Amid COVID-19 induced disruption, the country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) will institute work-from-anywhere infrastructure and expects to save Rs 1,000 crore from this measure, Chairman Rajnish Kumar said. Speaking to shareholders at the bank's 65th annual general meeting on Tuesday, he said the focus going forward will be on cost reduction, rationalization and reskilling of workforce, improving staff productivity and redeployment of workforce from admin offices to sales roles.
"Following global best practices, the bank will institute work from anywhere (WFA) infrastructure to facilitate work from any location, while taking care of social aspects of work-life balance. "The measure is expected to save Rs 1,000 crore through cost optimization and will be a key component of our business continuity during times of COVID-19," Kumar said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is still playing out, FY21 will be a challenging year for the bank like any other bank or financial institution, he said. The bank is well prepared to deal with such challenges. He said the lender has stepped up its monitoring of all the projects under implementation and expects to tide over COVID-19 impact in the short to medium term.
"Bank will maintain a constant vigil on the emerging stress and take proactive action to help our borrower customers and maintain asset quality," he noted. The bank has already put in place an elaborate business continuity plan. It has identified business continuity hub branches to cater to customers in case of emergency and business continuity plan (BCP) sites have been identified to support essential backend services.
In line with opportunities created by the Atamanirbhar Bharat Package for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the bank has set up a financial inclusion and micro market vertical to derive value in micro markets, with a cost-efficient business model, he informed shareholders. "Cash flow-based lending models will be used, leading to efficient financing and help lower the delinquency," the chairman said.
He said the pandemic has brought to focus the value of contactless digital banking channels. The mobile banking app of the bank, SBI YONO has already achieved sizeable growth. "The bank will further scale up YONO and has set a target of doubling user registrations in the next six months and further strengthening the platform through new product offerings like end to end home loans, pre-approved car loan and personal gold loans," he said.
A strong liability franchise with a customer base of over 44 crores, a diversified loan portfolio with strong capabilities to originate, digital leadership across channels are some of the key strengths that the bank will rely upon in the post-COVID scenario, he added.