State-owned Bank of Baroda (BOB) is working towards providing a flexible working model to its employees aimed at striking a work-life balance and productivity enhancement in the long run.
The work environment went through a sea change during the pandemic and employees are able to work from home and office, the bank said in its annual report for 2020-21.
That "Work from Anywhere" is the new norm and it will offer a better work-life balance to employees and boost productivity in the long run, Bank of Baroda said.
"The bank is working on an operating model for remote working options for certain roles and hybird employment formats which will offer greater flexibility to employees," it said.
The bank's Chairman Hasmukh Adhia in his statement to stakeholders said that during these challenging times, the banking services have been operational and played a key role in implementing various economic measures announced by the government and the RBI.
That the need of digitally delivering banking services has never been felt as much as during the current times, he said BOB has been digitising its operations and services as part of enhancing customer experience.
A large proportion of deposit accounts opened by the bank branches are in paperless format, he said. Given the ubiquity of mobile handset and mobile application, mobile banking is now the centerpiece of offering digital solutions for which the bank has revamped its mobile applications to offer more services, Adhia said.
"The bank has now extended its digital offering on the asset side as well by building a digital lending platform wherein end-to-end customer journey from sourcing to sanction to disbursement is being completely digitised," Adhia said.
This will enable the bank to compete in the marketplace and offer superior products and services to the customers, he added.
Bank of Baroda said that in future, it will have the right mix of physical and digital presence.
The lender has already introduced a new initiative 'BOB NOWW-New Operating model and Ways of Working' aimed at right-sizing its branch network by increasing customer touch points through digital formats and business correspondent network.
"Customer interface for lending will be more digital. The focus is on capturing the entire corporate value chain by cross-selling banking services such as cash management solution and supply chain finance.
"For the employees, the work environment will be more flexible with option to work from anywhere for select roles," the report said.
Bank of Baroda Managing Director and CEO Sanjiv Chadha said, "The country is now coming out of the second wave and despite these challenges, the bank's performance has been resilient in terms of asset quality, deposits, credit growth, profitability and capital." He said its investments in offering digital solutions to customers helped it serve them digitally.
BOB-NOWW is the new pathway for profitable and sustainable growth, Chadha said.
"At its core, the aim is to better serve customers with tailored offerings and to enhance customer centricity. Employees will get remote working options for certain roles and hybrid employment formats.
"The initiatives being undertaken aim to help the bank optimise costs and unlock growth potential by creating value for all stakeholders," he said.
The bank's mobile first initiative is to make mobile application the primary interface with customers.
"Apart from a few services which are best delivered at a branch, we believe customers will increasingly be using mobile phones for meeting banking requirements," the official said.
A clear trend emerging from the pandemic is the importance of digital lending, he said.
"The bank is digitising customer journeys in the lending business. The endeavour is end-to-end digitisation of the loan process in retail and MSME segments from sourcing to sanction to disbursement.
"Small ticket personal loans have already been digitised and the other segments will be progressively moved to this platform," Chadha said.
Bank of Baroda posted a net profit of Rs 829 crore for 2020-21 as against Rs 546 crore in 2019-20.
The bank also moved to a lower tax rate structure, it said. Adjusting for the one-time impact of deferred tax asset (DTA), the bank's profit after tax would have been at Rs 4,143 crore in 2020-21, BOB said.
The lender said it has completed the integration with the erstwhile Dena and Vijaya Bank. The bank has merged or rationalised 1,310 branches and 1,135 ATMs during the year, it said.
Also, it increased the business correspondent (BC) network by 5,200 to 23,320 as of March 31, 2021.
In the next two years, the bank plans to have 50,000 touch points, including BCs and new formats such as mini branches and service outlets, it added.
"These touch points would be newage, compact and digital to offer seamless customer service across the country.
"This will help the bank in strengthening its branch network in geographies where it is under-penetrated," the bank said in the annual report.