Bank open to acquisition, if it’s a right fit

Old generation lender Karur Vysya Bank (KVB) is open to acquiring a bank if an opportunity comes its way, said a top bank official.

K. Venkataraman, MD & CEO, KVB, gave this reply to a specific question on whether his bank would throw its hat into the ring to acquire one of the two distressed South-based old generation private sector banks (one headquartered in Tamil Nadu and the other in Kerala).

He, however, said the 96-year old Karur (Tamil Nadu) headquartered bank is not actively pursuing an acquisition at this point in time.

Not a target


On the possibility of KVB becoming an acquisition target once the Reserve Bank of India issues licenses for setting up new private sector banks, Venkataraman said: “We don’t want to be an acquisition target… Moreover, beyond 5 per cent shareholding Reserve Bank of India's permission is required… The RBI does not encourage unfriendly acquisitions.” The KVB chief said his bank is eyeing a business size (deposits plus advances) of Rs 1.25 lakh crore by 2016. Its current business size is Rs 61,000 crore (deposits Rs 35,000 crore and loans Rs 26,000 crore).

Pointing out that the bank is handholding corporate clients which are facing tough times, Venkataraman explained that if the umbrella is taken away when the client needs it the most, it will only end up hurting the bank.

“We will not hesitate in restructuring a loan account,” he added. About 2.7 per cent of the bank’s total loans have been restructured so far.

Capital adequacy


KVB has turned cautious in lending to corporates because of asset quality concerns.

This is reflected in the fact that year-on-year credit growth has slowed to 25 per cent in the current financial year so far against 34 per cent in the year-ago period.

“We will not grow our loan book blindly….There will be no compromise just for the sake of numbers. The safety of depositors’ money is of paramount importance,” said Venkataraman.

If it grows its loan book at an annual rate of 25 per cent, maintains the quantum of yearly capital plough-back and dividend payout, then the bank, which currently has a capital adequacy ratio of 14 per cent, will not need capital infusion till FY2014-15.

KVB stock hit a new high of Rs 524.70 per share on the BSE, up 0.57 per cent over the previous close.

ramkumar.k@thehindu.co.in
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Ashwani Kumar named CMD of Dena Bank

Ashwani Kumar has been appointed as Chairman & Managing Director, Dena Bank, for a period of five years from the date of taking over charge of the post on or after January 1, 2013, vide notification dated November 6, 2012.

According to the Government notification, Ashwani Kumar, who is the Executive Director of Corporation Bank, will function as Executive Director at Dena Bank on attachment basis with effect from December 17, 2012, till December 31, 2012, or until further orders.

Accordingly, Ashwani Kumar has reported on December 17, 2012, in the bank.
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RBI to infuse Rs 8,000 cr into market via OMOs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said it will pump in Rs 8,000 crore in the market on December 28 by buying government securities to ease the liquidity situation.

“Consistent with the stance of monetary policy and based on the current assessment of prevailing and evolving liquidity conditions, the Reserve Bank has decided to conduct Open Market Operations (OMOs) by purchasing...government securities for an aggregate amount of Rs 8,000 crore on December 28, 2012,” the RBI said in a statement.

As part of the OMOs, the RBI will purchase government securities maturing in 2017 (bearing interest rate of 8.07 per cent), 2022 (8.15 per cent), and 2027 (8.26 per cent).

The OMO, it added, would be held through the multi-security auction using the multiple price method.

The RBI on December 21 had pumped in Rs 7,912.22 crore in the system through the OMOs as against the notified amount of Rs 8,000 crore.

OMOs are the market operations conducted by the RBI by way of sale/purchase of government securities to/from the market, with an objective to adjust the rupee liquidity conditions in the market on a durable basis.

If there is excess liquidity, the RBI resorts to sale of securities and sucks out the funds from the financial system.

Similarly, when the liquidity conditions are tight, the RBI buys securities from the market, thereby, releasing liquidity into the market.
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Union Bank of India to raise up to Rs 1,500 cr via bonds

The State-owned Union Bank of India (UBI) today said it would raise up to Rs 1,500 crore from bonds over the next three months.

The decision to raise funds was taken at the Board meeting held on December 22, UBI said in a BSE filing.

The Board approved raising of additional capital funds not exceeding Rs 1,500 crore during the year 2012-13 by way of issue of Tier-I and Tier-II capital bonds as per eligibility, it said.

Meanwhile, another public sector lender Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) has cleared raising up to Rs 1,350 crore from various bonds.

BoM plans to raise up to Rs 350 crore from Tier-I unsecured, non convertible, subordinated, perpetual bonds (Innovative Perpetual Debt Instruments), the bank said in a separate filing to the BSE.

Besides, it intends to raise up to Rs 1,000 crore from lower Tier-II bonds in the nature of promissory notes. The bonds would have maturity period of 10 years.

The issue opens on December 26, 2012, closes on December 29, 2012 and the deemed date of allotment is December 31, 2012, it added.
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IndusInd bank promoter sells 46 lakh shares for Rs 196 crore

One of the promoters of IndusInd Bank - IndusInd International Holdings – on Monday offloaded 46 lakh shares of the private sector lender for about Rs 196 crore through open market transaction.

As per the bulk deal data available with the stock exchanges, IndusInd International sold shares of IndusInd Bank at an average price of Rs 425.43 a piece.

The deal was valued at Rs 195.7 crore.

The entity held nearly 6.85 crore shares in the bank representing 13.12 per cent stake, as on December 5, 2012.

On the BSE, the shares of IndusInd Bank dipped 0.67 per cent today to end at Rs 424 a piece.
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Dena Bank, Federal Bank raise rates for some term deposits

Tight liquidity coupled with a gradual pick-up in credit has prompted Dena Bank and Federal Bank to increase term-deposit rates for some tenures.

