Money & Banking

Take ‘STEPS’ to stay on top, SBI chief tells staff

K Ram Kumar Mumbai | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 09, 2017

Rajnish Kumar



State Bank of India’s new chief Rajnish Kumar has exhorted his team of 2,68,705 associates to walk the ‘STEPS’ so that the bank continues to retain the crown position in the banking sector and delivers ‘new age banking for new India’.

STEPS stands for Strong ethics, Transparent & high standards of corporate governance, Empathy & compassion for colleagues, customers & communities around, Politeness in dealing with customers, peers, seniors & junior colleagues and Sincerity.

“Let us keep in mind the values of STEPS….Let us ensure that the STEPS spirit passionately persists with us till the end,” Kumar said in a communication to employees. Kumar took charge as Chairman of the country’s largest bank on October 7 for a three-year term.

Even as he highlighted that the ‘nation banks on the over two-century-old bank’, Kumar flagged the issue of the banking industry passing through tough times. This is happening globally and India too has not escaped the tremors.

The challenges

The SBI chief said: “Despite our grit, fortitude, hard work and resilience, we also could not stay insulated from the unfavourable macro conditions. More so, in a highly inter-connected world and economic environment….But challenges inspire us. We are wired that way…The recent merger proves this.

“...I have no doubt that our bank will overcome the current challenges soon. Still, we should not forget that the crown position in the industry bequeaths greater responsibilities on us to push ourselves extra.”

The challenges that SBI is currently up against include resolving bad loans (that touched almost 10 per cent of total advances in the June-2017 quarter), reviving credit growth (which saw a tepid 1.46 per cent year-on-year growth in the June quarter), and retaining market share (in the face of tough competition from private sector banks).

He said “A bank is as good as its frontline people. They are the face of the bank…Being polite to your customers is the best way to grow your community of loyal customers. Customers prefer to bank with the people who treat them well.

“We may have best of products, technology, ambience but if we are not courteous and polite to our customers, our business will not endure. We will not progress. Politeness is what builds a great bank.” While performance and productivity are non-negotiables, Kumar underscored that they are not achievable if the employees are not healthy and happy.

“We have been taking a number of new initiatives focussed towards work-life balance of employees by introducing facilities like sabbatical, work from home and refining some of the existing ones.

Ethics in banking

The SBI honcho stressed that ethics matters in a fiduciary setting like a commercial bank.

“Banking must stick to strong ethical standards. To do so, our conduct must be absolutely clean. But clean conduct requires that we follow the rules of governance and principles of strong ethics….

“We are the first, in the Indian public sector, to start an independent “Ethics & Business Conduct vertical’’ to weave our trademark ethos in our operational fabric,” said Kumar.

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Published on October 09, 2017
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