‘Tech Investment is Inadequate, People’s Empowerment Vital’

Atul Kumar
Atul Kumar, General Manager-IT, Syndicate Bank

Implementation of technology and innovation has always been a challenging task, particularly when you are doing a new project. Not only the unforeseen challenges, but there are also major chances of the opposition. For smooth tech-implementation, we at Syndicate Bank treat our vendors as partners and put our heart and soul to resolve any issue in project management, says Atul Kumar, General Manager-IT, Syndicate Bank, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Technology is playing a vital role in reinventing the banking sector. How do you utilise tech-innovations in curbing the menace of NonPerforming Assets (NPAs)?

Technology plays extremely important role for detection and early warning of NPAs. It would be impossible to think of handling NPA without a robust technical platform. In fact, our bank is one of the first Public Sector Bank (PSB) to start online real time NPA tracking after we moved to Core Banking System (CBS). Also Syndicate Bank was pioneer in CBS and the journey started way back in 2001.

Srei Equipment Finance Limited recently collaborated with Syndicate Bank to jointly offer to finance for construction and farm equipment. Tell us about the venture and its progress.

 In February this year, Srei Equipment Finance Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure Finance joined hands with state-owned Syndicate Bank to jointly provide financing for construction and farm equipment.

Under the arrangement, Syndicate Bank would leverage on its low-cost funds and co-lend equipment loans with Srei Equipment at a mutually agreed rate. The tie-up is going very well with Srei. Tell us about project Ananya.

 What role does it play in the improvement of CASA (Current Account, Saving Account) growth?

Project Ananya encompasses four pillars namely: Business Process Reengineering, Digital Banking, Sales & CRM (Customer-Relationship management) and Human Resource Development. All the pillars are critical and relevant for any organisation’s growth. It is a technology enabled transformation process. All the four pillars are significant and extremely important. We could do changes at the branches, establish National Processing Centers for Account opening, Retail and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Loan Processing Centers, stateof-the-art Contact Center with 10 regional languages. All this has helped bank to become a better bank in every sense.

Technology implementation requires a lot of awareness generation. How do you overcome this challenging task?

Technological implementation is always a challenge as unforeseen challenges crop in, particularly when you are doing a new project, the challenges are enormous. We treat our vendors as partners and put our heart and soul to resolve any issue in project management. To keep motivating our younger generation is always a challenge. We try to mix work with pleasure. We organised an interdepartmental cricket match which was appreciated by the youngsters very much. Today, we have a good number of young bankers. Our presence in social media has also helped in improving our brand image.

Tell us about the bank’s Business Process Reengineering (BPR). How is it streamlining your internal process?

 BPR needs to be done constantly. In the past, systems were manual and now total automated procedures: we need to change every manual process to automated one and that is why BPR is critical. In fact most of the organisations face problem in transition. All the three pillars namely People, Process and Technology are equally important. Only investing in technology is not going to help. We need to empower our people as well.

What technologies do you use for boosting the usage of digital banking?

Digital Banking encompasses all the latest technology including Robotic Process Automation (RPA) based reconciliation, APP based Point of Sale Machines, Use of Blockchain etc. As a bank we are trying to get into every aspect for top-end digitisation. We have already completed Exchange to Exchange (E2E) digitisation for MSME loans —as well.

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