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‘Technology and human resources are my top priority,’ says S Sridhar

S Sridhar, CMD, Central Bank of India and chairman of the National Housing Bank, talks to Moneylife editors Sucheta Dalal & Debashis Basu on how he plans to shape the future of CBI. This is the final part of a three-part series

Sucheta Dalal & Debashis Basu (ML): Central Bank of India has a history of strong trade unions. What has been your experience in dealing with unions?

S Sridhar (SS): There is a way of handling unions. First of all, they are white-collar people. There are many people actively working in the unions, who would have been in the top management of banks, if they had taken their promotions. They are bright people. One has to take them into confidence and ensure that they feel they are contributing. Generally, I have tried to be fair and transparent and show that there is no personal axe to grind. We have said that there will be zero tolerance for anything mala fide, but I had issued a written circular that as long as there is a bona fide business judgement we will protect you. That is a promise I have kept; but when there are mala fide actions we have even dismissed people. So I have had no problems at all. There may be some minor irritations or issues, but that is to be expected.

ML: What are your priorities at Central Bank?

SS: The priority is to make Central Bank a modern bank - it has been lagging over the years. When banks were nationalised, it was the number one bank after State Bank of India but over the years it (has) slipped. The main reason was not enough attention to human resources. It is a bit of an old-age home. The average age here is 53.

ML: Why is Central Bank an exception, if they follow the same recruitment policies?

SS: Somewhere in the last 10-12 years, other banks realised this and took corrective action. Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank - all did something about the skewed age profile, but Central Bank couldn't do it because of union issues, etc. A cardinal flaw was that Central Bank wasn't taking in direct recruits - that is why, in every category, there is hardly anyone below 50. This brings with it a set of issues - risk aversion; focus on family and refusal to be transferred away from the hometown. Also, there was no attention to work processes and practices. So that is my first priority. Technology and human resources are my top priority - in the process I have also restructured the bank by creating certain business verticals. I created corporate verticals and large corporate branches. Central Bank has always had a good relationship with customers and we also have several top customers, but over time, our share of their wallet had decreased significantly. The corporate sector has been a big thrust area - but they are good for the balance sheet but not the bottom-line which has to come from retail and SME (small and medium enterprises). SME has been good last year with 53% growth - that has to be maintained. Retail is going to be the big thrust area this year. In terms of technology, we have all the products in place - credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards, we are also ready with mobile banking, Internet banking, SMS alerts, etc. We now need to roll out what we have, but that is the challenge. We are rolling out ATMs in a big way, by 1st September (we) will have 900 and by December we will have 1,800 ATMs all over. By 30th June next year, we will have 3,000 ATMs in place. I think that is very important to attract young people and it is especially good for us, given the age profile. Getting younger people back is a priority, because they are the ones who have the money to spend. One thing in that direction is that we are official bankers to the Commonwealth Games; we want to bring the young, sporty image to the bank. We are also getting into our centenary year at the end of December.

User

COMMENTS

RDesikan

7 years ago

Excellent interview. Both Mrs Suchitra dalal and Mr Sridhar have got the best out of the interview. This interview should be translated into all Indian languages , and some information added and distributed to a large number of CBI'scustomers.
desikan

Snake oil, bridges to sell: And they have much more to unleash

 Every day, my phone spews out text messages that promise me stocks that will reach for the skies, insurance products that give me usurious returns and freebies like gold coins. However, I am not biting    

        "Will you walk into my parlour, said the spider to the fly, 
          I have many curious things, to show you when you're there."
         "Oh, no, no," said the little fly; to ask me is in vain, 
       For who goes up your winding stair, can ne'er come down again."

I keep getting text messages on my phone (I have registered in the "Do Not Call" Registry long ago) offering me really tempting investment products. Two days ago, I got one, which reads as under:

 Sender: +917667396014

"BAJAJ ALLIANZ: DEPOSIT 8800/Yr or 5000/ Half Yr for 3 Yr July 20, Get FREE SPOT 1gm GOLD COIN, Approximately 52800 at 5 Yr, FREE PENSION PLAN, SAVE TAX. CAL: 9840150809" 

Of course, I have not corrected this message for grammar, but the arithmetic is very interesting. The return is close to 36% p.a.! Bajaj Allianz must be a fantastic money manager.

But I am a born sceptic. So, I will pass this offer. Alas, no one in the mutual fund industry promises me this return. I do not get any text messages from any mutual fund agent promising me this kind of returns. Other than Bajaj Allianz, I also get similar messages with almost identical numbers, citing LIC. The moment I can spare this amount, I am going to invest in a Bajaj Allianz product. In addition, I will get a gold coin! I wonder if I have to pay any tax on it or would I be asked to pay up on account of TDS?

I also wondered at the other fantastic thing. I could either pay Rs8,800 every year or Rs5,000 every half year, with the same end result! So, the investment option has to be fantastic.