Dena Bank has upped the rates (for up to Rs 15 lakh and between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 1 crore) for 365 days and above 1 year to less than two years from 8.75 per cent to 9.1 per cent.

The public sector bank said the new deposit rates are effective from December 22.

Private sector lender Federal Bank has upped the interest rate on term deposits in the 91-119 days maturity period from 7 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

The bank has also increased the interest rate on term deposits of above one year and up to three years from 8.75 per cent to 9 per cent.

The new deposit rates in the case of Federal Bank are also effective from December 22.

Tight liquidity in the banking system is underscored by the fact that the Reserve Bank of India received 45 bids aggregating Rs 1,50,390 crore at the two-day repo auction (to borrow funds) under the liquidity adjustment facility.

Since the beginning of the third quarter and up to November 30, credit growth has outstripped deposit growth. While bank credit has grown by Rs 1,52,136 crore, deposit growth was just Rs 32,490 crore.

ramkumar.k@thehindu.co.in
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SBI, Russian wealth fund ink pact to set up $2-billion investment consortium

State Bank of India and the $10-billion Russian sovereign wealth fund, RDIF, on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a $2-billion consortium to promote direct investment.

The pact was among the 10 deals, including defence, that were signed at the 13th annual India-Russia summit here.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewed the progress made in key areas of co-operation including energy, trade, high technology and military-technical co-operation and noted that they shared common views on all the important issues of regional and international co-operation.

Singh and Putin also expressed satisfaction at the substantial rise in bilateral trade and agreed to enhance efforts to achieve the target of $20 billion by 2015.

India also welcomed Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. Both leaders called for the Russia-India Chief Executive Officers Council’s meeting at the earliest.

“Our bilateral trade has grown by over 30 per cent this year. There is still untapped potential in areas such as pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, mining, steel, information technology, civil aviation, telecommunications, infrastructure, food processing, innovation and services, which we will work to exploit,” Singh said at the summit meeting.
Sistema issue raised

Sources said the Russian side also raised concern over the issue of Sistema, but did not give out details.

Sistema, with investment of $3.1 billion, has 56.68 per cent stake in Shyam Sistema Teleservices, whose 21, out of 22, licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court on February 2, as irregularities were found in their allocation.

The Russian Government, which has a stake of 17.14 per cent in the company, has been expressing concern and asking India to ensure protection of Sistema’s investment.
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Karnataka Bank conducts exporters’ meet in Chennai

Karnataka Bank, in association with Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), conducted an exporters’ meet in Chennai recently.

A press release by the bank said here on Monday that the meet was organised to promote export business in Tamil Nadu, especially in and around Chennai.

Inaugurating the meet, M. Rafeeque Ahmed, President of FIEO, highlighted various promotional activities undertaken by FIEO and the Government for the benefit of exporters.

Speaking on the occasion, P. Jayarama Bhat, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Karnataka Bank Ltd, said the bank is reimbursing the interest subvention to eligible exporters on quarterly basis without waiting for getting reimbursement from the RBI. The bank is exploring the possibility of reimbursement of interest subvention on a monthly basis, he said.

Geetha Muralidhar, Executive Director of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd, explained the role of ECGC in covering the risks of exporters and banks.

Walter D’Souza, Chairman, FIEO (Southern Region), and R. Periasami, Commissioner of Service Tax, spoke on the occasion.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Govt to infuse Rs 3,004 cr into SBI this fiscal

The Government has approved fund infusion of Rs 3,004 crore in SBI during the current fiscal to boost the bank’s capital base. This is a part of the capital infusion plan for the public sector banks for 2012-13, sources said.

The Finance Ministry has recently approved allocation of Rs 12,000 crore for various public sector banks including SBI.

Fund transfer to various banks would be made in due course of time after they obtain the necessary approvals. Decision about the remaining Rs 3,000 crore would be taken soon, they said.

The Government has made a Budgetary provision of Rs 15,000 crore for recapitalisation of public sector banks in the current fiscal.

Last fiscal, the Government had infused Rs 7,900 crore in SBI to increase the Tier-I capital of the country’s largest bank. Following the capital infusion in March 2012, the Government's holding in SBI rose to 61.58 per cent from 59.4 per cent.

SBI had raised over Rs 16,000 crore through a rights issue in 2008. In its rights issue, the Government’s contribution was in the form of bonds instead of cash.

The Government has been infusing funds in the public sector banks in the last couple of years to strengthen their finances. It has injected about Rs 32,000 crore so far in the previous two financial years.

During 2011-12, public sector banks got Rs 12,000 crore for improving their capital adequacy ratio.

The Government had pumped in Rs 20,157 crore in public sector banks in 2010-11 to maintain their Tier-I capital at 8 per cent and increase the Government’s equity in some banks to 58 per cent.
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Muthoottu Mini branches in Delhi

Muthoottu Mini Financiers Pvt. Ltd., one of the leading NBFCs, has announced the opening of its first bunch of branches in New Delhi. The seven branches in the capital city are located at Janakpuri, Dwarka, Dilshad Colony, Palam Colony, Uttham Nagar, Tughlakabad and Sunder Vihar.

In the second phase, the company plans to open another 22 Branches.

Roy M. Mathew, Chairman, Muthoottu Mini Financiers, said in a statement here that the company would offer various services including gold loans, e-gold, life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and money transfer facilities etc.

The company at present has more than 1,000 branches in various parts of the country.
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Canara Bank Christmas fair

A Christmas fair organised by Canara Bank in association with Kudumbashree opened here on Friday.

K.B. Valsala Kumari, Executive Director, Kudumbashree, inaugurated the event. She lauded the efforts of Canara Bank and Kudumbashree in coming forward to organise the fair.

