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Corpn Bank eyes overseas turf

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Dec. 19

CORPORATION Bank is looking at overseas markets, courtesy its tie-up with Life Insurance Corporation. For starters, it has sought to leverage its relationship with LIC to explore opportunities among the NRI population.

The bank, in which the state-owned insurance company is a 27 per cent shareholder, has already started to utilise LIC's network of branches in the domestic market. More than 20 of its ATMs are currently at LIC's premises.

According to Mr K. Cherian Varghese, CMD of Corporation Bank, the idea is to extend the sweep of the bank's recent MoU with LIC to include new areas. The MoU has already allowed it to open service units at the latter's branches, he added.

One such unit was inaugurated here.

The LIC tie-up has further enabled the bank to offer a special insurance cover to its depositors. The premium for the policy is Rs 325 per annum for an insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh, and an accident cover of Rs 1 lakh.

Corporation Bank, Mr Varghese told newspersons here today, has worked out a Rs 88-crore budget for promoting technology initiatives. A good part of the latter will be directed towards increased networking. It has already taken steps to share its network with some of its peers such as Karnataka Bank.

As part of its customer-oriented programmes, the bank has tied up with NIIT, the leading computer education company, to offer a special 10-hour training facility to its customers at reduced rates. It has also announced 1,000 scholarships for needy students, subject to certain conditions.

Customers more responsible now

ON another front, Corporation Bank has joined the ranks of lenders which have recorded "good results'' in terms of pursuing defaulters under relevant provisions of the new securitisation ordinance.

The bank, it is pointed out, had earlier issued around 20 notices to defaulting borrowers. "The response so far is positive... we already have evidence to suggest that customers have started behaving more responsibly,'' Mr Varghese observed.

The bank hopes that the ordinance will emerge as an even more powerful weapon, and there will soon be settlements with customers. Responding to a question on recent takeovers of properties by certain other lenders, he said "a sense of seriousness and urgency'' is already apparent. "If we are driven to the wall, we too will not hesitate to consider using tough measures,'' he added.

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