SBI aims to accelerate the digital agenda, says President Khara

“Your bank will thus continue to accelerate its digital agenda both in front and in the back office. In business operations, your bank will leverage advanced analytics to gain deeper insights into internal data and its best possible use,” Khara said.

The bank will explore mutually beneficial partnerships with fintechs and non-bank financial companies (NBFCs) to increase lender penetration and reach. As of March, SBI had 22,266 branches, over 68,000 business correspondents and over 65,000 automated teller machines (ATMs), including 12,872 deposit and withdrawal machines.

Mint announced in March that SBI was planning a separate digital entity and revamping its current mobile app, renaming it “Only Yono,” as part of its decision to be ready for the future. SBI aims to implement the redesign in 12-18 months, including migrating existing Yono customers to Only Yono.

The annual report pointed out that as of March 31, Yono had 111.74 million downloads, opened 26,000 digital savings bank accounts per day, and had 48.35 million registered users. During the year, SBI said it opened 9.9 million savings bank accounts.

“The future of banking is in technology,” Khara said.

The bank is comfortably placed in terms of growth capital for the current year, Khara said. The bank, he said, will explore lending to promising sectors such as those identified under the Production Linked Incentive Program (PLI) and renewable energy, as well as electric mobility to diversify the wallet.

SBI’s solvency ratio at the end of March stood at 13.83%, an improvement of 9 basis points (bps) compared to the previous year.

“Despite the economic headwinds, your bank has adapted well to the challenges posed by the operating environment. I have more than hope that the performance achieved in FY22 will show further improvement in FY23,” the SBI Chairman said.

SBI remains a leader in international banking among Indian banks, with a presence at 227 locations in 30 countries, Khara said. In FY22, SBI continued to streamline its overseas operations, including closing its overseas subsidiary SBI Botswana Ltd and merging the Ilford branch of SBI UK Ltd with its East Ham branch.

“A panoramic view of the bank’s financial performance over the past few years shows a noticeable improvement in all parameters. So, despite the challenges posed by the operating environment, your bank today has better loss absorbency,” he said.

Overall, FY22 was a much better year than FY21 and with the pace of economic activity accelerating, the momentum should continue, Khara said.

The opening of the economy has reduced the need for a new stimulus package and the current momentum appears to be sustainable, Khara said. Thus, for the bank, it is imperative that the business continues to adapt to the new operating environment, he said.

“Therefore, now is an opportune time to undertake the much-needed transformation of banking by keeping an eye on emerging trends in the banking sector, particularly in India,” Khara said.

In business operations, the bank will rely on advanced analytics to gain deeper insights into internal data and its best possible use, he said.

The bank’s risk management practices have worked better, especially in containing slippages, Khara noted. Consumer price index inflation remains a concern although the Reserve Bank of India’s projected average is below 6% for the financial year 2023, he said.

Risks could stem from further tightening in global crude and other commodity prices due to geopolitical tensions, longer supply chain disruptions, greater pass-through of input cost pressures and volatility in global financial markets induced by positive monetary policy normalization by advanced economies, the SBI Chair said.

PTI contributed to the story.

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Lance B. Holton