Any updates on Kerala Bank, please!

After months, bank is yet to have a proper website

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Ministry of Cooperation and its team seem to have drained all its energy in its run-up to cobble together the much hyped Kerala Bank, toughing out various hurdles in its way and ironing out all differences among the 14 disparate district cooperative banks (DCBs).

After months together in existence and creating big headlines, the bank’s website remains a mockery with no relevant information other than the name and a good logo.

If one wants to check what the bank looks like by visiting its website, he/she will be surprised to learn that the bank is still in a count-down towards its centenary year in 2016 – an observation that would have been relevant more than four years ago.

And this happens at a time when the state strives to pontificate its efforts to attract investments from overseas and claims to be equipped to issue business licences in less than 7 days.

Under ‘Our Vision’ (in website) the bank innocently states that, “KSCB is marching towards its centenary by ‘2016’. And as if that weren’t enough, the site displays obsolete statistics and information, which may be suitable for the erstwhile KSCB – that even, with a lag of five years, as may be the rule with most public sector websites.

Under “Our Activities”, the website says, the bank “Accepts Deposits from district cooperative banks (DCBs), Other Institutions and Individuals; Provides loans and advances to DCBs, Other Institutions and Individuals.” The website keeps upholding the role of DCBs, which have already been merged to form Kerala Bank.

Moreover, most of the notifications do not have anything to do with the core activities or offerings of the bank, but are mostly quotation notifications to supply furniture and computers for the bank.

The only relevant details were with regard to the interest rates offered to depositors for different periods, and of course, the picture and name of the current MD and chief executive officer have been prominently displayed.

There would be people who would be naturally keen to know how big the bank is, how much assets it holds, how much capital the bank has, etc.

The bank management may venture into justifying that the website is under construction, but why on earth all those anachronistic and misleading information and statistics are displayed causing more confusion. It would have been much better if it merely showed a blank site with just the name and the new logo.

Mind you, this bank had come into existence creating a lot of din and bustle and with tall claims of becoming the largest and the most technologically driven bank in the state.

Government had time and again stated it would make a strong, vibrant, technology- driven and professionally-managed full service universal bank in the co-operative sector with proper governance structure, systems and business plan to carry out the mainstream banking activities catering to the needs of the people of Kerala by merging district cooperative banks (DCBs) with Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB).

But why did the bank fail to walk the talk? One would be tempted to believe that the Kerala Bank must be firing on all cylinders now. It may be about five months since the bank has been operational as per a telephonic chat had with the office of the Minister of Cooperation more than a week ago.

Responses to a set of queries sent to his office a week ago are still awaited though the queries were sent at the behest of a top man in the office. Queries sent to the chief executive seeking some basic details of the bank have also not been acknowledged yet.

Loan deals are on

It’s true that there were reports about the bank extending certain COVID 19 relief schemes to aid various sections of society. The chief minister also had announced some loan programmes given out at very favourable terms.

The agriculture loan scheme named Kerala Bank Special Liquidity Facility is meant for individual farmers and societies engaged in group farming offered at 6.8 per cent interest. “Loans will be provided from the Rs300crore sanctioned to Kerala Bank by NABARD,” a statement had said.


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