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Covid-19 impact: PSU Banks incentivise staff as DBT grows

MUMBAI: With increased volume of direct benefit transfers, public sector lenders including State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Bank of India are going the extra mile to incentivise staff, especially in remote branches. These incentives include daily monetary allowance, an additional day’s pay for every six days of work, insurance cover and a cut in the interest rate levied on the loans they have taken.

The country’s largest lender, SBI, has reduced the interest rate on all staff loans (housing, education, vehicle, computer and personal) by 1%. The extra day’s salary will be paid to frontline staff until the nationwide lockdown ends. The bank reimburses expenses incurred by employees on Covid-19 tests. If anyone tested positive, the bank will bear the treatment expenses. In the event of the death of any permanent employee due to Covid-19, a cash compensation of Rs 20 lakh will be paid to the family.

“Taking care of inputs is crucial for output, similarly taking care of staff members is crucial for service delivery,” said Alok Kumar Choudhary, the deputy managing director for human resources and corporate development officer at SBI. The bank has 2.56 lakh employees.

Bank of Baroda has exempted all employees above 55 years of age or with an underlying medical condition from coming to office, irrespective of nature of his or her function. The bank will also reimburse the cost of Covid-19 tests for employees and their family, said Joydeep Dutta Roy, the head of strategic HR and HR integration at Bank of Baroda.

Officials at state-run banks said there was an increase in the volume of direct benefit transfers from the government to the Jan-Dhan accounts of women and farmers’ accounts. This is leading to the need to step up work in rural areas, prompting banks to incentivise staff at rural branches as well as business correspondents — mostly the local kirana stores and other merchants.

“There is an increase in monetary transaction and more people are coming for cash transaction,” Bank of India executive director CG Chaitanya said. SBI has about 60,000 customer service points serviced by business correspondents who are being incentivised so that customers in rural and remote areas get proper service.

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