Vol. 6 | issue 7 | August 2012
s l bansal oriental bank of commerce
‘Investments are only in gold, reales
As the 14th Chairman and Managing Director of Oriental Bank of Commerce, S L Bansal has his priorities clear. He wants to transform the Bank, which had its origins in Lahore, into one of the finest public sector banks that customers can depend upon. Bansal talks about his priorities in an interview with Neeraj Mahajan. Excerpts:
Today, there is a negative sentiment to the investment climate. However, while the public says that the interest rates are very high, to my mind this is not a factor that influences investment decisions. Even when the interest rates were as high as 19-20 per cent, people were bringing in projects and taking bold decisions. If an entrepreneur feels that he can make some profits, he will go ahead with a project whatever be the cost. However, the biggest hurdle an investor faces is getting the requisite clearances. For example, in case of a road project, an investor does not know whether the NHAI will be in a position to give them the right to way, or land on time, or whether all clearances will be there when they start acquiring land? It is these things that that lead to cost overruns. It is factors like these that create roadblocks for decision-making by entrepreneurs. Today, people are putting in their money in real estate and gold, as a result of which savings are declining. This decline in savings has a co-relation with investment and this is evident from the decline in gross capital formation.
Unlike earlier, banks today have empowered their customers. Today, almost 80 per cent of all banking activities are possible online. It is not only banks that are improving, but even other public sector companies are falling in track. For instance, Air India too has improved a lot. Even for a 15-minute delay in flight timings, they now send a SMS to their customers. This was not so earlier. This awareness is coming in to all bank employees also. If we can align users and the service provider’s viewpoints, then we can become a great country.
On our part, I would like Oriental Bank to become a great bank providing the best possible services. In fact, we want that whenever customers think of banking they should think of us. Whenever they want to look for a good service provider, they should think of OBC. That is my dream…In terms of assets and quality we are reasonably well placed as compared to any other bank. Of course, cost is an issue because of which we could not expand in the last 4-5 years in the way we could have. Today, despite our small network of 2,820 branches, we are still doing good business. This is a great achievement. Our per branch business is over Rs 1.50 crore – the highest in the industry. We have around 18,000 committed employees, with the productivity per employee being Rs 15 crore, which again is one of the highest in the industry. There are a lot of challenges but we are sensitising our employees and we expect them to meet our expectations........................READ MORE