Digital momentum in the Islands
Andaman & Nicobar State Cooperative Bank had started with a small deposit of `85,000 in 1965-66. Today, its operational area covers the whole union territory through its branches located right from Diglipur at extreme north to Campbell Bay in the extreme south. K. Murugan, Managing Director of the bank, says the bank has a vast coverage with 45 PACS attached to it a network of 41 branches catering to the needs of the customers. This is far wider than the coverage offered by any of 19 commercial and private banks operating in the union territory.
LOANS FOR CARS, LAPTOPS
The bank has recently reduced rate of interest on deposits and advances for housing, building and term loans. Says Murugan: “We have mobilized deposits of `14 billion and we have extended advances at `6.8 billion as on 31 March 2021.”
He says there is a big demand for 4-wheeler loans in the islands, and hence the bank started a separate scheme ‘Vahan Mela’ exclusively for the islanders at concessional rates of interests The bank has also introduced a cooperative vidya loan for the tuition / coaching fees of students. It is now offering ‘E-Shiksha Loans’ for students for them to buy laptops, personal computers, computer accessories, smart phones or tablets given that education now is mostly online.
The bank provides consumer durable loans for the customers to buy day-today requirement i tems like refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, etc. It has started ‘Cooperative Privilege Banking’ for the niche/high net worth customers. It has also specifically extended loans for fish vendors for them to buy refrigerated vehicles or insulated vehicles, motor cycles and threewheelers with ice boxes for transporting fish.
CREDIT TO FARMERS
The bank is providing timely and adequate credit to the farmers through PACS and other cooperatives. Initially, it had restricted its activities to short-term lending, but it has now started extending credit to agriculturists, small entrepreneurs, small
Andaman & Nicobar State Cooperative Bank responds to demand for 4-wheelers, personal computers, smart phones and tablets during covid times:
scale industries, artisans, retail traders, BPL families and urban consumers. During the last financial year, it disbursed KCC loans worth `76.83 million to 1377 farmers.
The bank had bagged the 1st prize for ‘overall performance’ in the country for the year 2018-19 from National Federation of State Cooperative Banks.
NEFT, RTGS MEMBERSHIP
The bank had computerized its counter services in 1992. All its 41 branches are on CBS. Murugan states that the bank had recently commenced issuing RuPay debit cards, which are accessible at ATMs of all the banks.
The bank has been disseminating information on financial literacy for school children and the villagers. It had at the end of the last financial year enrolled 12,389 members for PMSBY, 5017 for PMJJBY and 13,630 for PMJDY. The total value of digital payments through PoS was `11.14 million through some 3679 transactions. It could also achieve 2498 NEFT transactions of a total value of `107.51 million. 346 RTGS transactions of a total value of `238.43 million and 596 IMPS transactions of a total value of `6.01 million.
GOVT SCHEMES, PROGRAMS
The bank has also been providing support to the islanders through schemes like PMEGP, Kisan credit cards, etc. Says Murugan: “A total of over 14,000 bank accounts are opened under PMJDY scheme during the past year.”
The bank has introduced microATMs in a mobile van for the benefit of villages staying in far-flung areas. “We have purchased a mobile van for north & middle Andaman and have recently undertaken a loan mela for the customers in these areas. We conducted 60 financial literacy programs in the rural branches and unbanked areas during the last FY and completed door delivery of pensions for over 16,700 beneficiaries during delicate covid times,” says Murugan.
HELPING EMPLOYEES, SOCIETY
During the pandemic, the bank’s employees were facing difficulties to use their vehicles because of the limited stock of petrol. The bank then bought a bus for transporting the staff from their homes to the offices and back. This has been done through employee welfare fund.
The bank has formed a ‘Cooperative Care Trust’ to help needy persons during medical emergencies and to meet the costs involved in funerals. Besides, the bank also has introduced ‘Health is wealth’ concept and has provided a fitness room for the employees. All the employees are covered under ‘Annual Health Insurance Scheme’ of `500,000 of the United India Insurance Company.