| Singh: Humane touch
Calcutta, July 4: A 7,000-strong army selling retail loan products door-to-door! United Bank of India (UBI) has come up with a novel marketing plan for surplus employees, unprecedented both in its scope and ambition.
UBI, labelled as a weak bank even a couple of years ago, has recently decided to turn surplus employees into marketing resources rather than offer a convenient voluntary retirement scheme.
Chairman and managing director Parkash Singh outlined the scheme saying, “We have 7,000 surplus staff. We have decided that they should be engaged in door-to-door marketing of our retail credit products rather than stay in office. I have also discussed the matter with our women employees.”
“If we have to survive in this cut-throat competition, we have to aggressively market our products,” Singh added.
The management feels that the employees should be more aggressive like their counterparts in the new-generation private sector banks.
UBI has a host of retail products within its fold, including housing, mortgage, car, educational, consumer and personal loans, and trade credit.
“This year, we are giving more thrust on educational loans, for which Bengal has an immense potential,” Singh said. There will be no collateral security up to loans of Rs 4 lakh.
The bank has shelved the plan to float an initial public offering. Singh said the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) is 17.04 per cent. “With such a high CAR, we do not require further capital. If there is a need, we may consider a public offering at the right time,” he said.
The bank had registered a total business of Rs 31179 crore in 2003-04. Its net profit stood at Rs 315 crore on March 31, 2004. The operating profit was Rs 613 crore. The bank’s non-performing assets (NPAs) stand at 3.75 per cent. The provision coverage is to the tune of 59.4 per cent. UBI is trying hard to bring down the NPA below 1 per cent in the next two years.
The bank has also set a target to wipe out its accumulated loss worth Rs 577 crore within two years. UBI had incurred huge losses in the early ’90s when prudential norms were introduced in the banking sector.
It is also planning to open its first international branch in Bangladesh for which it has sought the Reserve Bank of India’s nod.