With these returns assured by Bajaj Allianz, surely other insurance companies cannot be far behind. Then why are they protesting about offering a guarantee of a measly 4.5% annual return on pension products? Then a thought struck me. Maybe they want to have a guaranteed rate that is much higher, given that the offer to me was at a handsome 36%.

I also think that in my younger days these insurance products were not around at all. Here I have HDFC Standard Life promising me that I can be an independent person in my old age, if they take care of my money. I wonder how they can do so, given that they have been around for less than 10 years. But then, I think, it is only an advertisement and if there was anything funny, IRDA would not have permitted it. In my days, LIC would only give guaranteed returns of around 8%-9%, post tax. Now, all of them have moved to much higher numbers, though these text messages (Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation) give me hope that they can give me great returns.

Each day, the phone brings forth text messages that promise me the riches. Stocks that will multiply in price, insurance products that give me usurious returns and many freebies like gold coins, etc. I have resisted so far because of age, lack of surplus money to gamble and my innate scepticism. Wonder how many people respond to the messages and enjoy these returns.

It would be nice if any of our readers can tell me if I should give my money to the agent who sent me the text message. And I wonder if either Bajaj Allianz or IRDA can confirm the numbers, so that I can also join the elite club that can make so much returns. In case the numbers are not okay, will IRDA step in and do something? I do not expect the insurance company to do anything, because its job is to sell.

User

COMMENTS

MUKESH KUMAR

7 years ago

Corrections to my comments just written :
(1) para 2….
“….COMPALINING TO BOTH BSNL & TRAI - THE SO-CALLED MAI-BAAP OF TELECOM IN THIS BLESSED(!) COUNTRY >>> addendum: IS LIKE TALKING TO WALLS! NOTHING UNDER THE SUN/MOON MOVES/SHAKES THEM!

(2)
BUT LIKE STrATOSPHERE (OUTER SPACE),

MUKESH KUMAR

7 years ago

THOUGH I MAY SOUND LIKE A PESSIMIST, SINCE I CARE & AM CONCERNED A LOT, ON BEFALF OF & FOR LAKHS OF PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY (INCLUDING MYSELF), WHO, BY & LARGE, DO NOT BOTHER TO COMPLAIN FOR ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN (OR DO FOR WRONG REASONS!) - FOR MULTIPLE REASONS - (A TOPIC IN ITSELF!), I AM WRITING THIS.

I LIVE IN CHENNAI MOSTLY & TRAVEL A LOT GLOBALLY & LOCALLY, BUT NO OTHER PLACE IN INDIA GETS AS MANY SALES CALLS & SMS FLOODS DAILY IF YOU ARE A BSNL 'SUB'(SCRIBER) DESPITE ONE OF THE DOZENS OF ROUTINE FARCES OF INDIA, CALLED DNC, WHERE I HAVE REGISTERED AT LEAST A QUARTER DOZEN TIMES! COMPALINING TO BOTH BSNL(BROTHER/COUSIN OF MTNL) & TRAI - THE SO-CALLED MAI-BAAP OF TELCOM IN THIS BLESSED(!) COUNTRY!

I HAVE EVEN MET THE CGM OF BSNL IN CHENNAI ON THIS (& A VARIETY OF OTHER BSNL NUISANCES WE ARE BORN TO PUT UP WITH!), BUT LIKE STATOSPHERE (OUTER SPACE), NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON ANY PROBLEMS FOR WHICH WE PERSEVERELY PURSUE!

IF I WAS GIVEN OCCUPATIONAL EARNING MONEY TO NARRATE 'WHAT AILS INDIA', I CAN ASSURE OF AT LEAST ONE TOPIC/SUBJECT/ARTICLE EVERY ALTERNATE DAY!

I FEEL MANY A TIMES THAT MY SURVIVAL'S PURPOSE IS TO TAKE CARE OF THESE SALES CALLERS, FOR WHOM (ONLY) I WAS BORN & AM ALIVE!

OVER & ABOVE, I EVEN GET COVERT THREATS FROM SOME OF THE BOSSES OF THESE 'AFTER MARKETERS' IF I DONT GIVE INTO THEIR PITCH!

NOW, THE MOOT POINT IS : IS THERE ANY SINGLE (HUMAN OR OTHERWISE) BODY IN THIS LARGEST (FARCE-O-CRACY CALLED DEMOCRACY) WHO WOULD BOTHER & ENSURE THAT PERENNIEL ISSUES AFFECTING TEEMING THOUSANDS & LAKHS, IF NOT MILLIONS, WOULD EVER BE RESOLVED TO THE POINT THAT SUBSEQUENTLY OTHERS JUST DON'T HAVE TO BOTHER, DEAL WITH & GET HARASSED FOR!

ABSOLUTELY NOT! UNLESS & UNTIL A HANDFUL OF CONCERNED PEOPLE LIKE MONEYLIFE ORGANIZATION, ITS CONCERNED READERS & RESPONDERS STRIVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT WITH LOTS OF COOPERATION, SUPPORT & UNDERSTANDING OF THE CORE ISSUES!

