Sunday, October 28, 2012

Looking Back – 40

BGR met the AGM K P G Rao at Circle Office (CO) to know the reasons for his abrupt transfer within 18 months from Girinagar. The AGM told him that the Langford Town branch had been graded ‘C’ during inspection. They had posted one Mr. Kamath from inspection department to the branch in June 1989 thinking that he would be able to rectify the situation. But Mr. Kamath could not cope up and begged for a retransfer to inspection department. It seems he told them he would rather point out the irregularities than get entangled in the challenging job of rectifying them! Believe it or not! The management was quite pleased to re-accommodate him in the inspection department! They had now chosen BGR for the challenging job! KPG assured BGR that he would be given full support to ensure that he succeeded in his mission.
BGR reported at Langford Town in November 1989. He had to take charge from the Sub-Manager, as Mr. Kamath had packed off the moment he got his transfer orders back to inspection department. The branch had deposits of around Rs4 crore and advances of Rs2.5 crore. BGR met the AGM M P Nayak at the Regional Office (RO) and sought his guidance. Nayak asked him to assess the situation, chalk out a plan and proceed in his own way. He wished him all the best.
BGR made a thorough assessment of the deficiencies at the branch for a couple of days and listed out the following for his immediate action:
  1. Out of the 30 renewable credit limits, 28 had expired – some of them overdue for over 10 months.
  2. PR-18 (the monthly statement of balancing differences) was showing differences for over 6 months under different accounts, mainly under Savings Bank accounts with even control register not tallying with daybook.
  3. Despite only having only four parties with CDB (cheque discounting) limits and a small turnover, the branch had ‘managed’ to have persisting differences under this head!
  4. Locker rents were in arrears for long periods.
  5. There was absolutely no follow up of loans past due (LPD) accounts marked for recovery.
  6. Acknowledgements of debt (AODs) were overdue in many accounts with limitation dates fast approaching.
  7. Despite having efficient clerical staff, there was no co-ordination among officers; Sub-Manager was too polite to be effective!
BGR reported the above position to CO/DO and assured them that he would focus on setting right the things.
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The Langford Town branch had been opened some ten years ago.  It was situated in a very good location.  The branch building was quite unique.  It had a triangular shape.  On the shorter end, the Manager’s Cabin was located with an attached toilet.  While sitting in the cabin Manager could see the entire Office which was quite wide at the other end including the strong room.  The interior was also very decent.  There was lot of car parking space.  Moreover, roadside trees had grown very tall with the whole area covered with greenery.  Even in summer, compared to other areas in Bangalore, the branch used to be cooler.  Baldwin Girls High School was just behind the branch. The accounts of the school and staff were maintained with the branch.
BGR had to quickly chalk out a strategy to bring the things under control. He had a team of one Sub-Manger, two Accountants, two Special Assistants and 10 clerks. He found the team strength quite adequate. However, he was told that one of the Accountants had created the mess in the SB department when he was in-charge. He was replaced by a Special Assistant who could manage the counter quite well. But he was unable to clear the mess (balancing differences) created by the Accountant. Meanwhile, the Accountant who was shifted to advances department had created another mess there! BGR tried to guide him to rectify the things. But the Accountant while being very obedient was only adding up his mistakes!
BGR managed to get the messy Accountant replaced by another Accountant. But he found the replacement worse.  Indeed his behavior was very fishy! He was not knowledgeable and was very casual in handling his duties with no focus whatever. Whenever BGR entrusted some duties to him in the morning he would tell him not to disturb his mood in the morning!
On the positive side, BGR found the other Accountant B Shashikanth quite efficient, capable and knowledgeable. He was systematic in working including in the handling of advances. The other Special Assistant Devadas Shenoy was also quite good in his area. He was handling current and overdraft accounts quite efficiently. Among clerks, BGR found Mrs. Marjorie Lobo and Mrs.Lorona Jacob quite efficient - taking active interest in handling their work. Vijayashankar was another clerk-cum-typist who was very knowledgeable and was the fastest operator of adding machine.
BGR held a staff meeting. He sought the cooperation of all of them in removing the stigma of ‘C’ gradation of the branch. He told them the initial focus would be on location of the balancing differences and sending a ‘NIL’ PR-18 report. All the staff assured him their full cooperation.
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
28th October 2012

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