Bhopal: Karnataka Bank: Rich past, booming present, great future

Bhopal: In its 93 years of existence, Karnataka Bank, one of the leading private sector banks of the country, has never sustained loss. As its founders were middle-class entrepreneurs – and not moneybags – the bank, to this day, is committed to promoting entrepreneurship.

Headquartered at Mangaluru, the bank was founded in south Canara district of Karnataka, by BR Vyasaraya Achar, who was its first chairman, in 1924. The small district is the birthplace of five major banks. Besides Karnatala Bank, they include Syndicate Bank, Canara Bank, Vijaya Bank and Corporation Bank.

These and many other interesting facts about Karnataka Bank were revealed by Mahabaleshwar MS, MD and CEO of the bank in an interview with Free Press. Mahabaleshwar joined the bank in 1984 as agriculture field officer. Before that, he was a researcher and teacher at University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore.

He served at the credit department of the bank at its head office. He played a key role in the launching of the Krishi Card scheme of the bank – an idea which gained wide acceptance at the national level, leading to the launch of Kisan Credit Card. He was promoted as CGM as over all in-charge of the departments of credit, planning and development, IT and MIS, treasury and accounts, HR and IR of the bank in 2013. He took over as MD and CEO of the bank on April 4 this year.

Excerpts:

FP: What is the KBL Vision 2020?

Mahabaleshwar: The KBL Vision 2020 is a five-year growth plan of Karnataka Bank, which aims at making it a big and strong bank with 1000 branches, 2500 ATMs and Rs 1,80,000 crore business turnover by 2020.

FP: Does the Bank have a pan India presence?

Mahabaleshwar: Yes, our branches are spread across 22 states and two union territories with 2,171 service outlets, consisting of 770 branches and 1,398 ATMs and three extension counters. The bank’s total turnover was Rs 95,000 crore with net owned funds of Rs 5,174 crore and highest-ever net profit of Rs 452 crore as on March 31, 2017.

FP: Which other services is the bank offering, besides deposits and credit? Mahabaleshwar: The bank is providing life insurance cover to its clients in association with PNB MetLife India Insurance Company for last 15 years. From the current financial year, we are also collaborating with LIC of India.

We are also providing general insurance products of Universal Sompo Insurance Company Ltd. – a joint venture of our bank with Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Dabur Investment Corporation and Sompo General insurance Inc. Japan. We also provide other para banking services such as mutual fund products of TATA Mutual Fund, Franklin Templeton, ICICI Prudential and Reliance Capital Asset Management Companies, LIC Mutual Fund, HDFC Mutual Fund and various user-friendly loan schemes.

FP: How tech-savvy and customer-centric is the bank?

Mahabaleshwar: The bank, in pursuance of its mission statement ‘Technology Savvy, Customer Centric’ adopted core banking solution way back in 2000. It was the first bank to introduce it. Thereafter, it introduced technology-driven, customer-centric products and services such as ATMs, debit card, gift card, internet banking, mobile banking, e-Commerce, m-Commerce, e-Hundi, i-Hundi, missed call banking, PoS machines, payment gateway and many more. E-lobby service is another customer-centric facility of the bank aimed at enhancement of customer satisfaction, without compromising on human touch. We have a plan to take the percentage of digital transaction to 80 per cent.

To do away with long queues at the cash counters we have established e-lobbies at 110 centres which can handle cash receipts without human intervention. These lobbies will allow customers to do their banking transactions on their own, at their convenience and comfort, 24×7. We provide all the financial services under a single roof. In a nutshell, ours is a time-tested bank which is catering to the needs of its customers and stakeholders alike and has emerged as a Family Bank.

FP: What is the bank doing as part of its CSR?

Mahabaleshwar: As part of CSR, we have provided support of Rs 15 crore to 502 projects around the nation. The Bank’s main focus is on children’s education and for that we have launched a ‘Solar Light Scholarship Scheme’ for children whose houses are sans power supply. The scheme costs Rs 9000 per house. The Bank provides Rs 5,000, Rs 2000 has to be deposited by the child and Rs 1,000 by the coordinator. The bank had funded neonatal units, churches, temples and schools also.

FP: What interest is paid to savings account holders?

Mahabaleshwar: The bank has three slots for savings account holders. The first slot is for those with Rs 1 crore or higher balance. The others are: from Rs 50 lakh to 1 crore, Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakh and less than Rs 1 lakh. Different interest rates apply for different slots.

FP: Where does the bank stand in Madhya Pradesh?

Mahabaleshwar: We are happy to note that the total business of the bank in MP is Rs 571 crore, including Rs 199 crore deposits and Rs 371 crore advances. The cash-deposit ratio is 1.87, indicating that the deposits collected from MP have been given as advances in the state itself. Our Mumbai region covers three states, namely Gujarat, Maharashtra and MP, with 64 branches, of which 35 are in metros, 11 in urban centres and three in semi-urban centres. We have 81 ATMs in the region. The total turnover of the region is Rs 12,784 crore with deposit of Rs 5,852 crore and advances of Rs 6,932 crore, the CD ratio being 1.19.

The Bhopal branch was opened on September 25, 2006 and has a total turnover of Rs 168 crore with deposits of Rs 60 crore and advances of Rs 108 crore. We are also having branches in Indore and Ujjain.

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