Using POS & micro-ATMs to boost business
Andhra Pragati Grameena Bank received ‘IBA Banking Technology Award2018’ for its use of technology to improve operations. The bank’s chairman A. Venkata Reddy outlines the bank’s successful technology initiatives:
Mehul: What are the major technologies that the bank has inducted recently?
A. Venkata Reddy: We have been functioning on CBS since September 2011 covering 100% of our operations. We have been continuously leveraging technology for improving our business through better customer service and bringing in customer delight. All the alternate delivery channels are made available to the customers. We have commenced RTGS/NEFT in November 2012, NACH in June 2013, CPSMS in December 2013, RuPay debit card in March 2014, AML/KYC in April 2014, POS in June 2015, mobile banking and ATMs in August 2015, missedcall banking in October 2015, IMPS in November 2015, eKYC in April 2016 and audio conferencing in July 2016.
What is size of IT department?
We have 31 staff members in the IT team. The department is headed by a general manager, assisted by one AGM and a senior manager, 7 managers, 5 assistant managers and an office assistant. As many as 15 IT officers are deployed at 8 regional offices.
What about IT training offered to the staff?
We have been providing requisite training for our IT staff. We are deputing our staff for training offered by institutions like BIRD, IDRBT, etc. We have a new strategy in place of identifying and training of gen-next tech-savvy staff on various technologies to ensure maximum uptime and high availability of all systems and quick resolution of all system related issues for uninterrupted and better customer service.
Some of the training programs we have undertaken are on CBS applications, alternative delivery channels, financial inclusion, KYC/AML/CFT, banking ombudsman, BCSBI, credit management, customer relationship management, internal control, house-keeping and preventive vigilance, marketing of bank products & services, NFS, high value advances and CGTMSE loans, NPA management, profitability management etc. We have always given priority to CBS training so that all the concerned staff – officers and assistants – are conversant with the programs. Whenever an upgrade is made available to the CBS, we instantly offer training to the concerned staff.
How does the bank handle customers’ needs using IT?
We have a call center at the head office to address all card-related issues. All the branches are provided with DIGI Banker - an officer is identified to address the IT related issues and to promote IT initiatives. We are the first RRB in Andhra Pradesh to implement e-Commerce and internet banking facilities for our customers. We have received 2 IT awards during 2017-18 - IBA Banking Technology Awards-2018 under RRB category for implementing all technology initiatives such as UPI, IMPS, internet banking, mobile banking, NEFT, RTGS, USSD, e-Commerce, missed call banking, e-Passbook, and best IT enabled excellence award under technology excellence category from IDRBT for adopting emerging technology and implementing technology initiatives on par with nationalized banks.
Which are your main IT vendors?
C-Edge is the company that provided us CBS, AML, MIS and LOS. For CTS, we have a tie-up with HDFC Bank. Our data center is located at Netmagic’s facility at Vikhroli in Mumbai and DR site at Netmagic, Bengaluru. The data center can handle 200 transactions per second.
How is technology put to use with regard to NPA management?
In our CBS, we have incorporated a new functionality – auto-movement of NPAs. We periodically hold video conferences and teleconferences with regional offices, high value NPA branch managers and officers (advances) in order to keep track of NPAs and contain them.
What is the feedback from customers?
We have encouraging response from our customers to our various technology initiatives. We have been placed at a high pedestal as regards digital transactions by RRBs in the country. Our customers are happy about our IT-based services, especially with our mobile banking app which is very user friendly.
What are the IT plans and digital initiatives likely to be undertaken in the medium term?
We would like to introduce POS at merchant outlets and also micro-ATMs at branch level to boost the business levels of the bank. The expenditure for installing micro-ATMs at all branches is estimated around `1.50 crore and 80% cost of this expenditure will be by way of grant assistance by Nabard.
A. Venkata Reddy claims the bank’s customers appreciate the technology-based services, especially its mobile banking app