Bank of Baroda has established 12 branches that are dedicated to helping start-up companies. We are going to help these companies both financially and technologically. This will help in achieving our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of having more start-up companies in the country, says G B Panda, Head – Government Relationships, Bank of Baroda in conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN).
How has been your experience in this conference so far?
The conference was very insightful. We got a lot of new ideas from the banking perspective. As a financial partner, we can help Smart Cities to achieve their goals. Also, we can play a part by fulfilling our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals.
In the inaugural session, you have talked about giving financial as well as technical support to the Smart Cities. Can you please throw some light on the technical aspects?
The traditional way of bankers is undergoing a radical change. Apart from giving financial support now, we are also going into advisory services. We are tying up with a lot of Information Technology (IT) companies to build our IT infrastructure. Managing all your resources over a period of time can be a herculean task. You can manage this with the help of technology and FinTech companies. At Bank of Baroda, we have established a centre of excellence in collaboration with IBM and a centre of analytics with the help of Accenture. We have also tied up with more than 50 FinTech companies to bring in new knowledge and innovation. In this way, we will be helping not only in the development of Smart Cities but also effectively manage other projects.
Besides the urban sector, what are the other sectors are you contributing to?
Bank of Baroda has already established 12 branches that are dedicated to helping start-up companies. We are going to help these companies both financially and technologically. This will help in achieving our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of having more start-up companies in the country. Simultaneously, we are helping Standup India for financial inclusion.
We are working on the integration of government service portals like GeM, eNAM, IRCTC, etc. Also, we are working on the concept of “one nation one card.” The first tranche of National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) has already been launched by us. You can use this card to travel in trains, metro, buses, and cabs, which will help streamline the transit system. All these innovations and integrations are being carried out by the Bank of Baroda. We don’t want to remain a traditional bank. We want to go ahead and integrate with modern technology.
Are you doing anything on e-mobility?
For achieving e-mobility, we have to decongest the cities and make them pollution-free. One of the ways to achieve this is to go with electronic vehicles. Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla, started this initiative. In India, companies like Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata are coming up with e-vehicles. I think over a period of time it is going to be mandatory for the government services and public sector undertakings to buy e-vehicles. If this happens then it will percolate down to individuals and they will also start buying it. Bank of Baroda wants to play its role in this. If individuals approach us for loans to buy e-vehicles, we can give them some concessions so more people can get onboard.
Also, along with e-vehicles, e-charging stations will come up in large numbers. We can also play a part in this.
Can you please tell us about any CSR initiatives taken by your organisation?
We are doing a lot of things with regard to CSR but presently, the banking industry is under a lot of stress. Previously we used to spend a lot of money on CSR but because our profitability is under stress, we have to cut down on expenses. Still, we are doing a lot of things. This foundation day, we went to schools for blind children, orphanages, old age homes, institutes for the mentally challenged and distributed blankets, rations, etc. We also distributed water coolers to these institutions and ambulances to hospitals.
Also, we are talking to the Urban Ministry whether we can adapt some of the colonies so that beautification activities and waste management can be taken up. We are going to do all that is possible under the law regarding CSR activities.
How is Bank of Baroda’s presence in South India?
Bank of Baroda has become bigger. Vijaya and Dena Banks have merged with us. Now we have a pan India presence and our branches are evenly distributed all across the country. With the amalgamation of Vijaya Bank, our distribution network has increased by leaps & bounds. Our market share which was previously around 3 to 4 percent has gone up to around 22 percent. Vijaya bank is very strong in the retail portfolio and they are traditionally loved by people in the south. We are building on their strength to capitalise the market.
Have you taken up anything on the education front?
Bank of Baroda has different schemes regarding education loans, starting from students studying in the 10th standard to students that are going abroad. Unfortunately, this sector has seen a lot of strain and a lot of accounts have become Non-performing Assets (NPAs) over a period of time. But there is always a plan for bigger institutions like IITs and IIMs.
We already have services like Baroda scholar and Baroda Gyan but we want to make them more user- friendly so that people can directly apply for loans on these platforms.
We have a dedicated vertical head who looks after education loans. We are giving a high priority to education loans because this is a part of the nation-building process. Our Prime Minister has also laid a lot of emphasis on this so I think Bank of Baroda will not be left out. We will put in our part and we’ll see to it that this sector improves both qualitatively and quantitatively.