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SBI plugs bug that wouldn't calculate interest on senior citizens' accounts news
Venkatachari Jagannathan
19 January 2006

Chennai: Account holders in the senior citizen category at the State Bank of India (SBI) can heave a sigh of relief, now that SBI says it has rectified the problem in the software that had been crediting lower or zero interest for the 9-per cent senior citizen savings scheme. For over a year the depositors under the said scheme were put to mental tension and hardship because of the software problem.

Says 80-year old S Nagaraja Rao, an accountholder with the Sri Nagar branch of SBI in Bangalore, "I have five deposits of Rs25,000 each. At 9 per cent rate, every quarter Rs563 has to be credited to each of my accounts. But the actual amount that got credited used to be Rs550, Rs553, etc." Each time he had to contact branch officials to get the correct amount credited to his accounts.

Like him there were a few hundred account holders who faced a similar problem with SBI, which has around 85,000 deposits under the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme, introduced in mid-2004. For SBI, this is one more social welfare account as the money mobilised under this scheme has to be remitted to the government the same day.

Says R N Ramanathan, deputy managing director-Information Technology,"The interest for the quarter ended December 31, 2005, has been correctly calculated and paid out in all the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme accounts."

However, he agrees that for the earlier quarters, there may have been minor differences in the interest calculations. "This could have arisen due the issues in migrating data from the old branch based legacy system to core banking solution and other transitory issues. Some branches where the core banking solution system was installed may have manually debited the interest-payable account with the interest shortfall before being made good through the system."

It may be recalled that SBI selected Bancs, a core banking solution from Financial Network Solutions (FNS), Australia in 2004. The bank also selected Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) as the systems integrator. Last year TCS acquired FNS for $26 million.

When asked whether the bank modified the public provident fund (PPF) software to manage the senior citizen deposit scheme R K Saraf, general manager, core banking solution, says, "The core banking solution system handles the senior citizen scheme accounts in the exact manner in which such deposit accounts are to be handled."

Speaking about the implementation of the core banking solution in the State Bank group Ramanathan says, "It is unparalleled in terms of its size, reach and complexity. Today, all seven associate banks (of the State Bank group) are fully on this core banking solution platform, besides over 2,600 of SBI's own branches."

The core banking solution system for SBI has more than 3.2 crore accounts with about 60 lakh transactions per day. "In view of the extent of roll-out and the quantum jump that has taken place, the bank has taken a number of steps to ensure that the change over is smooth and the customer experience is continuously improved," Ramanathan remarks.

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SBI plugs bug that wouldn't calculate interest on senior citizens' accounts