oppn parties Big Banks Will Need To Be Leaner And Better Governed

News Snippets

  • Maratha quota bill likely to be tabled in Maharashtra assembly today
  • Arvind Kejriwal skips ED summons for the 6th time, says the case is in court and will follow court's decision
  • PM Modi says UP has gone from 'red tape' to 'red carpet' in 7 years of 'double engine' government
  • Farm unions reject government offers, to resume Delhi march from today
  • Centre says some Aadhar cards in Bengal 'deactivated' due to technical glitz, will be activated back soon
  • Supreme Court stays LS privilege panel summons to Bengal officials over BJP MP Sukanta Majumdar injury case
  • Supreme Court junks Sandeshkhali petition, says it cannot be compared to Manipur, asks petitioner to approach Calcutta HC
  • Supreme Court gets tough on Chandigarh mayoral elections, asks for ballot papers and video footage, does not order re-election
  • Government starts withdrawing old small tax demands, up to Rs 25000 per entry till FY 2009-10 and up to Rs 10000 per entry from FY 2010-11 to FY 2014-15 with an overall ceiling of Rs 1 lakh per tax payer
  • Stocks remained positive on Monday: Sensex gained 281 points to 72708 and Nifty 81 points to 22122
  • Jasprit Bumrah likely to be rested for 4th Test while K L Rahul may be back
  • FIH Pro League hockey: India beat Spain 8-7 in shootout
  • SP leader Salim Sherwani, miffed at no Muslim candidate given RS ticket, quits party
  • Army going for big (Rs 57000cr) upgrade in combat vehicles to replace T-72 tanks
  • Mamata Banerjee says the BJP is doing nothing to resolve the Sandeshkhali dispute but instead fanning the fires to escalate it
History created in Supreme Court as Chandigarh mayoral poll ballots counted in court, judges declare AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar winner after taking into account the votes defaced by returning officer Anil Masih
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Big Banks Will Need To Be Leaner And Better Governed

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The government has rightly taken a decision to merge some PSU banks to create bigger, and hopefully better, banks. This magazine had been the first to cite sources to report that a mega merger of banks was on the cards over a week ago. But a merger of banks can only be successful if several other things are streamlined. Smaller banks have lesser checks and balances but serve a purpose in catering to regional areas and small businesses. But with a plethora of banking licenses issued now and a host of NBFCs catering to such needs, they have outlived their purpose. Bigger banks with better checks and balances and stronger balance sheets can focus on big projects and evaluate the risk factors in a better way. They can be more competitive, locally as well as globally, and can benefit from economies of scale if the problems of overstaffing, multiple branches at close-by locations and decision-making inertia are taken care of.

The government has announced that it will allow banks to appoint chief risk officers at market-linked remuneration. This is a step in the right direction. But if banking is to be taken to greater heights, market-linked remuneration has to be offered to all. The additional revenue outgo on this account can be neutralized if staff strength and number of branches is reduced. But bank unions are very vigilant and will not allow this. Hence, the most important thing now is to bring the unions on board.

The other thing to be tackled is related to technology. Banks in India use two platforms for core banking and merging the platforms is very difficult. The SBI and some other banks use TCS developed BaNCS while the Bank of Baroda and some others use Finacle developed by Infosys. Although the government has taken care to merge banks on the same platform, going forward, the need is to have a common tech platform for all banks.

The government must also tackle the decision-making inertia that has gripped PSU banks due to big loans going bad and the needle of suspicion pointing to collusion by bank officers. Some senior officers of many banks involved in major scams have been arrested too. This has made even senior bank officers fearful of taking decisions. With the state of the economy, big projects are also not being planned. Rajnish Kumar, the Chairman of SBI, has said that the reports of liquidity crunch in the banking sector are not true as the SBI is willing to lend up to Rs 1 lakh crore but there are no big borrowers. This is a problem that can only be solved if demand for goods and services rises and entrepreneurs plan big projects. But creating big banks, streamlining risk assessment processes and appointing risk officers will ensure that the banking system will be ready for lending to entrepreneurs when they plan big projects as and when demand picks up.