In a move one would least expect from a public sector undertaking, the State Bank of India today said it a 'Work from Anywhere' (WFA) flexibility for its 2.5 lakh-odd employees will be a key component of its business continuity plan in a post-COVID world. Addressing the bank's shareholders at the 65th Annual General Meeting today, Chairman Rajnish Kumar said, “the (Work from Anywhere) measure is expected to save Rs 1,000 crore through cost optimization and will be a key component of our business continuity during the times of COVID-19.”
Kumar said the current financial year would be challenging as the impact of pandemic on businesses is still playing out. He added, however, that SBI was prepared to deal with the challenges.
He highlighted the bank's strong deposit base and a customer base of over 44 crores, a diversified loan portfolio, and digital leadership across channels as the key strengths. Also, the bank had identified legacy bad loans and made provisions for those, Kumar said.
The bank has put an elaborate business continuity plan in place, and stepped up monitoring of all the projects under implementation, he said, adding that he expected the bank to tide over COVID impact in the “short to medium term”.
Responding to a shareholder’s query on his outlook on recovery of bad loans, Kumar said the process was being followed even though this has been an unusual year due to the pandemic. He was confident that SBI would be able to repeat its FY20 performance when it posted recoveries and upgrades of Rs 25,781 crores for FY20.
On the bank’s capital position, the SBI Chairman told shareholders that as per the bank’s existing policy, it would continue to maintain its capital adequacy ratio at least 100 basis points above the minimum regulatory requirement.
SBI is targeting an 8 percent loan growth for FY21. “Although we had set a higher target initially, we have revised our loan growth target in light of the pandemic,” he responded to another query on growth outlook.
To a question on whether the bank will be able to recover its Rs 6,050 crores of initial investment in Yes Bank, and the additional Rs 1,760 crores announced thereafter, Rajnish Kumar said that the investment was made with the objective of maintaining financial stability. “We are hopeful of a decent return on our Yes Bank investment in three years,” he said.