G. Sreeram, general manager, and C.G. Nair and S.T. Ramachandra, deputy general managers, Canara Bank, offered felicitations.

Fifty stalls displaying various products have been put up at the fair.
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IOB to involve SHGs in Direct Benefits Transfer, says its Chairman

The Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) is planning to involve the Self Help Groups (SHGs) in some of the activities relating to the ambitious ‘Direct Benefits Transfer’ scheme of the Central Government which would also bring the SHGs supplementary income, the IOB CMD M. Narendra said here on Sunday.

The bank has also taken initiatives to give a boost to retail credit and has tailor made schemes to meet the needs of different sections of the customers, he said.

Participating in an IOB credit disbursement programme here this evening, he said though districts in Tamil Nadu do not figure among the first lot of identified districts for direct benefits transfer to commence from Jan 1, these districts would be also be covered gradually. Under this programme, the beneficiaries of various government programmes would get the financial assistance directly credited to their accounts. The money could be delivered either through the Banking Correspondents (BCs) or withdrawn from Micro ATMs or through pre-paid cards according to the requirements.

The IOB CMD said a ‘massive work has to be done’ by the IOB staff with regard to the ambitious proposal for DBT scheme and he wanted some of the members of SHGs to take up the work relating to the scheme by becoming Business Correspondents. The bank was planning to appoint as many BCs as possible that would also provide the SHG members supplementary income.

Reaching Rural areas


Narendra said IOB was keen to reach out to the rural areas since its roots are in them. The bank had linked over 4.35 lakh members through the SHGs to whom the bank had lent nearly Rs 4,335 crore in Tamil Nadu and said ‘women are very much honest’ in loan repayment.

He said the bank had recently taken a lot of initiatives such as retail credit under which housing loans up to Rs 30 lakh were charged at 10.5 per cent interest that was the lowest that IOB could charge as this was the base rate. The interest rate for vehicle loans has been slashed from 14 per cent to 11 per cent. While jewel loan for agri purposes was charged at 7 per cent, for other purposes the interest rate had come down to 12 per cent from 14.5 per cent.

He said IOB took the lead in providing educational loans to students who got admission under management quota and also for students pursuing diploma courses or nursing course. The bank has an exposure of Rs 3,000 crore as educational loan. He said that in Tamil Nadu most of the loans are regularly repaid. At the function itself loans worth Rs 25 crore were disbursed today.

Recruitment drive


Narendra said IOB, which has already 189 Rural Development Officers (RDOs), is recruiting 300 more RDOs from different agricultural universities. It had recruited more than 7,500 staff members in the past two years and the recruitment drive would continue.

The IOB CMD advised the agriculturalists to not limit themselves to crop loans but take up other works such as land development, providing irrigation facilities, purchase of farm implements etc availing loans under investment credit facility to enhance farm productivity and quality of the produce. The bank, in a campaign conducted for this purpose, made a credit advance of Rs 616 crore.

Urban horticulture


He said the bank had also embarked on a scheme to support urban horticulture to improve greenery at homes by growing vegetables and developing flower-garden and loans for individuals up to Rs 2.5 lakh and up to Rs 25 lakh for institutions were given by IOB under this scheme.

G.V. Koorse, Chief Regional Manager, IOB-Coimbatore, said the urban horticulture scheme would address the issues of unemployment and under-employment in urban centres. The loan carried low interest rate.
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More customers are taking to mobile banking

This year has seen a gradual pick-up in mobile banking transactions, thanks to increased customer awareness and proliferation of smart phones.

M-banking services, such as mobile wallet and Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS), are being used for instant inter-bank electronic fund transfer service through mobile phones in India.

These services are mainly used for balance checks, account transactions, payments, credit applications and other banking transactions.

The IMPS is also being extended to accept merchant payments, using the bank account and Aadhaar number.

According to NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) data, the total number of mobile banking transactions has increased to 86,884 amounting to Rs 33.79 crore in November 2012 from 15,759 transactions amounting to Rs 5.30 crore in December 2011.

For the country’s largest bank State Bank of India, of its total customer base of 200 million, about 5.2 million have registered for its mobile banking services. Two of the country’s largest private sector banks — ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank — have also launched services on its mobile banking platform.

“Overall, the banking industry averages about 3 lakh transactions per day through mobile banking,” Lalit Sinha, General Manager (Alternate Channels and New Initiative Department), Union Bank of India.

The growing popularity of mobile banking, particularly for small-value transactions, prompted the RBI to raise the limit for end-to-end encryption from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 and remove the transaction limit of Rs 50,000 per customer per day for funds transfer and for purchase of goods and services. According to a KPMG report, with mobile Internet usage is expected to exceed desktop Internet use by 2014, mobile banking services will become even more important.

“Many customer segments are clearly getting comfortable with using mobile banking. It is particularly true of the Generation-Y group (18-32-year olds) who are three times more likely to adopt mobile banking than older users, the report said.

Most big banks have seen a 100 per cent growth in mobile banking with more services waiting to be launched in the upcoming year.

Slow Penetration


The Reserve Bank of India said, “The growth in mobile banking that has taken place in the country till date, though at a rapid pace, is yet to reach the critical mass that will enable it to deliver on its promise of reaching banking, including payment services, at a cheaper, secure and seamless manner to the existing and potential customers.”

According to Sinha, most customers, despite using a smart phone, have a perception of “I do not need it” and hence are not encouraged to use it.

“Getting customers on board has been a major challenge for us. Once a person starts using mobile banking, they stick to the usage and get used to it,” Sinha said.

We believe that mobile banking will grow with a better focus on merchants than retail customers at this stage. Hence, there is a greater need to migrate to IMPS, Sinha said.

