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Banking in North East India – Faster, Bigger, Better

4 women executives of Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank provide interesting accounts of how they handle their work and the achievements in their respective departments:

 


Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank, a scheduled bank, was established in 1983 and sponsored by State Bank of India. It is introducing new technologies with multiple channels to provide banking services as well as insurances through bancassurance channels in partnership with SBI life Insurance and SBI General Insurance.

Loan Schemes

Tasso Yaming, Credit Officer, leads the CLPC (Centralised loan processing cell) of Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank. Tasso, with MA in Economics, is fluent in Apatani (local language), Assamese, Hindi & English. She describes her role: “Our work is to monitor and sanction the loan proposals sourced by the branches. I have 4 assistants under me and we regularly follow up on pre and post sanctions of loan proposals of the branches.”

The scope and ambit of departmental work is to provide best services to the customers by developing new schemes to attract the customers. Tasso adds: “In the last 2 financial years, we have launched 4 new schemes/policies other than normal loan policy for salaried and non-salaried persons. These are Rent Garh Scheme, a scheme for construction of rented houses for both commercial and residential purposes; personal loan and personal car loan for all regular employees of VKV (Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya) and employees of NRLM (National Rural Livelihood mission).”

Faster TAT

Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank provides the loans with faster TAT (turn around time). Tasso explains: “For example, we take a day to get a home loan sanctioned and a personal loan in one hour, likewise we try to sanction priority sectors loan and advances within a day. Well, with regard to tools and gadgets, we use an email and WhatsApp to communicate with all the branches, and this way we are able to sanction the loan proposals received from the branches as quickly as possible.”

Tasso has received awards for best performance in recovery in 2017-18 and best performance for SHG loan sanction in 2019-2020.

Advances Up 23%

The target of the credit department is also to improve the priority sector lending (PSL) as per the plan given by the bank. Tasso reveals: “As of March 2021, our total advances among total 30 branches were to the tune of Rs1.99 billion and it has gone up to Rs2.46 bn as of January 2022, registering an increase of 23% and we are still expecting to improve the performances.”

Performance Indicators

Cholom Lammaty, with M.Com degree, heads the department of Accounts & Treasury of Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank since June 2018, along with the responsibility of compliance section of the bank from August 2020. She knows a number of languages Nocte, Apatani, Assamese, Hindi & English. Cholom points out: “My department handls the bank’s investment portfolio with zero investment NPA and 6.6% yield on investment. Our other indicators are CRAR 12.75%, NIM 4.22%; expense ratio 42.8%; ROA 1.17%; ROE 18.39% with the business strength of Rs10.70 billion, branch strength of 31 and staff strength of 106 as on January 2022.”

Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank is a small bank but with growth ambitions. Cholom adds: “We have a target of PAT for Rs100 million, which we will achieve successfully as we are very much committed and working strategically to reach our targets.”

The bank is keeping its compliance up to date with all kinds of digital platforms like XBRL, ENSURE, SLBC, RRB Times, FIU, NRLM, MUDRA, PAISA portal, CIBIL, EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN, CRIF, DICGC, etc.

Gross NPA Down

Sweety Monpa, with MBA in Finance & Marketing, heads the NPA management department of Arunachal Pradesh Rural Bank. She joined the NPA management team in 2020. The main focus of NPA department is on reduction of bank NPA, for which regular monitoring is done. However, the prime target is to check SMA (special mention accounts). Sweety updates: “At the beginning of the year the gross NPA was 5.61%, which have come down to 4.7%. However, the net NPA% is 0 as our bank has made 100% provisioning.”

The NPA department makes branch-wise follow-up and account wise regularly. The department guides and monitors branches on filling of cases. Sweety informs: “NPA reporting to the top management is done on daily basis. Some other areas which our department look into include drafting of recurring policies and empanelment of recovery agent.”

Also, to increase efficiency, the bank is in the process of hiring retired staff.

Balancing Both Worlds

Elizabeth Bui, with B.E, heads the Audit and Compliance department. She can speak Galo, Assamese, Hindi & English. Elizabeth adds: “I, taking along the other departments, am trying to bring out the best of my bank. The main objective of my department is also to conduct an internal compliance audit to assess the overall effectiveness of a business, compliance practices and protocols in the bank with its branches.”

To meet with the compliance regularly and properly at the grass root level of the organization many good initiatives have been taken up under the guidance of Chairman, Dr. Deepak Kumar Gupta. Elizabeth elaborates: “Risk mitigation factors have been implemented, wherein the main concern is mainly to avoid and minimize the likelihood of any unforeseen incidents related to frauds, policies, etc”.

Timely compliance of the entire audit for all the branches is the bank’s main motto. Elizabeth adds: “There has been much improvement as branch managers are more sensitized, with the introduction of CBS in all the sections be it loan, deposits, HR, NPA and IT, which used to be manually done once. Top priority is also ensured for the timely submission of all the SLBC data thoroughly with proper accuracy, so as to see where the bank is lagging in its market share.”

Transparent, Clean Policies

There are also regular branch visits done to give an alertness in the employees. Further, the bank is progressing more in this field to have a more secured and risk-free banking, with overall good moral valued employees. Elizabeth concludes: “Fraud risk policies are made objective and not subjective, to have more transparency and avoid vague reasons. Thus, the main task of my department is to sensitize every employee, on how to abide by the basic audit requirements, so that all the internal auditing comes out clean and less question is being raised by the outside auditors, and we, as a bank, grow to greater heights.”

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