HOPE SOMETHING POSITIVE BREWS OUT OF THIS!













MUKESH KUMAR

7 years ago

THOUGH I MAY SOUND LIKE A PESSIMIST, SINCE I CARE & AM CONCERNED A LOT, ON BEFALF OF & FOR LAKHS OF PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY (INCLUDING MYSELF), WHO, BY & LARGE, DO NOT BOTHER TO COMPLAIN FOR ANYTHING UNDER THE SUN (OR DO FOR WRONG REASONS!) - FOR MULTIPLE REASONS - (A TOPIC IN ITSELF!), I AM WRITING THIS.

I LIVE IN CHENNAI MOSTLY & TRAVEL A LOT GLOBALLY & LOCALLY, BUT NO OTHER PLACE IN INDIA GETS AS MANY SALES CALLS & SMS FLOODS DAILY IF YOU ARE A BSNL 'SUB'(SCRIBER) DESPITE ONE OF THE DOZENS OF ROUTINE FARCES OF INDIA, CALLED DNC, WHERE I HAVE REGISTERED AT LEAST A QUARTER DOZEN TIMES! COMPALINING TO BOTH BSNL(BROTHER/COUSIN OF MTNL) & TRAI - THE SO-CALLED MAI-BAAP OF TELCOM IN THIS BLESSED(!) COUNTRY!

I HAVE EVEN MET THE CGM OF BSNL IN CHENNAI ON THIS (& A VARIETY OF OTHER BSNL NUISANCES WE ARE BORN TO PUT UP WITH!), BUT LIKE STATOSPHERE (OUTER SPACE), NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON ANY PROBLEMS FOR WHICH WE PERSEVERELY PURSUE!

IF I WAS GIVEN OCCUPATIONAL EARNING MONEY TO NARRATE 'WHAT AILS INDIA', I CAN ASSURE OF AT LEAST ONE TOPIC/SUBJECT/ARTICLE EVERY ALTERNATE DAY!

I FEEL MANY A TIMES THAT MY SURVIVAL'S PURPOSE IS TO TAKE CARE OF THESE SALES CALLERS, FOR WHOM (ONLY) I WAS BORN & AM ALIVE!

OVER & ABOVE, I EVEN GET COVERT THREATS FROM SOME OF THE BOSSES OF THESE 'AFTER MARKETERS' IF I DONT GIVE INTO THEIR PITCH!

NOW, THE MOOT POINT IS : IS THERE ANY SINGLE (HUMAN OR OTHERWISE) BODY IN THIS LARGEST (FARCE-O-CRACY CALLED DEMOCRACY) WHO WOULD BOTHER & ENSURE THAT PERENNIEL ISSUES AFFECTING TEEMING THOUSANDS & LAKHS, IF NOT MILLIONS, WOULD EVER BE RESOLVED TO THE POINT THAT SUBSEQUENTLY OTHERS JUST DON'T HAVE TO BOTHER, DEAL WITH & GET HARASSED FOR!

ABSOLUTELY NOT! UNLESS & UNTIL A HANDFUL OF CONCERNED PEOPLE LIKE MONEYLIFE ORGANIZATION, ITS CONCERNED READERS & RESPONDERS STRIVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT WITH LOTS OF COOPERATION, SUPPORT & UNDERSTANDING OF THE CORE ISSUES!

HOPE SOMETHING POSITIVE BREWS OUT OF THIS!













Jagriti Singh

7 years ago

Bajaj Allianz has not approved or authorized any of its licensed intermediary to send this type of frivolous SMS text messages. When circulation of such SMS were brought to our notice, we traced it to a person who was an agent, terminated in 2008. Bajaj Allianz is exploring options to put an immediate stop to the circulation of such frivolous SMS as it is affects our brand name.

jagdish MANGHNANi

7 years ago

Dear Sir

Only 6 and 10 percent chart is permited by IRDA in prsentation. Or in the best case calculate the past returns and show it but past preformance cannot be guratnted but 36 percent return will double your money in 2 years the investor should aPPly his Mind How is it possible

Jagdish





Praveen

7 years ago

The concerned agent should be taken to IRDA and his license should be suspended.

yogesh

7 years ago

Lucky you. You atleast have got some sender number in your messages. I have been receiving a lot of stock tips, mostly sent using something like TD-BigBull etc. I use Tata Indicom and almost all the unsolicitted commercial messages, I receive, have T as starting letter which is nothing but application-to-peer identification prefix (read more http://www.moneylife.in/article/76/2735.html ). In my case, it is quite clear that all spam messages I receive are originating from Tata Indicom itself! And despite numorous mails, I am still receiving the same.

REPLY

R Balakrishnan

In Reply to yogesh 7 years ago

I too get a regular flow of spam messages like plots of land, stock tips, health club messages etc thru bulk sms from BSNL, which cares two hoots for DNC.

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