SBI Readies Mega Tech Spend To Take Bank To Global Level

Bhubaneswar, Aug 29: | Updated: Aug 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
The State Bank of India (SBI) has revised its technology upgradation plan by ramping up the planned investment as well as the speed at which work is progressing.

The technology plan is being revised to enable the Bank to operate at the global level in coming years, SBI chairman AK Purwar told FE.

Declining to quantify the amount to be spend in the revised technology programme, he said: a much higher outlay will be made for technology upgradation in the next two to three years. The bank was planning to spend Rs 500 crore in the technology upgradation programme in three years, but now we have realised that the amount would be exhausted by this year. He said that, given the pace at which the computerisation programme is progressing, all the 9,000 branches of SBI would be computerised by September 2004.

While the entire Chandigarh circles and Bangalore circle would be computerised by August 30, the Chennai and Orissa circles would be completed by October 2003 and January 2004 respectively. On the IT front, the bank has to computerise its branches, set up more automated teller machines (ATMs) and network them, and implement its core banking solution.

Mr Purwar said that SBIs network of 1,800 ATMs would be expanded to 3,000 by March 2004. He said the pilot project of the Core Banking Solution would be operative at Mumbai on August 29 this year, following which it will be implemented at 50 more branches by March next year. Over 3,000 branches would have the core banking solution by March 2005.

SBI also plans to expand its network of 49 offices abroad by setting up 21 offices in South Africa, West Asian region, Bangladesh and Australia. Mr Purwar, who is on a three day visit to the state from Tuesday, inaugurated the single window branch of SBI at Utkal University campus on Wednesday. He said all SBI branches would have this facility by March next year. At present, 1,200 branches including 23 in Orissa offer this facility.

On the Resurgent India Bonds (RIB), due for redemption in October this year, the chairman said SBI has excluded the US from its road shows, which are aimed at tapping at least 30 to 35 per cent of the Rs 26,000 crore bond money. We have to some issues to be sorted out the US government, he said. Admitting that there is substantial shift towards investment away from advances, he said the bank is trying to correct the anomalies.