Friday, November 23, 2012

Looking Back – 49

BGR was moving back to an Administrative Unit after a gap of 12 years. He reported at the Regional Inspectorate (RI) located on the 3rd floor of Spencer Towers on M G Road on 2nd September 1992. The RI was at that time headed by K P Kamath, DM and the Section in-charge was S M Shenoy, Senior Manager (SM). Shyam Sunder was the Officer with three other Managers to process the Inspection reports for the purpose of gradation of branches. Shyam Sunder gave him the Inspection Report of one of the branches along with the processing and gradation sheets and asked him to go through. BGR had received many inspection reports in his capacity as branch Manager. But here he was to look at them as an auditor. It was a simple role change! BGR went through the report and the gradation sheets and sought some clarifications from Shyam Sunder. He then gave BGR the guidelines booklet (the Red Book) as also the guidelines for submission of Special/Confidential Reports. He also gave BGR the orders to join S Raghavendra Rao (SM), at the Marathahalli branch on the next day.
Marathahalli in those days had complete village surroundings. Raghavendra Rao had already completed the inspection of most of the departments. He was an experienced, knowledgeable and cool-going person whom BGR already knew well. He gave a short briefing to BGR about the inspection job. BGR was then asked to take up guarantees. BGR made some observations and Rao concurred with his views. He was then given some miscellaneous areas to cover. Marathahalli was then known for its brick units. Rao took BGR for one of the brick-manufacturing units for inspection. He also took him to a mango garden which was financed by the bank. The inspection was completed within a week and ratings were dispatched to RI.
BGR inspected 19 branches during September 1992 to May 1994. The branches included: 1) Marathahalli, Bangalore 2) Chandapur Circle, Bangalore 3) Harohalli 4) Kallambella 5)Bargur 6)Bevoor 7)Bellary 8)Shahbad 9)Sarakki Layout, Bangalore 10) Peenya, Bangalore 11)Ulsoor, Bangalore 12)Infantry Road, Bangalore 13) HAL II Stage, Bangalore 14) Chamrajpet, Bangalore 15) Currency Chest, Bangalore 16) Gokula, Bangalore 17) Madhavanagar, Bangalore 18) Indian Institute Campus, Bangalore and 19) Malleshwaram, Bangalore.
Raghavendra Rao continued to be the leader of the team during the inspection of Chandapur Circle, Bangalore and Harohalli branches after Marathahalli branch.  He had clear cut knowledge about each and every aspect of banking including Foreign Exchange.  He had handled Foreign Exchange business at N R Road, Bangalore branch as early as during sixties and continued to update his knowledge.  So whenever BGR asked for any clarification he used to guide him by explaining pros and cons.   K G Kedlaya, SM, who had earlier worked at R&L Section, Circle Office, Bangalore, was BGR’s leader while inspecting Kallambella and Bargur braches.   He was explaining many aspects of mortgage, hypothecation, pledge, lien and others with his vast experience in Legal Section.  BGR was the team leader for inspecting the other branches. This write up will cover the inspection of only four branches.
The Bargur Branch – The Manager Comes Back to Clear the Mess!
Bargur was a village branch in Tumkur District. The previous Manager Ramachandrappa had disbursed a large number of agricultural loans and the new Manager had taken charge a couple of months ago.  Majority of loan papers were blank (not filled up) and had only borrowers’ signatures.  Post sanction inspection appeared to have not been done.  Bills/receipts were not obtained wherever necessary.  Mortgage papers were incomplete.  When BGR pointed out to the new Manager he told him that the earlier Manager has to do it.  BGR told him that he should have got it done before relieving him and whether he would co-operate now was doubtful. The previous Manager was working at Bangalore some 100 kms away.  BGR then asked the Manager to contact him and inform him that the matter would be serious in case loan papers were not updated. 
To BGR’s surprise the very next day Ramachandrappa arrived at the branch.  He was a tall, dark and well-built person.  He came to BGR and assured him that he would set right all the loan papers and clear the other pending matters.  BGR told him that it would take at least 15 days for him to set right.  Ramachandrappa told him that he would come to the branch on Sundays and Holidays and also apply for leave and ensure that all pending documentation was completed and requested him not to report.  BGR could not believe him. But still he allowed him three-week time.   As promised, Ramachandrappa sincerely attended all the unfinished work.  He also took BGR for spot inspection.  He told BGR that because of the pressure of work due to large disbursement of loans in that unbanked area, he could not attend the matters then and there.  BGR was quite happy with him for keeping up his assurance.
The Bevoor Branch - Inspector or Mentor? – BGR in a Dual Role!
Bevoor was also a village branch about 12 KMs from Channapatna.  Here also a newly promoted Manager Gopalaswamy had taken charge of the branch. The branch had large number of small loans including borewell loans.  More than 200 loans had completed 30 months and AODs had not been obtained.  Some of the loan papers were already time-barred and some others were due within a fortnight.  There were two clerks and one Special Assistant who were fully engaged in day-to-day work and the Manager had to look after the entire advances.  Gopalaswamy was new to working in a village branch.  He was in utter confusion.  He sought BGR’s advice and guidance as to how to handle the situation.   BGR advised him not to get disheartened and charted out a programme for him:
  1. To sort out the work on priority basis. 
  2. To seek the co-operation of other staff members 
  3. To ask a clerk (the branch had a good clerk) to make out a list of AODs to be obtained and then get it checked 
  4. To utilize the services of one clerk and a peon, who knew the addresses of the borrowers 
  5. Conduct visits area-wise and obtain AODs and also try to recover the arrears to the extent possible 
Gopalaswamy took it on right earnest and could manage to obtain more than 90% of AODs within 15 days.  He felt confident and relieved.  BGR also suggested him to reduce the number of SB ledgers by transferring the inoperative accounts to separate ledger which helped in attending customers more efficiently. There were many small irrecoverable loans since many years. BGR suggested to Gopalaswamy to make visits and if he found them irrecoverable to recommend for write off. Gopalaswamy followed BGR’s advice meticulously and at the end of his three-year term he brought the loan portfolio under full control.  He also disbursed many loans subsequently including housing loans, which boosted the advances figures of the branch. BGR completed the inspection of the branch in six weeks.  He had spent a significant portion of his time in guiding the new Manager!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
23rd November 2012

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