Thursday, November 29, 2012

Looking Back – 52

The Regional Inspectorate (RI) was functioning from the 3rd floor of Spencer Building on M G Road. During 1995 it was asked to shift to Church Street where the Corporate Cell of Cantonment branch was functioning earlier. The shifting could have caused a lot of inconvenience to RI. Right from part-time employee, daily wager when needed, canteen facility and above all proximity to Inspection Wing/Circle office which used to be a plus point in day to day functioning would have been lost.  BGR told the AGM about the difficulties and his preference to stay back. Fortunately, the matter came to the notice of the Inspection Wing Executives. RI was then provided space on the 5th floor where the Inspection Wing was located - by making some rearrangements. This helped the RI to function still better.
The IC&I Section and Shri Dinesh Nayak – The Professional Manager
The inspection reports of the branches were followed up for rectification by the IC&I Section at Circle Office after the same were received from RI. The rapport between RI and IC&I Section was very much essential for mutual discussion and clarification on many matters. The IC& I Section was headed by a Senior Manager. However, for dealing with Special & Confidential reports, there was a separate Manager who was functioning independently till all such reports were closed. He was Shri Dinesh Nayak.  BGR had occasion to meet him when he was working earlier at Yediyur and Jayanagar T Block branches.  BGR was pleased with some of his excellent qualities during his first meeting with him in his Section.  He had an excellent and clear voice and spoke very good English.  He had in-depth knowledge. His analytical ability was excellent.  He had clear cut views in the area of his working as also on many of the general matters. 
Some of the Managers used to send Special Reports where confidential reports were required to be sent and vice versa.  Moreover, some of the reports were incomplete/unclear. Dinesh Nayak used to point out in a clear cut manner the deficiencies in the report. His processing of the reports was excellent. It was a pleasure for BGR to meet him and discuss matters frequently.  Since then, BGR has been keeping contact with him till date. The two used to discuss many general topics and BGR feels that the discussions with him have enhanced his knowledge.  Dinesh Nayak took VRS in May 2000 (before SVRS) and is now leading a happy retired life after getting his two daughters married.  He reads a lot.  He presently owns an iPad, which he regularly operates and updates himself. For Dinesh Nayak, operating an iPad is a pleasurable job. He is a meticulous reader and observer. The writer of this biography also had the opportunity to meet him and found him extremely knowledgeable and unassuming. He has been giving valuable feedback on this write up very frequently.
The Composition of RI
There were 75 Field Inspecting Officers.  Average age group was about 52.  Most of them had worked as in-charge of branches.  Some had joined Inspection willingly, some reluctantly and some unavoidably.  Some were prepared to work anywhere i.e. locally and outstation.  Some had reservation to go out of station due to domestic reasons.  Some had ailing parents.  Some would come and inform that their son/daughter’s marriage has been fixed to be held shortly.  Some had their own health problems.  BGR used to interact with the field Inspectors when they personally came to the Section or wherever he used to receive phone calls from them.  Some were capable of taking up any category of branch Inspection i.e. VLBs, ELBs, SSI branches and Foreign Department. Some were not eager/competent to take up such Inspections.  So within about 6 months of joining BGR could assess and give them programmes suited to them.   If he came to know that an Inspecting Officer needed to stay locally for some time, he used to ensure that programme was given locally without their asking. 
At that time Concurrent Audit of ELBs/VLBs every month was in vogue.  So such of the Inspecting Officers who were finding it difficult to go outstation, were allotted 2-3 Concurrent Audit branches.  Another set of Inspectors who were always ready to go outstation, were given mostly regular inspection of outstation branches.   Sometimes, if Inspection of branches of our RI was up-to-date, Inspection Wing would ask RI whether it could depute Inspectors to other RIs.  To go to out of State, there were about half a dozen Inspectors always ready.  RI had deputed them to Calcutta, Patna, Delhi, Bombay and Hyderabad branches during different years.  Thus BGR could fairly balance the programmes so that the Inspectors willingly took up the work.  There were competent Inspectors who were capable of conducting “In-depth studies”.  There were several excellent Inspectors like K S Somayaji, Umesh V Prabhu (who is also a writer in Kannada language), K V S Raju, S R V Kamath, J P Prabhu, K Bhoja, R S D B Gowda and L M Pai.
Outsourcing of Regular Inspection – A Failed Initiative!
During 1996, Inspection Wing, HO decided to outsource the regular inspection of some branches to Chartered Accountants and in Bangalore RI 10 branches were outsourced.  They were given the guidelines booklets as also relevant latest circulars.  RI had apprehensions about the quality of inspection as the Audit firms were not experts in the audit of day-to-day functioning of the branches even though they were conducting Statutory Audit of yearly Balance Sheets.  Only two auditors did fairly good job (subsequently RI came to that they had engaged some retired Bank Managers to do the job).  RI could process and grade them by obtaining some information not covered by them from the branches. For the remaining eight branches, RI had to depute the Inspecting Officers to do supplementary Inspection to cover the left out areas/statistics. 
One classic example was the inspection of the biggest branch in Bangalore, Cantonment-Bangalore. This was entrusted to a large audit firm having headquarters in North India.  When RI received the file containing over 200 printed pages, except mentioning “Yes” or “No” there were no other comments.  The statistics provided were incomplete/wrong.   RI was unable to proceed further.  Then AGM suggested sending a team of Inspectors to conduct supplementary inspection and prepare a fresh report.   At the end of the year, the Inspection Wing, HO asked for feed-back about the Inspection conducted by External Auditors and RI gave all the deficiencies and from the very next year the outsourcing was discontinued.  
The Skewed Bank Promotion Policy!
During 1997, BGR submitted appraisal for promotion to Scale IV as his AGM was very eager that he should get it on the basis of his excellent performance and he would push up his case.  During May BGR went to his native place to attend a marriage and some other work.  While he was there, he received a message that his eldest brother, who had retired from RBI as GM, had a heart attack at his sister’s house at Indapur (Pune District) and was hospitalized.  Immediately, BGR went there and stayed there for some days till he recovered.  At that time, the promotion announcement was due.  BGR telephoned to Shri Damle in RI and asked him about the result.  He told BGR that the results would be announced by 3 PM.  He also told that one of the Executives from Inspection Wing told him that his name was on the top of the list.  He told it on the basis of the information that Personnel Wing had asked Inspection Wing to suggest one name as only one SM would be promoted from Inspection and BGR’s name was recommended. 
But when the list was out, BGR’s name was missing.  It was a shock to his colleagues in Inspection including his AGM.  When BGR returned to the Section, one Executive jocularly told him that  he had worked hard throughout the year, but the person who got the promotion applied for 3 days Casual Leave and worked hard to get promotion by pursuing with the right Executives! So that was the scenario in the bank!
BGR had thought that if his name was considered for promotion, he could have worked in a higher capacity in his balance three years of service in the bank. He could have contributed at a different level. But that was not to be. And that was the life and the reality in the banking service. Thereafter BGR did not submit his appraisal for promotion. He carried on with his devoted service as hitherto.
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
29th November 2012

1 comment:

Narain said...

I am happy that my colleague, KVS Raju's name finds a place as an able Inspector. About the Promotion Policy, the less said the better. This write up gives an excellent account of the functioning of the Inspection Department of the Bank. This should help all the Bankers to understand the concept of Internal Audit in Banks better.