SBI to accelerate digital agenda in FY23: Chairman Dinesh Khara

State Bank of India (SBI) will accelerate its digital agenda at the level of its front and back offices in the current financial year, chairman Dinesh Khara said in the bank’s annual report for FY22. The lender intends to expand the scope and reach of its app Yono and enhance the user experience of the platform.

In business operations, your bank will leverage advanced analytics for deeper insights on internal data and its best possible usage,” Khara said in his message to shareholders. Mutually-beneficial partnerships with fintechs and non-banking financial companies will be further explored to increase the penetration and reach of the bank, he added. As of March 2022, SBI had 22,266 branches, over 68,000 business correspondents and more than 65,000 ATMs.

SBI is comfortably placed in terms of growth capital for the current year, Khara said. Opportunities for lending in promising sectors, such as those identified under the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme and renewables, as well as electric mobility, will be explored to diversify the portfolio.

Khara observed that FY22 was a much better year compared to FY21, with the pace of economic activity picking up. The momentum is expected to continue, he said. SBI’s standalone net profit for FY22 rose 55% over the previous year to Rs 31,676 crore in FY22. Its advances grew 11% during the year to Rs 28.18 trillion, better than the 4.8% growth clocked in FY21. Total deposits grew 10.06% to surpass the Rs 40-trillion mark.

Khara said SBI has been taking several initiatives to upgrade its technology infrastructure. It has been working on upgrading ATM connectivity by arranging 4G connectivity to off-site ATMs. Alternate secondary links to branches and offices have been put in place to improve the network experience and minimise outages.

The bank has devised an early warning and insights mechanism related to cybersecurity threats to comply with the RBI’s cybersecurity framework by arranging a honeypot solution. To increase penetration and nudge customers into adopting technology, the Yono Lite app has been made available in 12 Indian languages and the Yono Krishi app in 10 languages.

While SBI plans to eventually extend the Yono platform to customers of all banks, insiders say there are challenges. “Many of SBI’s own customers are not using Yono to an optimum level. We would like to first upgrade the app and make most of our customers active users. Thereafter, we can think about opening APIs (application programming interfaces) to customers of other banks,” said a senior banker.

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