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...The underlying anxiety in this remark was probably due to the impact of digitization on the bank’s competitive preparedness to meet the challenge from nimble plug and play fintechs and new entrants in the financial sector, which is witnessing a lowering of entry barriers. In my almost four-decade association with SBI, one common refrain throughout the organization was about the lack of adequately trained/qualified personnel to man desks dealing in specialized matters like forex, treasury and lending. This was despite a structured training needs assessment done by the human resources department with the heads of operational functions. Based thereon, a training calendar was drawn up and implemented. Now, with the advent of digitization which has significantly altered the structure of competition in the industry, this problem has become only more acute. ...Live Mint on Nov. 15, 2017, 11:57 p.m.
...The high ratio of non-performing assets (NPAs) and weak profitability have raised the risks to the sector’s stability. The increasing share of weak, highly leveraged corporates in the banks’ NPAs has raised the system’s credit risk profile. Poor and lopsided credit growth, mostly in low-yielding retail loans, has added pressure on the margins, forcing many banks to resort to raising fees for numerous services and even reducing savings deposit rates. There are many other serious challenges facing the leadership of public sector banks (PSBs). These emanate primarily from the regulatory, human resources and competitive landscape areas. First, the transition to the new Indian accounting standards has commenced. Consequently, in FY19, the provisioning and tier-I capital requirements of all banks are expected to go up significantly at a time when they are certainly not the darlings of the stock market. ...Live Mint on Sept. 6, 2017, 1:05 a.m.
...The mission was to set up a number of project appraisal teams which would help the bank capture the upcoming large financing opportunities in the infrastructure sector as also greenfield industrial projects. This was a time when the reforms unleashed from 1991 onwards, as also the investment direction shown by the Rakesh Mohan Committee, started to show up in the form of sustained high GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates averaging CAGR (compound annual growth rate) 8.5%. The media was full of catchy headlines about the India story, the India century, India versus China, India’s imminent entry into the ranks of the global A-listers, the future belonging to the Brics nations and so on. The Planning Commission had begun to set out ambitious outlays for the infrastructure sector in the five-year plans (FYPs). ...Live Mint on Aug. 1, 2017, 11:31 p.m.