The banking sector in India is robust and it bears comparison with the best in the world as "we have all the safeguards and checks and balances within the system", according to PR Seshadri, the Managing Director and CEO of Karur Vysya Bank.
Seshadri, who was here recently in connection with the 101 founder's day celebrations, said in an interview that he had served abroad for a long time and studied the banking systems there. "Our systems have been developed and refined over the years and we are making use of technology to offer the best products and services to the customers," he said.
Karur Vysya Bank, set up over a century ago in a small town (Karur) in Tamil Nadu, has grown into one of the finest private banks in the country, with a business volume of ?1,00,000 crores. "Our bank was set up by two visionaries - M.A Venkatarama Chettiar and Athi Krishna Chettiar - in 1916 with a capital of ?1 lakh. Their objective was to provide loans to local farmers and traders at reasonable rates of interest and to differentiate banking from mere money-lending," he said.
The bank has a network of 760 branches besides 1770 ATMs and more than 500 CDMs. The net owned funds are over ?4,845 crores. "We are leveraging technology and implemented core banking solutions in all the branches. We have a pan-India presence," he said.
Digital village: Seshadri said the bank had taken up the programme of digital villages in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the initial phase and later it would be extended to other states. AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu dedicated the first ‘digital village’, facilitated by Karur Vysya Bank (KVB) at Bandarupalli in Guntur district.
He said the KVB had adopted Bandarupalli, a remote village with no banking facilities, and set up a digital branch there. Cashless transactions are ensured and all banking transactions are conducted in the digital mode. Micro ATMs are provided for the purpose. He said the technology could be leveraged to provide better services to the public, especially in rural areas.
He said the bank had the second largest customer base in AP, after Tamil Nadu, and "we will play a significant role in the development of the state after bifurcation, as several new projects are being taken up by the AP Government."
Dispute resolution mechanism: In response to a query, he said the NPAs of the bank were below four per cent, within acceptable limits, and all efforts were being made to reduce them further. He said there was a necessity in the country to put in place a more effective dispute resolution mechanism to recover bank loans speedily and reduce NPAs. "Of course, wilful defaulters should be brought to book," he added.