On behalf of the Board of Directors, it gives me a great pleasure to place before you the highlights of your Bank's performance, achievements and various initiatives taken across different verticals by your Bank during the financial year 2017-18. Given the unique and evolving circumstances I am grateful to our valued customers and shareholders who have continued to repose their trust in us.
In the F.Y 2017-18, The Indian Banking Industry has faced challenges like slowdown in fresh advances, increase in bad loans, escalating operational costs etc. Like all other leading Banks, maintenance of asset quality was the topmost priority of your Bank, for which cautious growth approach was adopted during F.Y. 2017-18.
As a part of this, your Bank took earnest efforts to rebalance its asset portfolio from Corporate Funding to Retail Business during F.Y. 2017-18. Growth and profitability along with asset quality were being given utmost importance in the F.Y.2017-18. More focus was given to increase Retail Advances and selective approach was adopted for Corporate Funding during last financial year. As a result retail advances grew by nearly 90% as compared to F.Y. 2016-17 and stood at Rs.617.03 crores at the end of F.Y. 2017-18.
It gives me a pleasure to inform you that, despite of all these challenges, your Bank has established itself as a Strong Player in today’s competitive Banking scenario by undertaking different initiatives in different verticals in F.Y. 2017-18. I would like to give an over-view of some of the initiatives undertaken by your Bank during the last financial Year.
Many Banks and NBFCs are offering Home Loans at floating interest rates as low as 8.35% p.a. Hence to align with these market conditions and to remain competitive, your Bank proactively changed Housing Loan Interest rate model from “Fixed” to “Floating” and also introduced different floating Interest rates for different loan amount slabs. As a result “Housing Loan portfolio of your Bank has recorded a growth of 134% in the F.Y. 2017-18 over F.Y.2016-17
Over the years your Bank was confined to newspapers/ Magazine advertisements/ Bill boards or bus shelters for advertising the bank’s products and services. As the digital landscape started growing, Banks have started realizing that digital and social media marketing have become a necessity for effectively reaching targeted clientele base. Digital marketing being very cost effective, your Bank also launched various Digital Marketing Campaigns on Social Media Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, “Websites & Mobile Apps” of Leading E-newspapers etc.
Bank Fixed Deposits being considered as great investment option with guaranteed interest income, your Bank reviewed interest rates on Term Deposits offered by various competitor Banks and to align with current market scenario your Bank also offered special FD Interest rates of 7.75% p.a. for general public and 8.00% p.a. for senior citizens respectively for “15 months period”, for the month of March 2018. An overall good response was received from existing Fixed Deposit holders as well as New Fixed Deposit holders. This initiative has helped your Bank not only to retain its existing clientele but also to mobilize New Banking relationships by the end of F.Y. 2017-18.
Most of the peer Banks are now focusing on introducing “Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)” for its customers. It is an integrated bill payment system which offers inter-operable and accessible Utility Bill payment service to the customers and is very easy to operate. As a part of one of the technology initiatives and with an aim to lead our valued customers towards digital banking, your Bank has also introduced “BBPS facility” for all its valued customers with effect from April 2018. It will facilitate account holders of your Bank to pay all their utility bills through this digital banking platform, real time.
With several policy initiatives on the anvil, the Indian Economy is on the brink of a major transformation in Current Financial Year. Government of India is pushing towards digitalization for enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. Accordingly Banking sector has to lay more emphasis on providing improved services to their clients by upgrading their technology infrastructure. Advancements in technology will bring the mobile and internet banking services to the fore and will help the banking Industry in this digital journey.
As we continue in our efforts to meet customer aspirations, I wish to sincerely thank all the Members and Shareholders again for your continued confidence in your Bank. I am confident that with such continued efforts, your Bank would march ahead in the new Financial Year towards its pinnacle of excellence.