Technology and quick sanctions are its growth drivers:
The Jagtial, Telangana-based Gayatri Cooperative Urban Bank started functioning in 2000 targeting the poor and middle class people of in and around the district. When launched, it had just 1008 members and `2.5 million as share capital. Since then, the bank has been able to mobilize a membership to 33,832 and increase its share capital to `224.6 million.
RAPID NETWORK GROWTH
The bank today has 21 branches across the state. In FY 2017-18, it opened 2 new branches and installed 15 new ATMs. Vanamala Srinivas, the bank’s MD and CEO, says the plan is to open 16 more branches and 25 additional ATMs by the end of 2018-19. He maintains that lot of additional conveniences are provided at the branches, while CBS has been upgraded and mobile banking has been introduced. The bank has also installed onsite ATMs at 10 branches.
Says Srinivas: “We have been ensuring sufficient cash levels at the ATMs as well as at the branch counters after the demonetization so that our customers are not inconvenienced.”
The bank has 148 employees, after adding 35 new employees in 2017-18. Business per employee increased to `53.7 million during the year from `49.1 million a year ago. The bank is intending to hire professionals like MBAs in finance as well as those with accounting qualifications during the current financial year.
1 LAKH NEW CUSTOMERS
The bank had a customer base of 386,548 as of 2017-18. Srinivas says several steps have been initiated during the year to attract new borrowers. He adds that the bank has been able to reach a premier position without having to compromise the spirit of cooperative principles even as it was able to assimilate and implement newer methods of work organization and management. It never wavered from its commitment to its objectives. The bank has been providing numerous technologybased services like mobile banking, RTGS, NEFT, NACH, ATM, RuPay debit card and toll-free banking.
The bank has introduced lower interest rates, levies no processing charges in many instances and quick and easy processing has been the norm. It has also introduced a dedicated loans processing center at the head office and various loan products to meet specific needs of customers with full security. “We are able to achieve considerable growth in the number of accounts. For the convenience of the new customers, we provide the facility to take photographs and copies of documents at our own branch premises so that account opening is an effortless process. There are no extra charges for these services. We have also been providing safest locker facility to our customers without any caution deposits. Our banking timings are from 10 am to 7 pm. Our aim is to have 100,000 new customers in this financial year,” says Srinivas.
There is a help desk at the entrance of every branch of the bank with the aim of helping and guiding illiterate people who would want to open accounts and avail of banking facilities. Besides, existing customers can get required information about their own accounts and obtain account statements at these help desks. They are also guided to respective counters to carry out their transactions. The bank provides `100,000 accidental insurance to the Gayatri Nirbhaya Saving Account holders.
MORE DEPOSITS & LOANS
The bank had collected `1412.4 million in deposits in 2017-18 while it extended `981.2 million in loans and advances. With cumulative deposits of `4833.6 million and advances of `3117.3 million, the bank has been able to achieve a yoy growth of 41.29% in deposits and 45.94% in loans. Says Srinivas: “Since inception we are concentrating on low cost and no cost deposits to reduce the interest expenditure. As on 31 March 2018, we have `2170 million of CASA deposits.”
The bank has been concentrating on agriculture, retail trade and small-scale industries as the main sectors to offer credit facilities. Besides, it has also providing loans for higher education, and for trade. It has a wide range of products to cater to the needs of large, medium and small customers and through these products, it has been supporting all types of entrepreneurs, who have been benefited from the financial backing provided by the bank.
Srinivas hopes to have better performance on the loan front in 2018-19. “In the current market scenario, there is more scope for lending. As we are offering interest rates
on loans on par with nationalized banks, and we have an efficient loan processing system, we expect to see a 45-49% growth in loans and advances in this financial year. We propose to lend more to agriculture and allied segments in 2018-19.”
BETTER CREDIT APPRAISAL
The centralized loan processing center has made the loan processing easy and less time consuming. The experienced staff at the center thoroughly scrutinizes the proposals from branches and depending on viability, recommends sanction of loans to the competent authority. The center ensures that disbursements are permitted only as per terms of sanction and post-sanction inspection of the unit and securities. Moreover, it also regularly watches the loan accounts and follows up regularly with the branches on recovery procedures.
