Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Aug 17, 2005
Money & Banking
PNB plans outfit for BPO operations
Mr C.P. Swarnkar (left), Executive Director, Punjab National Bank, and Mr A. Balasubramanian, General Manager, at a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday. - G.R.N. Somashekar
Bangalore , Aug. 16
THE public sector Punjab National Bank proposed to have a subsidiary for call centre operations and business process outsourcing.
Speaking to reporters here today, the PNB's Executive Director, Mr C.P. Swarnkar, said: "We are working on the project and a preparing of a detailed business plan is underway." The subsidiary would function to meet the PNB's own requirements, he said.
Other banks though were welcome to utilise the services provided by the subsidiary, he added.
PNB also plans to start its own credit card soon. At present, the credit card offers were co-branded with other institutions.
The bank has about 53,000 credit card customers.
The bank would also be increasing its ATMs from the current 563 to 750 by March next.
The bank so far has issued 11 lakh ATM-cum-debit cards. This was expected to increase to about 20 lakh by the end of this financial year, he added.
He said the bank's core banking solution was now extended to 1,280 branches, making it one of the largest networks in the country.
"We used Infosys CBS platform and that is working very well," he added. About 60 per cent of the bank's gross business was covered by the CBS, he said.
PNB, he said, proposed to have nine branches specifically for meeting the credit requirements of large corporate houses. So far, about four large credit branches (LCB) have been opened - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The bank proposed to have two more such LCBs in Delhi and Mumbai and one each in Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana and Chandigarh.
The bank has had a credit growth of 30 per cent on a year on year basis. However, the growth was helped by a sustained 32 per cent agri-credit off take.
About 19 per cent of its advances was to the retail sectors he said, which included the housing sector.
He said the bank hoped to start its four way joint venture life insurance advisory services within the next five to six months. PNB is expected to have a 30-per cent stake in the venture and the remaining equity is to be held by Vijaya Bank, Berger Paints and the Principal group of the US.
The bank was awaiting RBI nod for starting the venture.
Referring to the bank's proposal for taking over the Industrial Finance Corporation of India, Mr Swarnkar said the Government was yet to give its nod. PNB had submitted the proposal in January 2004 for taking over the ailing financial institution.
However, he said the bank was open to acquisition to power its growth, though there were no specific proposals with it at the moment.
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