Friday, January 4, 2008

To increase business UBI plans to invest Rs 250 crore for IT

For the next financial year United Bank of India (UBI) will be investing Rs 250 crore on information technology.

The investment will cover a massive rise of core banking solutions (CBS), on line share trading facility, phone banking and cash management services among others.

Speaking with Business Standard, P K Gupta, chairman and managing director, UBI, said, “The main challenge in the coming year would be the application of technology for business growth.”

The bank has already started CBS in 201 branches covering 57 per cent of its business and targets to increase the number to 350 branches by the end of this fiscal and double that number by March, thus covering 90 per cent of its total business.

The bank’s implicit private network (VPN) covers 660 links (branches and regional offices) and is lined up to cover 750 links by the end of this financial year.

In August 2007 depository services were launched, soon the bank will be providing online trading of shares under a tie-up arrangement with IDBI Capital Services.

The Kolkata-based public sector bank is assured to introduce cash management services for its corporate and institutional customers. In collaboration with IIM, Calcutta it will be developing a medium-term strategic business plan.

In an attempt to communicate with the customers, the bank is ready to launch a mobile-based CRM application in partnership with Sybase 365 to deliver SMS-based inquiry services.

“All these initiatives are a part of our vision to emerge as a dynamic, techno-savy, customer-centric, progressive and financially sound bank,” said Gupta.

In the first half of this fiscal the bank’s non-interest income grew by 65 per cent to Rs 173.45 crore. The chairman stressed that, to boost this growth, the bank would continue to pull up its network for the distribution of third party products such as bank assurance, mutual funds and government business.

The bank has roped in Tata AIG Life Insurance Company as a strategic partner for its life insurance venture and launched a child insurance scheme in December 2007. “We are going to launch some exclusive products in this area,” he added.

For the meantime, the bank is making arrangements of an ATM sharing with the Indo-Nepal ATM network managed by the India-based Financial Software and System and Smart choice Technologies, Nepal.

The bank has 157 ATMs of its own. Moreover, its customers have access to more than 3,500 ATMs belonging to 12 other banks under the cash tree arrangement.

The bank has also started a disaster recovery centre at Mumbai to combat any kind of technology problems that could arise during an emergency situation.

“We are working hard to provide innovative technology solutions that would contribute to customer service,” Gupta said.

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