State Bank of India and other public sector lenders on August 18 completed the first round of bottom-up ideation exercise for further streamlining the banking sector to help the nation become a USD 5-trillion economy in five years.
Banks embarked on a month-long campaign beginning on August 17 on the direction of the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance with the aim to generate suggestions and ideas from the branch level for preparing a road map for the future growth of the banking sector.
The move by the Finance Ministry is aimed at re-invigorating the sagging economy in which the banking sector has an important role to play especially in boosting consumption through higher credit flow to the productive sectors.
SBI conducted meetings at 502 regional Business Offices spread across 17 circles in which over 15,000 officers participated over the past two days, the bank's managing director P K Gupta said.
"Lots of suggestions have come. Some of them relate to improving processes, the introduction of new products and making the bank more customer-friendly among others," he said.
Some suggestion was with regard to government and regulators which will be taken up at the later stage of the exercise, he said, adding, all these suggestions will be collated over the next week and will be placed at the state-level meeting.
Gupta further said the primary objective of this meeting was to identify and finalise ways and means to increase credit to various sectors of the economy, enhance the use of technology to bring about innovation.
Speaking at the occasion, Chief General Manager of SBI Delhi circle Vijuy Ronjan said, the presence of top management during the consultative process has resulted in a renewed sense of involvement and purpose down to the branch level and the bank is geared towards implementing the road map for the future.
Many ideas were made on making branches more responsive to customers and enhancing digital access.
"I strongly believe that this bottom-up consultative process will provide a platform for field personnel to represent and bring forward the grass-root level challenges in their respective areas. This campaign is unique in a way that it will make them drivers of the policymaking/reforms to address the involvement and motivation among field functionaries" Union Bank of India MD Rajkiran Rai G said.
All other leading state-owned lenders including Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Andhra Bank, Syndicate Bank and Indian Overseas Bank held the meeting across the country.
Many suggestions have come with regard to making banking citizen-centric as well as more responsive to the needs and aspirations of Senior citizens, farmers, small industries, entrepreneurs, youth, students and women, Indian Overseas Bank said in a statement.
According to Andhra Bank, the theme of the campaign was also focussed on raising credit offtake for supporting economic growth, credit support to infrastructure and role of the banking sector in doubling farmers' income and water conservation.
Besides, supporting the green economy, improving education loan and other sectors such as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and exports were also part of the discussion.
In addition, there was a focus on pushing the digital economy and financial inclusion.
The campaign comes at a time when the economy is facing headwind and has slowed to a 5-year low of 6.8 percent during the last fiscal.
There are ominous signs showing that slowdown may be deep. The automobile sector is facing its worst crisis in two decades and reports suggest thousands of job losses in the auto and ancillary industry.
In the real estate sector, the number of unsold homes has increased, while fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have reported a decline in volume growth in the first quarter.