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SBI plans to synergise operations

July 23, 2003 14:43 IST

State Bank of India intends to develop a number of its branches as 'Super Shoppes' for distribution of financial products and plans to synergise operations taking along its seven associate banks as part of the growth strategy.

"We are proposing to position a large number of our branches as 'Super Shoppes' for distributing a whole range of financial products including banking solutions," SBI chairman A K Purwar said.

The bank has also decided to sell life insurance, mutual funds and credit cards to cover rural and semi-urban market through branches of SBI, its associates and 40 Regional Rural Banks that come under the group, he said.

On synergising operations, the chairman of the country's largest bank said SBI plans to integrate many of its functions with that of its associate banks focussing on technology, large value credit, business processes and to some extent treasury function.

SBI has also embarked upon networking the ATMs of the banks and associate entities. The first phase of networking of 1,600 ATMs of the group has been completed enabling customers to withdraw funds from machines across 460 cities from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Purwar said in the annual report for 2002-03.

On the retail banking initiative, he said the bank was focusing on the growing services sector and has recently introduced 'Doctor Plus', 'Justice Plus' and 'Teacher Plus'.

A new product 'Paryatan Plus' - was being introduced to encourage tourism, he added.

Purwar said SBI would use information technology project as a catalyst for change and achieve significant economies of scale, increased opportunities for cross selling and provide better access to customers through call centre, tele and Internet banking.

"To achieve these objectives, the bank plans to redesign key business processes and build a new operating environment with greater marketing focus, thus gaining competitive advantage," he said.

Keeping in view the IT spread in the country, the bank would be computerising all its branches by 2004, he added.

Purwar said to facilitate technology upgradation in small and medium enterprises, SBI has launched a new eco-friendly developmental initiative in few villages of Pondicherry under 'Project Uptech'.

The project initiated in collaboration with M S Swaminathan Research Foundation combines three concepts namely integrated village development using local resources, grass-root level planning by beneficiaries and use of appropriate eco-friendly technology, he said.

Some other projects undertaken under this initiative, included the rice milling at Rudrapur in Uttaranchal, apple orchard at Shimla and brass industry at Hajo in Assam, he added.

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