THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the state government adding Kerala Bank to its list of banking partners, the organisation is poised for a big leap. Recently, the government had permitted its departments, public sector undertakings and local self-governments to park funds in Kerala Bank. Earlier, these organisations were asked to deposit money in the treasury or scheduled banks.
The decision is a shot in the arm for the Kerala Bank, the second largest bank in the state formed by merging the Kerala State Cooperative Bank and 13 District Cooperative Banks. The clientele is set for a major expansion with several local self-governments already opening accounts. The LSGs made good use of the new provision when they were asked to open a bank account for the First Line Treatment Centres to treat Covid-19 patients. The surge in deposits is expected to help the bank raise its current account, savings account (CASA) ratio.
Kerala Bank CEO Rajan P S viewed the government direction as mutually beneficial for the bank and the exchequer. “Being a state-owned entity, social responsibility is as important as the bank’s profitability. We can offer some unique features like in the case of special loan schemes. If the government desires, we can pass on a part of the interest benefit to beneficiaries,” he said. The Kerala Bank deposits will see a significant increase when these organisations select it as their banking partner. This, according to the CEO, would help the bank to increase its CASA ratio. “The present 12 pc will double or even more. The software integration as part of the merger is on. When completed we will be able to offer an excellent banking experience featuring technology-driven products. The integration is running behind the schedule as we face staff shortage due to Covid-19,” he said.
Kerala Bank is the second largest bank in the state. The SBI with over 1200 branches and around Rs 1.7 lakh crore deposits is the largest. Kerala Bank has 825 branches and around Rs 65,000 crore deposits. In addition to these, the state’s cooperative banking network includes 1542 primary agricultural credit cooperative societies and 60 urban banks.