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Monday, July 26, 2010

A Turn Around

“History perhaps may never repeat at that Branch”

Collective Fulfillment: An Experience

SBLC, Indore: SBI Citizen – Intervention II (21 - 27 July’10)

The write-up relates to my tenure as Branch Manager at Abhana Branch, A Rural Branch located about 17 Kms from Damoh on the Jabalpur route. I joined during July’99. Regional Manager had posted me at the branch with a specific target to set the things right as the Branch was failing on all fronts with Business and hence Profit falling, NPAs mounting and the Branch Premises in a precarious state’. Given the circumstances, the Staff Moral and Enthusiasm levels were also at the lowest.

Involving and Energizing the Staff:

As I joined, there was usual apprehension as to ‘What, the next BM is going to be like?’, well supported by the air of expectancy to turn the things around.

It took me a few days to understand and acquaint myself with the Branch Environment, Work Culture and the Customer Profile. As my task was already cutout, I lost no mare time and immediately applied myself to the Mission.

In the situation described earlier, involving the staff was no mean task. However, I could see the silver lining in my interactions. Making the work environment conducive and enjoyable was part of an action plan evolved during one of such interactions and which initiated the involvement process. First step in the long journey was thus already taken.

It was at this stage that the seeds of a plan to turn around the Branch fortune were sownAn action plan was drawn up with the views of all concerned. With realistic prospects of achievement visualized, the staff felt energized. The achievement of goal, this point forward, then became a forgone conclusion.

The Journey:

My first priority was to improve the work environment. This required a good deal of effort and expenditure for which I took my RM into confidence. Having got a go ahead, the work immediately began. The Branch had lot of space available on the first floor which was being used to ‘DUMP’ stationery and old record. It almost resembled an abandoned godown. The record dumped there, ever since the branch came into being some 20 years ago, was sorted and disposed off. Three days of non-stop day-night effort with each one involved, changed the look to a well arranged recreation-cum-lunch room with provision for rest in the form of a double bed.

Next on agenda was giving a new look to the Branch Premises i.e. the main banking hall. It was indeed a mammoth task to give it an adorable look through oil painting, vinyl carpeting, new curtains, new furniture, new signages, posters and informative write-ups. This was followed by interactions with all influential people in the area of operation of the branch including the Government Authorities. The results were evident with new business flowing-in and staff oozing with enthusiasm, ready to welcome customers.

To take the Bank closure to the heart of clientele and give the Bank due publicity, Customer Relation Program, Pensioners’ Meet, Teachers’ Meet, Blood Donation/Health Check-up Camps  etc were organized with Damoh Collector also joining the CRP. All this and more turned the Branch fortunes like Never Before.

The Branch finally ended the financial year, not only achieving the budgeted goals on all fronts, but also surpassing some of these by a mile.

The proud moment for me and my team came when the Branch was awarded recognition / awards in the following areas –

Ø      Highest % Growth in Advances – Rural Branches (RBO),
Ø      Maximum Reduction in NPA in % Terms (Level),
Ø      Maximum Reduction in NPA % (Module).
Ø      Highest % increase in recovery in W/o accounts.
Ø      Highest % Increase in Profit.

However, almost a decade down the line, the greatest satisfaction comes from the calls I still receive from not only the Staff but also the Customers of that Branch who all say that “History perhaps may never repeat at that Branch”

Nimish Kumar Bhatnagar
Chief Manager (RCPC), RBO – Khandwa

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