Indian Bank sees new opportunities with larger footprint after merger

While the lockdown has failed to impact the number of customers visiting the branches in rural and semi urban areas because of the direct benefit transfer and pension payments etc, in urban areas, due to the scare, footfalls are very low.
After the merger of Allahabad Bank with it, Indian Bank sees growth in lending and deposits and new opportunities emerging despite the lockdown, according to Padmaja Chunduru, Managing Director & CEO of Indian Bank. Both the banks have come together amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown and started working as a single bank with a larger footprint.

 
Even during the lockdown period, both lending and deposits are growing. "We must be careful in assessing and giving the loans. We have been one of the earliest banks to announce emergency loans across the table. I think this opens up new opportunities. First of all we have to assess the risks because there are so many more sectors now and the whole paradigm is shifting," Chunduru said.

 
The merger was a big task in front of the bank, but when confronted with the Covid-19 issue, the whole bank came together and the safety of the employees became paramount. Safety measures have been implemented across the bank. On April 24, it was Allahabad Bank's Foundation Day, but the amalgamated entity could not celebrate due to the lock-down.

The bank has also launched an online learning management solution for the staff. The best the welfare measures that were offered by the two banks have been made applicable to all the employees and all of them have been well received. In terms of alignment of products of both the banks, especially those related to housing loans, Indian Bank had certain products which were more attractive to the customers and they were launched across the country.

Allahabad Bank had one or two products for agriculture investments like tractors, which have been extended to Indian Bank customers.

 
While the lockdown has failed to impact the number of customers visiting the branches in rural and semi urban areas because of the direct benefit transfer and pension payments etc, in urban areas, due to the scare, footfalls are very low.

Due to the lockdown, the bank could not move its general managers and top officials from Allahabad Bank in Kolkata to other places. It has now started distributing the responsibilities among the general managers (GMs) under the integrated platform.

The bank has identified the top managers who will take charge of each vertical. If it has an Allahabad Bank GM handling a responsibility, Indian Bank branches will start reporting to that officer. The bank wants some GMs to remain in Kolkata, some to move to Mumbai, since the treasury will be located there, and some to move to Chennai, said Chunduru.

 
At present, business meetings are taking place virtually, but meeting people and travelling is definitely important and at present a challenge. In terms of strategy itself, it is undergoing a change as things evolve, Chunduru said.

 


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