Mumbai, Aug 26: Country's largest lender State Bank of India may have its branches open on Sundays to help improve efficiency, a top bank official has said.
“Possibly we would like to see Sunday working which would increase the time available for doing banking and increase the business,” bank chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told analysts on a conference call organised by the brokerage Edelweiss Securities.
The bank had last year taken everybody by surprise by opting to keep all its branches open on October 2 to compensate for a day's business loss due to a technical snag. The bank management was happy with the foot falls and the staff turnout at the branches at that time in spite of it being a Sunday as well as a national holiday - Gandhi Jayanti.
Notably, many private banks, which control only a minority share in the banking operations, do keep their select branches open on Sundays for customer convenience, even though technologies like internet banking have reduced the need.
Being open on Sundays is said to help the branches attract the new-age working class customers where both the spouses in a household work and struggle to do banking transactions during the week.
SBI, which has almost 14,000 branches across the country, counts on its large chunk of savings account deposits (at over 38 percent) for higher margins. However, if such a move were to be made, it would be interesting how the bank unions, which had crippled banking operations across country last week protesting reform measures, take to such a proposal.
SBI had carried out widely appreciated ‘Parivartan' programme in early part of this decade, which helped it stay relevant in changing times and maintaining lead in the market. During the call, Chaudhuri said the costs incurred on developing physical infrastructure and network does not hit the bank as much as staff costs.
In order to improve efficiency, it will therefore try to delegate routine responsibilities currently done by officers to the low cost junior employees, he said.