Free Press Journal
S L Bansal

Oriental Bank of Commerce — ‘Where every individual is committed’

Interview with S. L Bansal, Chairman and MD, Oriental Bank of Commerce:

HISTORY

Oriental Bank of Commerce, a leading Public Sector Bank started its long journey from Lahore on 19th February 1943.  After partition, the Bank’s Registered Office shifted to Amritsar and subsequently to Delhi in 1951. The Bank’s Corporate Office shifted from New Delhi to its own building at Gurgaon on 19th February, 2012, on its 70th foundation day.

The Bank was nationalized on April 15, 1980 and at the time of nationalization, the Bank had a network of 307 Branches, mostly in the agriculture belt of Punjab, Haryana, Western UP and Delhi, and total business of Rs.435 crore with 3945 employees.  After nationalization, three Banks viz. Bari Doab Bank, Punjab Co-operative Bank and Global Trust Bank have merged with Oriental Bank of Commerce and as on date the Bank is having a strong network of 3571 delivery channels comprising of 2023 Branches & 1548 ATMs on a pan India basis.

As the close of the financial year March 2013, the Bank entered the league of Big Banks by crossing the milestone Business Mix of Rs.3,00,000 crore with deposits over Rs.1,75,000 and Advances over Rs.1,30,000 crore. During FY 2012-13, Bank’s operating profit stood at Rs.3,691 crore with YoY growth of 17.52% whereas net profit for the same period was Rs.1,328 crore with YoY growth of 16.33%.

The Bank focuses on SME, Mid Corporate & Retail advances.  The big ticket advances are taken care of by the large corporate branches while specialized mid corporate branches have been designated for augmenting credit in the mid corporate/SME sector. The Bank has also laid special drive for increasing retail business.

NEW INITIATIVES

The Bank has taken various new initiatives during the last one year. The Bank took a lead role by waiving NEFT charges upto Rs.1 Lac w.e.f. 15.05.2012 for promoting electronic transactions. This initiative of the Bank was appreciated by the then Hon’ble Finance Minister. The Bank has customized its retail credit products for giving boost to the retail credit portfolio & improving the CASA base with additional concessions in rate of interest for Loyal Customers.  Bank has recently launched a new Women Oriented Scheme named “STREE SHAKTI” wherein the woman whose husband is existing home loan borrower of the Bank can avail the personal loan facility from the Bank at competitive rates.

The Bank is one of the youngest Public Sector Banks with 34% of its employees below 35 years of age. The Bank is also having one of the highest productivity ratios in the industry. Succession planning programme has been put in place in view of the large scale retirements in the next few years.

ROBUST IT PLATFORM

Oriental Bank of Commerce has been a front-runner in adopting state-of-the art technology for providing customer centric products and is providing bouquet of IT products to its esteemed customers including ATMs, Internet Banking, Corporate Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, SMS Banking etc. Internet Banking Platform is being used not only for fund transfers but also for utility bill payments, Tax payments, online issuance of FDR/CDR, online payment of loan EMI, payment of VAT and Sales Tax, Railway Ticket Bookings etc. The ATMs have also been enabled for Tax payments, cheque status enquiry etc.

PRIORITY SECTOR LENDING

The Bank has been achieving the regulatory priority sector target of 40% on a continuous basis. Total agriculture advances of the Bank has increased by 40% over the last two years and the direct agriculture advances have grown by 56% during this period. Bank is having lead bank responsibility in 3 districts viz. Ferozepur in Punjab, Sriganganagar in Rajasthan & Palwal in Haryana.

Under the financial inclusion programme, Bank was allotted 905 villages  and all the allotted villages stand covered.  A special campaign was launched during the year to ensure opening of at least one Bank Account of each household in 905 villages. As a result, total number of accounts in these allotted villages stand at 6.52 lakh as on 31st March, 2013 covering 4.39 lakh households.  Bank has also provided credit facilities through KCC, GCC & OD in Basic saving bank accounts in these villages. The Bank is also implementing the DBT scheme of Govt. of India in all the 121 identified districts.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

As a part its corporate social responsibilities, the Bank has contributed Rs.3.92 crore towards different CSR activities in 2012-13. Out of this, an amount of Rs.2.46 crore has been spent towards CSR activities in rural areas.

Bank has installed electricity fans and constructed public conveniences in 461 Primary Schools. Provision has been made for clean drinking water in 299 schools and 21 solar panels installed in schools for uninterrupted power back-up.

In 766 Financial Inclusion Villages and in other rural & semi-rural areas, provision has been made for water purifier, water cooler, schoolbags, hand pump, stitching machines, chairs, eye operation camp etc.

Recently, all the employees of the Bank together contributed Rs.2.50 crore to the Prime Minister’s National  Relief Fund by donating their one day’s salary to express their solidarity with the flood victims of Uttarakhand which has been devastated by rain & major landslides.

VISION 2018

A new Vision & Mission Document of the Bank has been launched which envisages that the Bank will reach a Total Business Mix of Rs.7,50,000 crore by March, 2018. During the current year, the Bank has envisaged to grow by 17-18% in total business and plans to open 125-150 branches. The Bank plans to increase its CASA share to 26% by March 2014.

The vision of the Bank is to be customer friendly premier bank committed to enhancing stakeholders value and all the 19000 employees of the Bank are working as a Team to achieve all its corporate & social objectives. The tagline of the Bank is “Where every individual is committed” and Team OBC continues to perform to meet the expectations of all its stakeholders.