Finally, Kerala's Own Bank Comes into Existence
Kerala State Cooperative Bank’s maiden general body meeting in January approved its merger with 13 district cooperative banks in the State. The meeting also approved the new brand name ‘Kerala Bank’ and its logo, in addition to the vision document and business plan for the next three years.
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief Minister, who unveiled the logo, described Kerala Bank as an alternative to “for-profit banking institutions’’. “There is no doubt that Kerala Bank will become the premier banking institution in the State. At present, SBI is the leading bank in Kerala with 1216 branches and a total deposit of Rs. 1,53,000 crore. Kerala Bank will have 825 branches in the first phase and a total deposit of Rs. 65,000 crore. Kerala’s cooperative network has 1,692 PACS and 16 licensed urban cooperative banks, which now constitute the members/shareholders of Kerala Bank. Our aim is to create a deposit worth Rs. 3 lakh crore in the next three years,” he said.
The Chief Minister also allayed fears that the cooperative behaviour of the cooperative bank will be compromised once the Kerala Bank is formed. “The cooperative nature will be protected and people will continue to benefit in the same way as in the past from the functioning of the cooperative banks. The Bank will comply with all cooperative laws and rules strictly. With financial discipline, the Bank can scale great heights within a short period,” he expressed confidence.
Kadakampally Surendran, State Minister of Cooperation, Tourism and Devaswoms, said 987 representatives attended the general body meeting. The logo indicates number one (‘1’) and has 14 dots that represent the 14 district co-operative banks that have come together with State Co-operative Bank to form the Kerala Bank. Mini Antony IAS, Secretary, Department of Cooperation and Rani George IAS, MD, Kerala State Cooperative Bank, were also present.
A government notification announcing the setting up of the bank was issued on November 29 last year after the High Court dismissed 21 cases against the government move to amalgamate 13 District Cooperative Banks (DCBs), barring Malappuram District Cooperative Bank, with the Kerala State Cooperative Bank (KSCB) to pave way for the formation of Kerala Bank. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had given its nod for setting up Kerala Bank on October 7. The RBI approval, however, was subject to the outcome of the cases challenging the provisions in the ordinance promulgated by the government to circumvent district cooperative banks’ resistance towards the formation of Kerala Bank.
For the Kerala Bank, the major challenges are the integration of the IT platforms of separate banking institutions (including KSCB), their functions, financials and HR systems without interrupting the services. Besides, it would be a daunting task to bring all the district banks under one licence regime for providing core banking and other such modern facilities and gaining permission for all of them to accept NRI funds.