A. P. Hota, Managing Director and CEO, NPCI had recently said, “By 2020, about 22-24 per cent of the transactions will be under the mobile payments system.”

Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in
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For Corporation Bank, using technology to monitor loans is paying off

You feel happy when an SMS alert from your bank informs that money has been credited to your account. The same may not be the case when it is about a deduction.

What if your bank sends an alert on the EMI (equated monthly instalment) due, well in advance? If you are a genuine borrower, it may be a slight irritant. But it is one of the processes that Corporation Bank follows to monitor its loan accounts.

“Follow-up using technology is the key. Following up right from day-one can keep the portfolio in a healthy condition,” Ajai Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director of Corporation Bank, told Business Line here.

The borrowers need to be reminded in time, though most of them may not like it he said, adding that some of them turn defaulters because they either forget or don’t get time to pay.

SMS alerts indicate that the bank is making best use of technology to gauge the loan accounts through its ‘graded system of monitoring’.

Ajai Kumar said that the bank introduced this system in June. It is a focussed way of monitoring the asset. Loans in this system are graded based on the amount and the time overdue.

The bank has put in place a system where the Circle General Manager monitors loans up to Rs 10 crore, and the Zonal GM up to Rs 5 crore. Loans above Rs 10 crore are monitored by the head-office.

Now, every month a report is made under these categories which will have an annexure giving details of the balance, the limit, payment of instalments, and so on. It will also have information on whether all terms and conditions are invoked or not. Based on these reports, action is taken.

“In the case of Rs 10 crore and above, a consolidated summary comes to me. So I start actions on those,” he said, adding that no paper travels in this system. It travels via bank’s digital network from the branch to the head-office level. “The top management information dashboard on the computer, iPad and iPhone helps me monitor the assets and review the performance of the bank,” he said.

The bank is also monitoring the time overdue in loan accounts. Once the account is overdue for 30 days, the bank calls it as A1, for more than 30 days A2, and for more than 60 days, A3.

“We have set up committees of GMs for A2 and A3. They meet twice a week to monitor the accounts,” he said.

Asked about the impact of this system, he said the bank has been able to prevent huge slippages. “The upgradation and recovery that have taken place in the last quarter are much higher than we had stipulated.”

In the first-half of 2011-12, bank made a cash recovery of Rs 250 crore. In H1 of 2012-13, that is, after the introduction of this system, it has recovered nearly Rs 510 crore. “How you become smarter is by getting information real-time,” he added.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

UBI engages Accenture for transformation programme

United Bank of India (UBI) has entered into an agreement with management consultancy firm Accenture to support the bank’s strategic transformation programme.

CMD of UBI Bhaskar Sen said the bank was embarking upon a transformation programme to enhance the productivity by harnessing technology and operational changes.

“Accenture will provide management consulting advisory services to support the bank change programme”, Sen told reporters here on Saturday.

He said the consultancy firm would also assist UBI in its talent and human resource strategies by helping to strengthen the bank’s manpower planning in fostering meritocracy.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

IRDA: Insurers to open 25% new offices in smaller areas

Insurance sector regulator IRDA has proposed to make it mandatory for insurers, who have been in business for 10 years, to open at least 25 per cent of new offices in areas that have a population less than 1,00,000.

“An insurer that has completed 10 years of business is proposed to be mandated to open at least 25 per cent of new places of business in places where population is not more than 1,00,000,” IRDA has proposed in its Draft Exposure on Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Places of Business) Regulations, 2012.

The proposed regulations have been made to help increase the penetration of the sector in rural and semi-urban areas, IRDA said.

The existing regulatory approach of requiring insurers to follow certain requirements while opening/closing/relocating various places of business deserve to be strengthened.

IRDA said an insurer having solvency ratio of 1.5 and expenses of management within the extant limits in the preceding three financial years are proposed to be permitted to open new places of business, in places where population is not more than 1,00,000, 15 days after submitting the information on the same.

“The proposed limit of 1,00,000 on population is, to encourage the opening of places of business in Tier 2 and below towns/villages,” it said.

It added that in respect of all other places of business, the insurers will be accorded approvals on an aggregate basis once in a financial year, based on their expansion plans.

However, insurers are allowed to approach IRDA for any urgent business proposals for opening any other places of business, it added.

The Draft Exposure also proposes to mandate insurers to offer minimum policyholders’ services such as collection of premiums/proposal deposits and status confirmation of policy service requests in all the places of business.

It has also been proposed in the draft regulations “that the objective of opening a new place of business shall be for long run, shall not be for short term durations”.

Further, IRDA said closure/relocation of the places of business by insurers should be after due consideration of all the factors including possible inconvenience to its policyholders.

“A minimum of 2 months advance notice on the proposed relocation/closure should be notified to policyholders serviced by that place of business along with information on alternate arrangements being made to provide services to them.

It said the details of relocation as well as closure of place of business shall be reported to IRDA soon after any such move.

Irda has invited comments on its draft regulations by various stakeholders.
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SIDBI, IOB ink pact to launch risk sharing facility

Small Industries Development Bank of India today signed a memorandum of understanding with Indian Overseas Bank to launch the scheme of risk sharing facility-II for guaranteeing collateral-free credit facilities to micro and small enterprises (MSEs).

Under the scheme, collateral free and /or third party guarantee free credit facilities over Rs 100 lakh and up to Rs 200 lakh sanctioned to eligible MSEs are proposed to be guaranteed through select member lending institutions of Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

CGTMSE, set up by Government of India and SIDBI, offers collateral-and-third party guarantee free credit facilities to enable enhanced flow of credit to the MSE sector.

