Union Bank's technology expansion effort

Kochi: Union Bank of India's (UBI) technology modernisation drive, called core banking solution, involving an investment of Rs 150 crore, will be completed in three years, says UBI deputy general manager (central advances department) M S Sundara Rajan.

The programme that is implemented in around 500 branches covering 60 per cent of the bank's business, will provide anywhere-and-anytime-banking, Internet-banking, mobile-banking and tele-banking.

UBI has tied up with Wipro, Infosys and two IT majors for the programme. The bank has also decided to widen its ATM network from the present 30 to 100 in another two years.

Out of its total 2,023 branches, 1,304 have been computerised already, covering 83 per cent of the bank's business. The bank has also put in place a wide-area network, which facilitates cash management system.

Apart from its renewed thrust on retail and personal banking, especially housing loans, loans to professionals and trade financing, the bank has also lined up new services like insurance product distribution and gold import.

Its public issue of 18 crore equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at a premium of Rs 6 aggregating Rs 288 crore is for augmenting the long-term resources of the bank and to meet its future capital adequacy requirements. The issue opens on 20 August and closes on 28 August 2002. The bank has reserved Rs 28 crore for its employees.

UBI's gross non-performing assets (NPA) stood at 10.77 per cent at the end of last year. This year, the bank has targeted a recovery of 20 per cent, amounting to Rs 480 crore. It will also make a quarterly review of the NPA situation. The bank earned a net profit of Rs 301.33 crore on a deposit level of Rs 39,974 crore in 2001-02. The total advances were at Rs 21,383.31 crore.

UBI Kerala regional head M Paul Mathew says the total business of the bank through 124 branches in the state is Rs 3,000 crore, of which deposits account for Rs 1,900 crore. "The bank has given maximum loans to self-help groups in the districts of Ernakulam, Idukki and Wayanad. Its CD ratio in the state is comparatively higher than the other banks at 58 per cent."