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Chattisgarh Rajya Gramin Bank a new strategy for ATM expansion

Chattisgarh Rajya Gramin Bank has rolled out several major IT-enabled services in recent times, giving a number of benefits to the bank and its customers. Being an-SBI sponsored RRB, its customers can utilize the vast SBI ATM network, totally free of cost. However, in order to improve its IT strength and build brand image, the bank has its own ATMs (3 at present). To supplement and improve easy access of basic banking services in very remote areas, it has also has deployed 342 micro-ATMs with its Bank Mitras, a substantial increase from 287 last year. The micro-ATMs at Bank Mitras had started functioning in September 2016 and the basic needs of local population are fully met through these inter-operable machines.


R K Gupta

R.K. Gupta, chairman of the bank, says the bank has been first among 18 SBI-sponsored RRBs to have a vast micro-ATM network. He mentions that with NABARD’s help, the bank will deploy 618 micro-ATMs at its branches to make the transactions smooth and facilitate RuPay Card activation. “We also propose to install 100 ATMs by FY 2019 and to provide a fillip to financial inclusion and digitization, we are also rolling out 3 mobile vans with all infrastructure and ATMs,” adds Gupta

Bank Mitra: Digi Channels

The bank has been providing door-step digital banking services to customers through 510 Bank Mitras. The micro-ATMs are already functional, and their network will be further expanded. Gupta says the transactions at Bank Mitras are rising at a phenomenal rate with total transactions crossing 30 lakh during FY 2018. Due to improved Aadhaar seeding (95%), AEPS transactions too are growing, he adds, maintaining the AEPS channel is considered to be the safest payment mode without any need for debit cards, etc.

RuPay Card Hits Up

The bank has rolled out RuPay Platinum Debit Card (Elite) recently, the first RRB in the SBI group to do so. It had earlier introduced eCommerce transactions using RuPay Card. Says Gupta: “RuPay ATM hits have gone up by 21% (68.19 lakh) yoy due to a jump in our card base, micro-ATMs at Bank Mitras as well as PoS/e-Commerce initiatives. This will provide us a better competitive strength among the business class and high networth customers.”

IT Power to Up Business

The bank is now offering insurance products from SBI Life and SBI General Insurance through its CBS. It is also live on UPI BHIM. It is now proposing to introduce loan processing units to streamline and standardize the loan sanction procedure with particular focus on TAT reduction. It will also have a loan origination software) on CBS for online processing and centralized sanction of loans. Besides, dedicated lease lines have been deployed to improve connectivity and bandwidth across all branches and to support the LOS as well as other CBS based applications and use e-KYC for account opening through tab banking via Bank Mitras. It is also planning to acquire software for AML, Business Dashboard and Deadstock Management during this year.

Gupta says the bank is finalizing plans to publicize its inter-operable micro-ATMs facility to not only generate additional income for Bank Mitras, but to establish micro-ATMs as viable alternatives to the normal brick and mortar high cost ATM machines.

On the human resources management front, the bank has already implemented HRMS with salary, leave and perquisites module. It now plans to have a performance appraisal and income tax calculation modules as well. “This will free out staff from routine administrative jobs, provide standardization and minimize discrepancies,” says Gupta

Staff Training on CBS

The bank has recruited adequate number of IT specialist officers and there are 45 such officers manning its IT department. It has rolled out a controller’s tool for instant MIS on core business areas, which is a unique initiative among RRBs of the SBI group. “We have plans for acquiring updated hardware and new software applications, with a budget of approximately Rs6 crore during the current financial year. Some 40 staff members have already undergone training on CBS in the last 3 years,” says Gupta.

Benefits for Customers

The bank has an e-KYC platform with all 607 branches connected to it. This has brought in extreme levels of satisfaction among its customers. Gupta mentions that the customers are happy that they are receiving all the contemporary services from the bank, which are comparable to those offered by any commercial bank. One notable aspect is that customers are having access to 24×7 doorstep banking facilities.

R K Gupta Chairman addressing SHG meet at Khairagarh

Gupta talks about an exercise the bank had undertaken to get feedback from the customers. “We had undertaken this exercise through a statewide Digi-FLAP (Digital Financial Literacy Awareness Program) camps organized during 2017-18. We have observed that the customer-stickiness has improved due to increased number of products per customer ratio which has since crossed a favorable level of 2.00.”

IT solutions have improved the bank’s competitive strength and Gupta feels it could safeguard its territory amid very fierce competition from other banks. “The tech-savvy image of the bank has added great brand value. With the rapidly decreasing footfall at our branches because of the availability of alternate channels, the cost of operations has been substantially reduced. The expenditure ratio has actually declined during 2017-18. Our mobile banking (M-Tej) is becoming very popular (35,000 registrations) among customers within a very short period.”

Better Awareness

While expanding digital transaction channels, the bank is fully aware of and is committed towards better customer awareness, security of transactions and transparency. Gupta believes that sustainable progress can be achieved only by earning the trust of the clientele and building durable relationships. “With this in view, we sincerely endeavor for customer education through bulk SMS, holding of Digi-FLAP camps, going digital camps, media advertisement and our popular website,” says he.

In-House Built Website

IT team of the bank has developed a very user-friendly and highly informative website, specifically to handle customer queries and educate the customers on the bank’s products and services. The site ( is used extensively for customer education, roll-out of new initiatives, ongoing campaigns, promotional measures, product details and procurement notices etc. Says Gupta: “Within a short period of 2 years, the hits on the site have already crossed 5.27 lakh.”

MIS Tool for ROs

The bank has an in-house developed Controllers’ Tool for providing relevant information on core business areas pertaining to branches/ administrative units (regional offices). The deposits, advances and NPA movements are tracked through this tool. “The qualitative information like audit profile and productivity ratios are also monitored through this. This is the first such initiative amongst 18 SBI group RRBs. It functions on voice data and hence is independent of internet connectivity availability,” says Gupta.

IT Vendors

State Bank of India has sponsored 18 RRBs and these banks have a total of 5750 branches. The application service provider for the SBI-sponsored RRBs is C-Edge Technologies.

The bank’s tier-3 data center is located at Mumbai. Says Gupta: “As far as total installed capacity for supporting the number of branches and transaction volume per day is concerned, the existing hardware can support 8000 to 10,000 branches. This capacity level is adequate to cater to our long-term future needs. The CBS is B@ncs 24. IDBI is providing CTS services through Net Tech software.”

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