Constricted by pandemic, BMC bank smiles with profit, plans major digital transformation

S A H Rizvi

Constricted by the grave pandemic that had hit the country, Bombay Mercantile Bank registered a profit in the financial year 2020-2021 that was announced in its Annual Report while promising a total digital transformation in the coming year.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Bank held in Mumbai on Friday, Bank Chairman Zeeshan Mehdi told the shareholders his target of profit was much higher but of the pandemic that had paralyzed the economy during the lockdown.

Mr. Mehdi also gave the demo of the new mobile app that the Bank plans to launch in the coming month as part of its digital transformation.

The chairman told the shareholder the year in review was unprecedented not only for India but for the world on account of Covid 19 pandemic. The signage of the crisis manifested itself in February and then the Indian government imposed a nationwide lockdown in March 202, he added.

“It was sudden and stringent”  Mr. Mehdi said  and added something that worked to contain the spread of the pandemic in India “The government rightly put lives before livelihoods and the result was evident in the contained numbers in India during the lockdown.”

He said despite this unprecedented pandemic and the views of impending recession, the economy seems to have absorbed the shock initially, reflecting the timely intervention by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India.

“I am happy to say that despite the multiple challenges, the Bank did not gasp for life but looked for fresh air and new windows” Mr. Mehdi point out . During the year in review the bank has undertaken several initiatives to undergo a complete structural, operational and digital transformation in the ensuing year.

Spelling out the Bank roadmap, the Chairman said “Our commitment to motto of excellence in performance in all areas, living to the ideals with which the bank was started and delivering the best of service to its customers remained our lamp post.”

The Bank continued to expand its horizon, strengthening in human capital, opening new platform and digitization drive to create more touch points for our customer. “A complete digital transformation is on the anvil which the Bank was first to predict by holding the Digital summit in 2016.  Our mission has come true.”

The Chairman said “Braving these grim situation, I am happy to announce that for the bank has registered a profit of Rs 3.78 crores.  Let me honestly confess my target was much higher that I had committed myself but as they say Man Proposes but Allah disposes.”

Mr Mehdi said his vision is clear and determination in place that in the coming years the Bank will surely stand tall redefining new business modules, new verticals and with a motto banking with a smile.  This will only be possible with the support of all my stakeholders and the employees of the Bank.

“I am pleased to inform you that during the year the bank has been allotted its own IFSC code by the RBI, with all branches using exclusive IFSC codes. The bank is now a direct member of IFTAS and has been given permission to use INFINET connectivity to provide a variety of services to our customers and our treasury department. These services are, RTGS, NEFT, SGL Account with RBI, NDS-OM, NDS-Call, SWAP, LAF and MSF etc. Earlier we are not having such facilities.”

He also paid tribute to valiant and committed staff members whom lost their lives during the Covid infection.
The Chairman said the overreaching goal of our transformation plan is to ensure sustainable growth, coupled with sustained value creation for all stakeholders. Inclusive banking remains the key strategic priority of this journey.

CEO Shah Alam Khan said the bank could stave off the financial crisis due to its strong fundamentals and deft planning. He also appreciated the Chairman for his strong leadership and guidance that helped clear the vision in such a difficult time.

Formed in 1939, the Bombay Mercantile Bank is among the oldest cooperative bank in the country and is credited to have brought small and petty traders, taxi drivers and vendors on the map of banking industry. With a start up capital of just Rs 10,500, the Bank flourished with its basic ideals to help the poor and needy and the Bank today has 52 branches spread in ten states across the country.

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