Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Looking Back - Episode – 29

G A Shenoy, the Chief manager of the branch, had come on transfer from Kalbadevi branch where he had secured ‘A’ gradation in inspection continuously. He was much worried about the persisting difference in the current account balancing at his new branch. He assigned the job to BGR and told him to take it up on priority.  He aimed at sending a NIL statement for balancing differences (PR-18).

BGR looked at forming a taskforce for the purpose. But his options were limited. The branch had three Sub-Managers including BGR. However, Satish Kini, one of the Sub-Managers, was visiting the branch only in the morning to sign the attendance! He was the treasurer of the Officers’ Association and would pack off immediately to handle matters connected with the Association! The other Sub-Manager B S Pai was not capable of doing any quality work. He would often keep his hand on his left chest and say that he was a heart patient. That was his way of avoiding any additional responsibility/work! The current accounts (including overdraft accounts) were under the supervision of a gentleman called Menon who was a staunch Staff Union leader and office bearer. He would leave the office immediately after the official time of 6 pm to attend the union work!

BGR had by now gathered a fairly good idea about the internal work position of the branch. He went through the current account ledgers and the balancing for two days. He found that the differences started from November 1979 and varied from month to month. He spoke to Menon who told him that the work load was very heavy and he was not in a position to devote his time to locate the differences. BGR could make out that Menon was a clever guy. The balancing was being taken weekly. Whenever the difference amounted to lakhs, Menon would immediately devote his time to bring them down to within thousands. He knew he would be in problem if there were huge overdrawings. But he was cool about the differences if they were in thousands!

BGR finally identified a clerk called Joshi who was an allrounder. Joshi told BGR that he could definitely assist but some people may raise objections as the location of differences was not supposed to be a clerical job! But he said he had the capacity to locate differences and would assist BGR in retotalling, comparing etc. BGR also found another helping hand in K D Nayak who was in charge of advances. He told BGR that even though he was busy with his own work, he would sit late and offer his assistance. B S Pai (the heart patient) also assured BGR that he would sit late to give him company.

But the job was not so easy. The branch had huge daily transactions. It had separate legers for public issues, refund orders, dividend payments and inoperative accounts in addition to a number of operative ledgers. Once taking up the work, BGR decided that they should locate at least one week’s difference by the weekend. The team took up the job every day after office hours. Joshi was indeed well versed in the job as he had worked in the department for some time. That Saturday evening a mistake pointed out by him brought down the difference to less than a rupee.  By 7 pm, the team had tallied the first week balancing. The success was quite satisfying.

The team continued the good work with enthusiasm thereafter and some of them even worked on 2-3 holidays. Seeing its success, some more staff joined them. Finally by October 1980, the balancing was tallied up-to-date. When BGR reported the good news to the Chief Manager Shenoy, he was extremely pleased. He wrote a letter to the Circle Office along with a NIL PR-18 statement highlighting the initiative and leadership role played by BGR. The Circle Office came out with a circular to the branches mentioning the name of BGR.  Thereafter BGR ensured that there were no balancing differences under any of the heads in the branch till he was transferred from the branch.

Another major area of improvement brought out by BGR was tallying the security items (chequebooks, demand drafts, deposit receipts, etc) with the security register and arranging them in a systematic manner inside the strong room. The previous manager-in-charge had allowed the dumping of the items haphazardly without any control on the items. The situation was quite serious with scope for frauds. It was indeed a Herculean job, which BGR almost singlehandedly managed with the assistance of a daily wager called Rokde.

There were some positive developments in the meanwhile. The posting of an efficient officer called Soman Thomas strengthened the advance department. The Circle Office also felt the necessity of an efficient manager to handle corporate accounts. It posted K Kannan as a Manager for the purpose. Kannan was reputed as a master in advances - trained under stalwarts like K P G Rao. Meanwhile the number of public issues was also increasing day by day. Hence BGR was asked to handle the public issues portfolio exclusively. It was a new area for BGR and a challenging one. He accepted the job with full spirits.
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
10th September 2012

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