'Most bankers unaware of number of customers'

'Most bankers unaware of number of customers'

RBI Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty, known for his candid remarks, on Monday took a dig at top executives of major banks on lack of information sharing and discrepancy in data submitted to the RBI.

Speaking at the Bankers' meet organised by Vijaya Bank here, Chakrabarty said that one account is classified as NPA in a bank and the same account does not fall under NPA in the other bank.

“Even if that can happen, how does it happen for the same bank but in a different branch. In one bank an account becomes fraud but in another bank the same account is declared fraud after 3 years.” Even the number of branches that banks report to three departments of the RBI do not tally with one another and even the number of employees is unknown to most bankers.

Information base has to be improved and the RBI has issued four guidelines regarding that from September 2012 to June this year, he added.

Though all banks have Information Technology (IT) department, information is always missing from the system. He joked that the departments should be called NIT or nil information department.

“When I say information, I mean things like the total number of customers, total number of products, description of each product, how many product per customer does a bank have and information like pricing of the product and average pricing of the product.”
Most bankers present at the event were unable to point out the number of customers or how many products to which Chakrabarty said that it is shocking that people handling turnovers worth crores of rupees don't know such details.

On the question of whether Banking Correspondents (BC) should come under the staff strength of the bank, he said, “If you feel that BCs are not part of the staff then lets us not put the transactions and business they bring to the bank in the account of the bank.”

The deputy governor also stressed the need to have an appropriate risk culture, reliable management information system (MIS), risk-return framework. He said that banks should have an MIS capability at sufficient granular level covering both assets and liabilities. Thirty banks have in March this year had informed RBI that they were ready to switch to the new uniform risk-based supervision system, enabling real-time basis assessing their risk.

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