J&K Bank seeks to tap 'accelerated growth phase' in Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Bank aims to tap the benefits of the phase of accelerated growth driven by various measures taken by the Union Territory administration, especially in infrastructure, agriculture and tourism sectors, a top bank official said.

"We see a new phase of accelerated growth unleashing in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in infrastructure, agriculture, agro-based industry and tourism sectors. Being a major player with around 65 percent market share here, we see J&K Bank as a major beneficiary of this imminent growth dynamic," MD and CEO of the Bank BaldevPrakash told PTI.

Prakash listed various steps initiated in the Union Territory as the key enablers for the growth, including the industrial economic package backed by an industry-conducive policy, digitisation of land records, creation of land banks, and government's keen focus on attracting investments into the region by increasing the ease-of-doing business amid improving law and order environment.

"Also, with the roll-out of UT government's recent industrial policy package of over Rs 28,000 crore and reported investment proposals of above Rs 50,000 crorematerialising in the region, we feel very well-placed to leverage and capitalise on the evolving opportunities both on the lending front as well as savings accruing from the employment generation and overarching economic development," he added.

At the national level, Prakash said the country's economic recovery, as per the RBI, is showing signs of broadening despite having to deal with the geopolitical implications of Russia-Ukraine conflict, besides challenges of high inflation and widening trade deficit.

"With the country's hugely improving ties with developed economies of the world vis-a-vis other Asian powers, we see the growth opportunities for India getting brighter as it continues to emerge as a preferred alternate destination for investment and outsourcing in its neighborhood. In the short to medium term, such an attractive investment climate with enhanced Foreign Institutional Investment (FII) inflow will surely spur faster growth in the country's economy," he said.

However, for smaller banks like J&K Bank with a limited presence in rest of India and a very small share in the business, the impact of macro-economic factors is relatively minimum, he said, adding, "In rest of the country, we have to look for our share in business pie and take it".

On improving the efficiency and productivity, he said, the bank plans to outsource most of the micro and para-banking services like utility bill collection, remittances and small payments to business correspondents.

"This will not only reduce the burden of Bank but ensure the viability of all the business correspondents while taking the services closer to the doorsteps of our customers especially in rural and semi-urban areas," he added.

Besides, to augment retail lending, the bank is engaging direct selling agents while exploring tie-ups with fintech players to bring innovative technologies in its business processes like customer on-boarding, retail lending, credit underwriting.

"The aim is to improve customer experience, make our business processes efficient, besides achieving better risk mitigation," he said.

"In short to mid-term, we also plan to automate all our resource-intensive operations at the back-end through a comprehensive business process re-engineering which is an important element in our business transformation project to achieve over 90 per cent of our transaction on digital platforms. The front-end resource base shall be entirely trained and deployed for sales and marketing purposes," he said.

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