The scheme will enable banks to take up MSEs financing as a viable and profitable business proposition, by sharing the credit risk of participating banks, while at the same time, making participation contingent on better credit assessment and risk identification by banks, SIDBI said in a statement.

M. Narendra, Chairman and Managing Director, IOB, said, “The bank is focusing on lending to the MSME and the agricultural sectors.”

Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in
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IDBI Bank launches scheme for urban poor

IDBI Bank today launched the ‘Urban Financial Inclusion Programme’ (UFIP) in Mumbai to expand its banking facilities to those financially excluded in urban areas.

It aims to begin by initiating liability business, by offering savings bank and current account facility, recurring deposits and fixed deposits for the local people. There is scope for providing insurance and investment services to the people by imparting financial literacy, the public sector bank said in a statement.

According to the bank’s assessment, over 2,500 washermen labour, among other residents, operating in the Dhobi Ghat area (where the programme was launched) in Mumbai , have variable income levels and require remittance facility to their family or relatives outside Mumbai on regular basis.

As part of the UFIP, accounts with limited or relaxed KYC would be opened and smart cards would be provided to customers to do deposit, withdraw and remit money through business correspondent model.

In addition, remittance facility through National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and M-Remit through the Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) would be provided to the customers in the area, the bank said.

 “UFIP has been introduced with the view to uplift the urban poor. Financial products such as remittance, loans and savings account are the foremost needs of the urban poor. Managing savings is critically important but often neglected leading to absence of a secured source of finance,” said Reserve Bank of India’s Deputy Governor, K C Chakrabarty.

At present, IDBI bank has an overall network of 1,016 branches and 1,595 ATMs.



Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bank strike a total success: AIBEA

Nearly five lakh bank employees stayed away from work, paralysing banking operations in many parts of the country.

However, employees of SBI Group (about 3 lakh) did not participate in the strike, but provided "fraternal support" to bank employees of other public sector banks, it is learnt.

SBI employees did not join the strike and the bank was not closed.

"Today's strike has been a total success. As per reports reaching us from other centres, the day-long strike has paralysed banking operations in all places," C.H.Venkatachalam, General-Secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), told Business Line here.

Cash transactions were affected, clearing operations were not held, forex transactions and money market transactions were affected, Venkatachalam said.

"ATM cash became dry in certain places," he said.

The main intent of the day-long strike was to draw the attention of people to the danger of banking reforms being pursued by the Government through the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill 2011, Venkatachalam said.

Even as most bank employees struck work, the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram moved the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill for consideration in Rajya Sabha today.

srivats.kr@thehindu.co.in
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Karnataka Bank opens new delivery channel for customers

In its efforts to create additional delivery channels to customers, Karnataka Bank recently launched a new service — ‘KBL Mobile.’

Mobile banking transactions are those where customers undertake banking transactions by using pre-registered mobile phones with the bank.

According to P. Jayarama Bhat, Managing Director of the bank, safety and convenience are the highlight of ‘KBL Mobile.’ In the mobile banking services, utmost importance is given to maximum convenience in usage to the customer. Adequate caution has been taken in protecting the customer’s interest in terms of safety and security, he said.

On the target for the number of customers under mobile banking, he said: “To begin with, our bank is proposing to have over one lakh customers subscribing for ‘KBL-Mobile’ services.”

Karnataka Bank wants to make use of mobile banking services as a financial inclusion platform by reaching out to large section of people across India, he said.

Transaction limits

At present, the total transaction amount limit is specified at Rs 50,000 a day within the bank and bank-to-bank (intra-bank and inter-bank). The bank has set the transaction limits based on risk perceptions and it is fixed at Rs 50,000 a day, inclusive of all transactions, in the high-end mobile sets enabled with GPRS/J2ME (encrypted end-to-end handsets).

However, for other mobile handsets, under SMS mobile banking (unencrypted format), the limit has been fixed at Rs 5,000/ day.

To activate the services, customers are required to register at their base branch and the facility will be rolled out across India.

On successful registration, ‘mobile banking user id’ and ‘mobile banking PIN (MPIN)’ will be delivered to the customers’ registered mobile number through SMS. The customer needs to activate the facility by using this ‘user id’ and ‘MPIN.’

The mobile banking services to the customer are inclusive of enquiry option, requests, fund transfer, Karnataka Bank ATM/branch locators, m-commerce transactions, payment of utility bills and feedbacks to the bank.

With the approximate mobile subscriber base of more than 900 million in India, mobile banking services is an opening to enable the country achieve inclusive growth. It enables customers access money any time, anywhere, he added.
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Central Bank to open 9 branches

Central Bank of India will open three new Branches in the Mumbai region at Kandivli (E), Diamond Bourse (BKC) and Dharavi on the occasion of its 102nd Foundation Day on December 21. The public sector bank will also inaugurate six branches at Uran, Kharghar, Nerul, Kopar Khairane, Seawood, and a retail asset Branch at Sanpada. It will also unveil 5 ATMs in Navi Mumbai.
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YES Bank launches mobile point of sale services

Private sector lender YES Bank on Thursday launched a mobile point of sale (mPOS) service allowing merchants to use a mobile device as a payment collection mechanism.

Under this service, the merchants can use a mobile phone-based internet connectivity to facilitate debit or credit card payments.

For this, the mid sized bank has developed mPOS card reader device ‘Dongle’ that can be inserted into any mobile phone to access the application of the bank. The merchants can buy the Dongle for Rs 2,000 and incur a rental in the range of Rs 250 to Rs 500 on any additional integration over and above the merchant service fees.

“This is largely targeted at any merchant that requires home delivery service for payment collection especially high-end corporates, insurance agents, restaurant chains and e-commerce platforms among others offering cash delivery,” said Chitra Pandeya, Senior President, Cards and Direct Banking.

Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in
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ING Vysya Bank appointment

ING Vysya Bank has appointed Sanjeev Aga as an additional director of the bank effective December 17. Bank’s release to exchanges said decision was taken by the Board of Directors of the Bank at its meeting held on November 30. Aga is to hold office up to the date of 82nd Annual General Meeting of the Bank to be held in the year 2013. He will be a Non-Executive and Independent Director.
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ATMs, e-payment options take sting out of bank strikes

“Is there a bank strike today? I am not aware and not bothered.”

This is how 24-year-old Vivek Sarma, who works for TCS, responded, when asked on the impact of Thursday’s bank strike, at an ATM located in Lakdikappool in the heart of the city here.

In fact, he is not alone and many belonging to Gen-Y responded in a similar vein.

Compared to earlier days when bank strikes had brought the normal financial world of the public to a halt, bank-strikes these days seem to be a non-issue for many, thanks to technology.

The increasing presence of ATMs, usage of Internet banking and e-payment gateways are obviously working in favour of bank customers these days.

“I think technology made bank-strikes irrelevant for many because of increasing use of alternative channels,’’ B.A. Prabhakar, Chairman and Managing Director, Andhra Bank, told Business Line.

The data from the country’s largest bank support this. The percentage of total transactions on alternative channels had gone up to 35.14 per cent in State Bank of India as on September 30, 2012, compared to 31 per cent in the year-ago period.

“From booking movie tickets to paying examination/recruitment test fees is happening mostly online, bank-strikes tend to remain largely as an internal matter though some transactions like clearing may get impacted sometimes,’’ said a senior SBI official.

In rural areas, the impact could be higher, he added.

According to M. Bhagavantha Rao, Managing Director, State Bank of Hyderabad, electronic mode is being used mostly for clearing/transfer of funds.

About 7 lakh bank employees belonging to four unions are striking work today in protest against Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill.

naga.gunturi@thehindu.co.in
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CanMobile - banking while you are on the move

Canara Bank, established in 1906, has been introducing a host of services to cater to the customer’s needs.

The bank is one of the largest with a customer base of 4.52 crore, and a dynamic market presence across the country and overseas.

The introduction of technology products has been a huge challenge in the banking industry, as it was the banks’ responsibility to deliver through the alternate banking channels — directly into the customer’s hand and also ensuring it to be safe and secure. Mobile banking is one such technological product that has enormous advantages for the bank and the customer.

While some banks launched mobile banking at an early stage under different SMS and GPRS-based platforms, Canara Bank worked hard to introduce a strong and secure solution for mobile banking to facilitate its customers.

Canara Bank launched a full-fledged, safe, secure, and instant mobile banking service under the name ‘CanMobile’ on June 6, 2011, which is accessible in all platforms (SMS, GPRS, WAP, USSD) and works on all types of mobile handsets.

Canmobile is equipped with facilities like balance enquiry, mini statement, ATM locator, intra-bank fund transfer, inter-bank fund transfer and mobile recharge.

Interbank transaction solution is provided on NPCI’s IMPS platform. Unlike NEFT, this is a superior technology that offers an instant inter-bank transfer 24X7.

Canara Bank was the first nationalised bank to implement the inter-bank fund transfer using IFSC code and account number, and also the first bank to introduce IMPS fund transfer facility at ATMs.

To add more services


The bank plans to add more value-added services on CanMobile and is moving towards delivering a steady and reliable alternate banking channel in the hands of valued customers to serve them better.
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SIDBI inks pacts with RRBs, urban co-op banks in Bengal

The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has entered into agreements with eight regional rural banks (RRBs) and urban co-operative banks in West Bengal.

SIDBI has already signed memorandums of understanding with the RRBs and co-operative banks for increasing credit flow to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region, said a press statement issued by SIDBI.

The MoUs would aim at training the staff of RRBs and co-operative banks in project appraisal, monitoring and collection as also providing free access to software on a down-scaling methodology developed for lending to micro enterprises.

“The down-scaling model focuses on cash flow-based lending instead of the traditional security-based lending, which is important for small and tiny enterprises,” the release said.

shobha.roy@thehindu.co.in
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Rs 1.7 lakh crore home loans may be disbursed this fiscal

Banks and housing finance companies are expected to collectively disburse home loans aggregating Rs 1,70,000 crore in the current fiscal, up from Rs 1,30,000 crore in the previous fiscal, said R.V. Verma, Chairman & Managing Director, National Housing Bank.

There is good demand for home loans in the tier-II and tier-III centres as house prices are moderate. A majority of the buyers are end-users and therefore delinquencies are relatively lower, Verma said.

India’s largest lender, State Bank of India, has already sanctioned Rs 20,000 crore of home loans in the first nine months of the current fiscal. In the year 2011-12, SBI disbursed Rs 28,000 crore to about two lakh units.

“Home loan growth has been quite robust since August. Our growth this year will be better than last year,” R.K. Saraf, Deputy Managing Director, State Bank of India said. The average loan size of SBI is about Rs 12 lakh.

Housing Finance Development Corporation (HDFC), the country’s largest housing finance company, reported a 31 per cent rise in disbursements in the first six months of the current year, said Keki Mistry, Vice-Chairman and CEO.

The average loan size of HDFC is about Rs 21.5 lakh.

Property prices


There is a need to index priority sector lending in housing to appreciating property prices, according to a research paper authored by Professor Tarun Ramadorai, University of Oxford.

“Property prices in cities like Mumbai have shot up significantly. So, is there a need to increase the priority sector classification for housing loan beyond the present Rs 5 lakh? This needs to be examined,” Ramadorai said in his presentation at a seminar jointly organised by the Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning and NHB.

