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Friday, Jan 25, 2002

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SBI to recruit IT pros once arm gets okay

Vinson Kurian


STATE Bank of India's plan to recruit IT professionals is now being linked to the grant of Government approval for its IT subsidiary, which is expected to materialise "in a matter of weeks''.

SBI would recruit professionals "from the market'' once the approval came through, Mr Y. Radhakrishnan, Managing Director and Group Executive (Corporate Banking), told Business Line here. "We are not only talking about managing the services here, but also about research and development,'' he added.

When asked if the bank would go to the campuses also scouting for people, Mr Radhakrishnan said it had not taken a decision in this regard.

When asked to comment on the Chairman, Mr Janki Ballabh's observation in the recent Becon deliberations on the need for banks to increasingly outsource non-core activities, he said he was in full agreement with the Chairman.

"We, at SBI, have only conceptualised the (outsourcing) plan. We are discussing it with the unions,'' he said replying to a specific question.

Dwelling on the security aspect of its data and networking system, he said 9/11 had altered the mindset at the bank. "Whatever we now do are backed up with absolutely fool-proof security straddling not just one, but three or even four levels. All our new initiatives - the process part and the security part included - get thoroughly vetted by renowned arbiters,'' Mr Radhakrishnan said.

The bank is also readying a comprehensive disaster management and recovery set-up. All transactions would be mirrored and the backup will be able to take over in as little as one-and-a-half minute's time, if required.

The system will be "physically separated'' in terms of both hardware and software. "This is going to be our next big challenge. But, not everybody seem to know the size and the scale involved,'' he said.

Right now, SBI has 700 ATMs on its network. By March 31, this will be raised to 1,000. "We've intensified our drive. We still have got another two months to go. All our people are on the field. The equipment has come. The sites are being identified on a war footing all over the country,'' Mr Radhakrishnan said.

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