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KGB lends Rs870 mn under covid-specific schemes

The second largest regional rural bank in the country focuses on growth, consolidation and improvement in its asset quality:

Shreenath Joshi, Chairman, Karnataka Gramin Bank

Karnataka Gramin Bank has a vast footprint in the remote rural areas of Karnataka, with 1134 branches spread across 22 districts, covering 66% of the state. The bank has close to 4900 employees to cater to all the financial needs of all the segments of the society, termed as priority sector. Though the emphasis is primarily on agriculture and MSMEs, as a prudent measure, the bank has enlarged its operations to retail and non -priority sector segments as well, in order to diversify the credit portfolio.

11.24% Business Growth

Karnataka Gramin Bank is the first RRB to reach the milestone of a total business of Rs500 billion, as on 31 March 2020. Says Shreenath Joshi, Chairman of the bank: “Despite covid impact in FY20-21, we have witnessed a considerable growth of 13.83% under our credit portfolio when the credit offtake was very low in the industry. The overall business also registered a healthy growth of 11.24% to reach a level of Rs558.65 billion, comprising credit of Rs247.97 billion and deposits of Rs310.68 billion.”

Covid Retail, KCC

As part of its efforts to counter the situation created by covid, the bank has introduced Covid Retail and Covid KCC schemes. Under the schemes, some 36,000 customers of the bank have been given loans ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 without any collaterals and at very low rates of interests. Says Shreenath: “We disbursed Rs870 million under these 2 schemes.”

The bank is probably the only bank that provides an overdraft facility of Rs50,000 to the BCs to help them tide over their liquidity crunch.

Enhancing Capabilities

Capacity building is one of the key factors to hone the skills and upgrade the knowledge levels of employees. The bank is the first RRB to start its own Staff Training College to enhance the capabilities of the employees in banking domain. Shreenath says as part of this initiative, the bank has been conducting exclusive programs on IT products, named as DiGiMitra training. It identifies a tech savvy employee from each branch and train them in all IT products of the bank. In turn, these selected employees educate and help customers to use technology-based products of the bank.

Call Centre As CRM

The bank’s call center is essentially a CRM tool, which assists the bank to reach the customers based on their enquiry at customer care on a toll-free number. Claims Shreenath: “We are the first RRB to launch a customer call center on capex model. We have also set up a capex model data center at Bengaluru and disaster recovery center at Mumbai, independent of our sponsor bank.”

Second Largest RRB

The present-day Karnataka Gramin Bank has emerged as a giant among RRBs with the amalgamations of 9 independent RRBs over the last 15 years. “We are the second largest regional rural bank among the 45 RRBs in the country,” says Shreenath, adding: “In fact, we were ranked first in terms of total business of Rs502.20 billion as on 31 March 2020. However, on account of amalgamation of 3 RRBs in UP, Baroda UP Gramin Bank, with a total business of about Rs 700 billion, emerged as the largest RRB. We have carved out a niche for ourselves for being the quintessence of inclusive growth.”

App helps in Deposits

DiGiKaGB is a green initiative of the bank, a user-friendly mobile application, which enables customers to open savings bank account through mobile phones. Any customer having an Aadhaar number and a smart phone can open savings account with the bank in a paperless manner and get the account number instantly. Shreenath elaborates: “The app can also be used as an info app. Nearly 700,000 accounts have been opened using DiGiKaGB app and there is an outstanding deposit amount of over Rs2 billion from these accounts. In the pandemic situation, the app has become quite handy for the customers for opening accounts without visiting the branches.”

Brand Image

Set up with the objective of ameliorating poverty and bringing in inclusive growth, Karnataka Gramin Bank has created a brand image among the masses. Shreenath says true to its tagline ‘Symbol of Trust’ the bank personifies trust amongst the rural masses. During the current financial year, the bank is set to focus on growth, consolidation and improvement in its asset quality, he says.

The bank is also in the forefront in leveraging social media to reach out to the customers. It is active on all the major social media sites with daily interactions. As part of brand building, it publishes the latest offers, schemes and wishes to customers on festivals through social media accounts.

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