The research also showed that reclassification of non-performing loans from 180 days to 90 days have led to better recovery of home loans as lenders are actively managing their loan portfolios.

It also shows that the recovery law (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002) has helped in the loan recovery process.

satyanarayan.iyer@thehindu.co.in
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PSU bank unions on nation-wide strike today

New Delhi: Four bank employee unions will go on one-day strike today to protest the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill and merger plans of banks.

The unions decided to go ahead with the strike after the conciliatory meeting with Indian Banks' Association before the chief labour commissioner here failed, AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.

Besides All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA) and National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) are participating in the nation-wide strike.

The unions claimed that about 7 lakh employees of various public sector banks would participate in the strike.

The strike follows Lok Sabha clearing Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill after the government dropped controversial provisions relating to allowing banks to trade in futures.

The Bill paves the way for foreign investments in the sector and establishment of new private banks.

The Bill will allow RBI to supersede boards of private sector banks and increase the cap on voting rights of private investors in PSBs to 10 percent from 1 percent.

Many banks, including Indian Bank and Corporation Bank, have informed customers that normal functioning of branches may be affected if strike materialises.

Corporation Bank said that a section of the bank's employees may participate in the proposed strike on the said date, if the strike materialises. In view of the above, it is likely that the normal functioning of the branches may get affected, it said further.

The unions are contesting that the amendment to the banking laws will dilute the interest of public sector banks.

In August, employees of public sector banks had gone on two-day nationwide strike opposing banking sector reforms and outsourcing of non-core activities.

Source: http://daily.bhaskar.com
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Exim Bank extends $76.5-million line of credit to Malawi

Export-Import (Exim) Bank of India has extended a $76.50-million line of credit (LOC) to the Government of Malawi at the behest of the Union Government.

The LOC has been extended for development of an irrigation network under the greenbelt initiative, setting up of refined sugar processing equipment and development of fuel storage facilities in Malawi, the bank said in a statement.

This is Exim Bank’s third LOC extended to the Malawi Government, taking the total value of LOCs to $156.50 million.

The LOCs have supported setting up of cotton ginning facilities, supply of equipment for the Green Belt Initiative, a dal processing plant, equipment for the small holders’ irrigation programme and supplies under the one village-one project programme.

Under the LOCs, Exim Bank reimburses 100 per cent of the contract value to the Indian exporter upfront upon the shipment of goods or provision of services.

With the signing of this LOC agreement, Exim Bank has in place 164 lines of credit covering 75 countries with credit commitments of over $8.61 billion available for financing exports from India.

Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in
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Bank of Maharashtra to increase equity capital

Bank of Maharashtra has informed the BSE that a meeting of the board of directors of the bank will be held on December 22, 2012, to consider the proposal of raising equity capital by way of preferential allotment to Government of India and/or to qualified institutional buyers or rights issue. The government's shareholding as of September 2012 was nearly 79 per cent of the share capital.

The bank had a capital adequacy ratio of 10.75 at the end of September 2012. It had come down sharply from a level of 12.46 three months earlier as business volumes rose sharply in the second quarter. Risk weight assets rose from Rs 51,497 crore to Rs 59,059 crore in the second quarter of the fiscal.
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Allahabad Bank cuts retail term deposit rate to 9%

Allahabad Bank cut its domestic retail term deposit rate by 0.15 per cent to 9 per cent.

"...the Bank has decided to revise the interest rate downward by 0.15 per cent per annum i.e. from existing 9.15 per cent to 9 per cent on domestic retail term deposits scheme with maturity period of one year to less than two years," it said in a BSE filing.

The new rates would be applicable from December 18, 2012, it said.

Earlier in October, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Bank of India had lowered term deposit rates for select maturities.

Source:Economic Times
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Corporation Bank to hire 2,433 this fiscal

Corporation Bank plans to recruit 2,433 personnel during 2012-13, according to its Chairman and Managing Director Ajai Kumar. Of these, nearly 1,100 will be in the officer cadre and the rest in clerical cadre, Ajai Kumar told Business Line.

The bank is in the process of building a talent pool, particularly in specialised areas such as risk management, forex, IT, credit, including agriculture, etc.

The recruitment process is in progress and is expected to be completed by the end of the month, he said.

When asked if all of them would join the bank, he hoped at least half of them would .

Though there is no attrition by way of resignations in respect of selection for the post of Assistant Managers, it is observed that the number of candidates joined is considerably less.

In the case of single window operators (clerical cadre), he said the number of candidates who have joined is considerably less. However, attrition is reasonably limited at 8.17 per cent. He said the reason for this could be that candidates have offers from more than one bank, etc. He hoped that the common recruitment process, which is administered through Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, will help enhance the retention rate in the coming years.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in
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ICICI Bank ties up with MMP Mobi Wallet for money transfer biz

Private sector lender ICICI Bank has partnered a Tata Teleservices subsidiary to launch a money transfer service in two cities. 

Under this service, customers can deposit cash into a retail store of MMP Mobi Wallet Payment Systems along with an advice giving details of the account of the payee, the bank said in a statement.

This money will then be transferred to the bank account of the payee using currently available electronic fund transfer mechanisms such as National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS).

For this service, MMP Mobi Wallet Payments Systems, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Tata Teleservices, will act as a business correspondent of that will allow customers to transfer money for a nominal fee without opening an account.

The money transfer service will be launched in Mumbai and Delhi to begin with and will later extend the services to other parts of the country.

Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said, “This service will allow us to fulfill a basic need of the migrant population to remit money to their homes.”



Beena.parmar@thehindu.co.in
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State Bank of Bikaner to offer education loans online

State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) plans to offer loans to students and small and medium enterprise (SME) online.