Says Srinivas: “With a dedicated team at the helm at the center, the loan proposals are moving fast and sanctions for viable projects are given on priority basis. These quick sanctions attract many customers to us. The team also ensures that supervision and monitoring of credit are meticulously followed to ensure that the accounts operate at estimated levels. The accounts are closely monitored and timely corrective actions will be initiated to check any slippage. Monthly reports in a prescribed format on slippages are generated, which are closely examined by me and my office and immediate corrective action is initiated. The percentage of loan proposals approved by the bank during the last 3 years is 74% (2015-16), 77% (2016-17) and 78% (2017-18).”
The bank has implemented CBS. It has also commissioned technology tools for e-payment services, auto reconciliation of all payment systems and mobile banking application. It has ATM sub-membership under NFS with NPCI. Recently it has upgraded its CBS, ATM services, mobile banking services and SMS banking facility. It also has NACH, Host to Host connectivity, CTS clearing services and RTGS. Mumbai-based BSG IT Soft and Pune-based Sarvatra Technologies are the main technology vendors and consultants. The bank is running all the payment systems under ASP model, which means there is no one time investment. Therefore, there is no allocated IT budget, says Srinivas. There is an IT team consisting of 9 members.
The bank has plans to launch a number of digital products during this financial year. These include, according to Srinivas, tollfree banking, enabling the customers for FD booking, hot-listing ATM cards, loan enquiry, loan EMI payments, cheque book requests, payments of utility bills through BBPS, kiosk self-service points for passbook printing, cash deposits and transfer entries, RuPay platinum cards, UPI and QR payment system.
The bank is already providing direct cash benefit transfer facility through Aadhaar seeding. It has mapped 248,449 accounts in NPCI.
SECURITY @ BRANCHES, ATM
The bank has improved physical security at branches and ATMs in the last 12 months. It has appointed security guards on 24-hour duty at all the ATMs. In addition, it has installed surveillance cameras for an effective monitoring system.
All the ATMs installed by the bank are of NCR make. On an average, 613 transactions take place per day per ATM. The bank has issued 123,417 RuPay ATM/debit cards.
The bank’s gross NPA stood at as on 31-032018 is `29.593 million (0.95% of total loans) as against `10.385 million (0.49%) a year ago. Srinivas says the movement of NPA to standard and standard to NPA has been an ongoing process subject to market situations. The net NPA is nil. “There is 184.96% of growth in amount and 93.88% of growth in percentage terms in gross NPA. But, there are no willful defaulters and no chronic NPAs. We are trying to maintain gross NPA to be less than 2% in the current financial year and net NPA as nil in future also,” says Srinivas.
NO THIRD-PARTY PRODUCTS
Gayatri Cooperative Urban Bank is not interested in selling insurance products to its customers, because it feels that nowadays customers are hesitant to spend their time for discussion on these products. The bank has no plans to sell any new third party-products during this year as well, as it is the strategy of the bank to not bother the customers. “We want our customers to happily visit our bank branches for their banking needs only. We will continue to use the insurance tie-ups only for the purpose of offering them to our employees,” says Srinivas.
TARGETS FOR BRANCHES
The bank has dedicated audit and legal cells at head office to guide and monitor the branches to comply with regulatory needs. However, it does not have separate teams for marketing. Explains Srinivas: “We divided our branch business into 4 sections, allotted to 4 officers at the branch. These section heads have to market and improve their allotted business/ products to achieve their targets.”
While the bank’s operations are confined to Telangana, it had stood at the second place among all the UCBs in the state in terms of business and operations. Srinivas reveals: “We have been aiming to become a multistate cooperative urban bank soon and also to be in first position in Telangana.”
Vanamala Srinivas is optimistic about a better scope for lending in the current market scenario
Inauguration of Nirmal branch of Gayatri Coop Bank by A. Indrakaran Reddy, Minister for Endowment, Telangana