The Grey Shades of the PSB Branch Manager’s Life

It’s 6 in the morning and the alarm beeps. Oh! It’s too early again; sound Raman. Perhaps the body and mind have still not recovered from the stress Raman had the last day. After completing the chores and gym, driving a long distance of 60 Km one way is a cumbersome task for anyone. You must be wondering who Raman is!
Raman Saraswat is a Branch Manager with a leading public sector bank in India. The branch is located at one of the difficult centres.

The cabin has not been cleaned again, and already customers have lined up outside the branch. It’s 9:30, and Raman is on time looking for other team members to join. The Credit Manager has joined the ship, but all eyes are on the head cashier Murali who is 56 years old and got promoted from a messenger to a good-paying profile.

Having two clerks and managing a branch of 200 crores with around 40 villages to be served can be a daunting task. But, wait, here comes a call, and Murali is ill again and can’t attend the office today. Oh! That’s what Raman was not expecting, at least on Monday after two days off.

Now starts the real show. The time on the clock is 10 AM, and Paytm’s strategic time-out is over. It’s now no longer a decent workplace but rather a battlefield. The warriors having passbooks have just arrived.

“It’s three years since my passbook has not been printed “, shouted one of the warriors (customer), and entered the Branch Manager’s cabin like he had been denied his fundamental rights. The bouncer by this warrior has to be played defensively by Raman; otherwise, he may complain about this using the toll-free number and various other lucrative alternatives available.

The statement of the above warrior is full of UPI transactions and needs at least ten passbooks for updating. The Banking APP suggested by the Bank Staff is not up to the mark of the customer, and only passbook printing can quench the thirst.

Suddenly, Clerical staff clashed with one of the reputed firms having FDs in crores, and now Raman is under stress as he may lose the deposit. He has already ordered tea, expecting the aggrieved firm to be inside his chamber soon. By the time the firm owner enters the cabin, the call from the Regional Office has set wrinkles on Raman’s face. It was a call from the Regional Manager asking him to book a minimum of Rs. 2 lac Life Insurance Policy, 1 Mutual Fund of Rs. 5 lac, and 2 Personal Accidental Insurance Policies through the Banking App of the Bank.

Just the time Raman started consoling the customer, here comes a call again from one of the senior officials asking him to book at least 100 new PMSBY (Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Beema Yojana) and 50 new PMJJY (Pradhan Mantri Jeewan Jyoti Yojana) in addition to completing the visit to 7 customer service points of the Bank before 4 PM.

It’s already Noon, and while checking emails, the new mail just in is about the down ATM status, and now the ATM located 2 kms away from the branch has to be dealt with, leaving the branch behind.

Why is the HR Manager calling now? , thinks Raman with apprehension that his staff may be deputed for another 15-20 days without any proper planning, and yes, he is correct. The HR Manager has asked Raman to depute his Credit Manager to a nearby branch for the next few unknown days.

It’s 2 PM, and Audit officials are asking the branch manager to submit the compliance about exception reports to avoid TAT guidelines. Raman’s cabin is full of customers who wish to update their KYC and convert their small savings accounts to normal savings accounts, and with the process involving technicalities and slow server response time, this is like conquering Mt. Everest.

The remaining staff has taken lunch on time, but Raman is not feeling hungry as he has a lot of work to be completed. The NPA department from the local head office has now called up Raman advising him to regularise the cash credit limits by the day end, and to your utter surprise, these limits have been running irregularly for many days despite regular notices as these have been sanctioned without collateral under various government schemes, and borrowers have faith in financial safety of India where bankers are only held accountable for bad assets.

The cash has been closed and the only clerical on duty today has to complete the other non-cash transactions such as RTGS, NEFT, Cheque clearing, etc. The branch guard has to console the customers outside the branch as they are ready to file RTI on why the Bank has been closed for them at early 4 PM.

After taking lunch which now can be called high tea, Raman went to the village located 40 km away from the branch for inspection of a recently NPA-turned agriculture account; otherwise, he may be held accountable for the account turning NPA based on no inspection conducted by the credit manager and branch manager. The branch has 900 agriculture loan accounts scattered in 40 villages geographically located at a distance of approximately 50 km, and periodic inspection is expected from the credit manager and branch manager in these accounts.

It’s already 7 in the evening, and Raman has to return home feeling like Bahubali is winning the battle.

The above is just a scenario that depicts the tough mental life of the PSB Branch Manager and the tasks that he is expected to do in a day. The issue is not with the job but with the huge crunch of human resources and its allocation in public sector banks. The responsibility of branch officials is from sourcing a new proposal to its final closure. Even if a loan turns non-performing after five years of sanction, the officer who sanctioned or dealt with it may be held responsible at times when he is serving in some other parts of the country.

The government must look into the human resources crunch in PSBs and the work-life balance of the employees. It is always better to keep a smaller number of branches with adequate staff instead of a high number of branches with low manpower.

The number of different tasks such as marketing, sanctioning, recovery of loans, booking cross-selling business, implementation of social security schemes, operational issues such as account opening, digital onboarding of customers, complaint management, audit, and compliance are all to be dealt with by a single person, i.e. the Branch Manager with whom the ownership lies. The health of the PSBs can only be improved after structural reforms instead of blaming the PSB staff.

“The real problem with PSBs is huge staff crunch and the work-life balance of bankers must be taken care of by the government”

Disclaimer: The above are the personal views of the author. If you wish to submit articles related to various life issues please mail us at: mail@adubay.com

4 thoughts on “The Grey Shades of the PSB Branch Manager’s Life”

  1. Absolutely apt. This clearly shows the pathetic work conditions of PSB employees which they go thru by each passing day.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#
Scroll to Top
0