The Associate Bank of State Bank of India intends to replicate its ‘make a home or a car loan application online and get interest concession model’ to student loans and small ticket SME loans (up to Rs 1 crore).

SBBJ Managing Director Shiva Kumar said home and car loan customers are gradually getting accustomed to the concept of applying retail loans online. Hence, the bank plans to extend the concept to other products.

Currently, the Jaipur-headquartered bank offers customers applying home loans online a 10 basis points interest rate concession — that is they will get loans at 10.40 per cent interest against the card rate of 10.50 per cent. Similarly, SBBJ is offering customers applying car loans (over Rs 10 lakhs) online a 25 basis points concession -- that is they will get loans at 10.25 per cent interest against the card rate of 10.50 per cent.

“Online retail loans are gradually gaining traction. Home loans and auto loans are sanctioned in 20 minutes and 10 minutes, respectively.

Customers can apply for loans from the comfort of their homes,” said Shiva Kumar.

If all the required documents are in order then the turnaround time for disbursement is three days for home loans and 24 hours for auto loans. In October, the bank received 167 car loan applications and 57 home loan applications online, he added.

ramkumar.k@thehindu.co.in
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Central Bank to recruit 3,196 clerks

Central Bank of India is recruiting 3,196 clerks across the country. Candidates who have appeared in the common written exam conducted by IBPS in 2011-12 and have valid scorecard are eligible to apply.

Registrations open online on December 22 and will close on January 7, 2013. Full details are available on the bank's Web site.
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Banking Bill passed by Lok Sabha: Corporates set to open bank accounts

Large Indian business houses such as the Tatas , Birlas, Bajaj and Reliance came a step closer to entering the banking space with the Lok Sabha passing the Banking Regulation (amendment) Bill on Tuesday, a move which has been cited by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as a pre-requisite for granting new bank licences.

The passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha was facilitated by the removal of a controversial Forward Market's Contract clause that would have allowed banks to enter into future trading of commodities. Very few banks were keen on trading in commodities and some felt that the clause had been incorporated to provide banks a level playing field with corporate giants.

The amendments empower RBI to inspect books of conglomerates , make board and top management appointments in banks and control transfer of large chunks of shares. The bill also allows investors to have voting rights with a higher cap of to 26% from the existing 10% in case of private sector banks and 10% from 1% at present in case of public sector banks.

The increased voting rights to investors, commensurate with their shareholding in existing banks, would help both private and public sector banks to get more foreign investors and help in expanding their capital base. The bill also seeks to exempt certain mergers and acquisitions (M&As), such as peer group mergers, from the purview of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). However, it was clarified that the banking sector will not be outside the CCI's purview.

"The amendments have a much wider ramification than the entry of new banks. It empowers the regulator and gives it much more say in M&As and in appointment of directors," said Ashwin Parekh, partner & global financial leader, Ernst & Young.

Existing banks will gain as their strategic shareholders will be encouraged by the move to increase voting rights. "Entry of new banks may create new market segments and may not hurt existing banks as much as there is undepenetration of banking services in India. We have also seen in the past that competition has benefited the industry as a whole when there is enough room for growth," said Monish Shah, director, Deloitte India.

Once the amendments are enacted, RBI is expected to come out with its final guidelines for the entry of new private banks. Although several conglomerates - including L&T, Tatas, the Aditya Birla Group, Bajaj FinservBSE -0.35 %, Shriram Transport, Religare , ADAG, LICHF and SREI - had evinced interest, there are a host of riders.

The big challenge for RBI would be in the selection process. Bankers say that following the telecom licence scandal and the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the issue of licences, RBI would find it necessary to come out with a watertight process.

Replying during the debate in Parliament, finance minister P Chidambaram said the government would infuse Rs 15,000 crore in public sector banks by March 31, 2013. He said that though Indian public sector banks were very well capitalized, infusion of fresh capital is required to meet increasing demands. He also said that banks would recruit more than 84,000 in the current year and add at least 6,000 more branches, while replying during the debate on the banking bill, which was passed by a voice vote.

Source: Economic Times
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Chidambaram promises more funds to public sector banks

The Centre is committed to infusing more capital into public sector banks (PSBs), Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said.

Replying to the discussions on the Banking Bill in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Chidambaram said that another Rs 15,000 crore capital will be infused in PSBs before end-March.

He said that the Bill would pave the way for PSBs to raise capital through every accepted mode including rights issue, bonus shares without diluting their public sector character.

Chidambaram pointed out that private sector banks are able to grow because they are able to raise more capital. But in the case of PSBs, they have to rely on the Government to infuse capital.

“Today, public sector banks have a share of 75 per cent of the business. Notwithstanding the competition posed by private sector banks, the public sector banks are holding on their own,” he said.

Chidambaram also said that more capital has to be infused into State Bank of India if its status as the largest commercial bank were to be maintained. SBI is looking for more capital infusion from the Government and has already indicated that an option of rights issue was on the table.

He also expressed confidence that economy will come out of the present trough and recovery will happen. “When recovery happens, banks will be required to lend more money”.

On consolidation, Chidambaram pointed out that none of the Indian banks are among the top 20 banks of the world. “China has three”.

India for the size of its GDP and the future that is envisioned needs world-size banks, he said.

“Nobody said that all 27 public sector banks will be consolidated. We said that we need two or three world-size banks. The two or three world-size banks will come by some smaller banks consolidating into larger banks. But we will still have 20 public sector banks and each of them will grow”

If the private sector banks should become larger and larger, should not the public sector banks become larger and larger, Chidambaram asked.

“I think there is a case for merger of banks and there is a case for two or three world-size banks,” Chidambaram said.

The Banking Laws (amendment) Bill 2011 was later passed by the Lower House.

Srivats.kr@thehindu.co.in
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