“Lack of business prospect had made the bank rethink the Vietnam operation,” said a top official of the bank adding that the bank had enough presence in the region including Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Shanghai. The bank is planning to convert the Sydney representative office into a fullfledged branch after receiving approval from the Australian Financial Authority.
Meanwhile, the largest commercial bank is gearing up to launch a number of new products in the current year. The plan includes upgradation of ATM cards to debit cards, upgraded version of tele-banking, smart cards, co-branded cards, railway reservation through ATM and the internet.
The bank is in talks with the Indian Railways to facilitate on-line railway reservation to any part of the country through the bank’s website, which will have a link-up with the Railways site for making payment through the bank’s ATMs. The bank, which has already issued 14.04 lakh Kisan Credit Cards covering aggregate credit limits of Rs 2,873 crore, has a target to issue more than 8.20 lakh Kisan Credit cards and 1.15 lakh Kisan Gold Cards during 2002-2003.
With over 2 lakh employees, the bank has focussed on Human Resources Management area by framing manpower plan with the assistance of National Institute of Bank Management to meet the requirement to re-skill and re-deploy existing staff. The bank is constituting an independent recruitment department as the Banking Service Recruitment Boards and Central Recruitment Boards of the Bank have been abolished.
The bank is collaborating with reputed training and management institutes in the country. It has set up an advisory council consisting of senior HR practitioners from the banks and experts from Indian Institute of Management and other organisations. The bank has set up a ‘scheme for recognition and reward for the best trainer’ at apex level and at the ‘Best Satellite Centre’.
The bank also has taken a critical review of the existing structure with a view to align it with the business strategies. Several new positions in the rank of deputy general managers were created to give impetus to technology, product development and marketing initiatives of the bank.
The right sizing exercise for rationalising the manpower at administrative offices is being continued with a view to redeploying the surplus staff at branches.