Submit :
News                      Photos                     Just In                     Debate Topic                     Latest News                    Articles                    Local News                    Blog Posts                     Pictures                    Reviews                    Recipes                    
The foundation of SBI's losses: Honesty does not pay!
I was posted at State Bank of India's (SBI) Ernakulam South Branch in Kerala. It was the month of March, the time for the annual closing mela.

I was entrusted with the task of preparing the Health Code Returns. All loan accounts were to be classified under four Health Codes, 1, 2, 3 and 4. HC 1 meant good accounts, HC 2 meant temporarily defaulting accounts, HC 3 meant accounts under Nursing Schemes and HC 4 meant chronic bad loans.

Accounts classified under HC 4 would not accrue interest and further a provision of 30 per cent of the outstanding had to be made. It was a double whammy for the banks - no income and provisions for loss.

The bank had issued a 20+ pages circular as to how the accounts should be classified and with an instruction that bad loans should not be classified either under HC 1 or HC 2.

Accordingly, I prepared the statement, which was very cumbersome, and completed it. The branch unfortunately was chosen for audit that year. My branch manager, one Mr Cherian, asked me whether the statements were ready and I confirmed the same to him.

The auditor and his team came over. On going through the Health Code statements, he rushed to the manager's cabin and had a lengthy discussion. He also called the regional manager, Mr VV Kumar (he also played cricket for the country as a googly bowler). I was called in. The discussion went on these lines.

"You have classified 101 accounts out of 108 under HC4...don't you know that RM had instructed on telephone that no accounts should be classified under HC4."

"Sir, you never told me about it...further the bank has given very clear instructions in writing that such deliberate mis-classification should not be done. If RM gives his instructions which are contrary to the circular instructions then we will see."

"Will you do it if he gives it in writing?"

"No Sir. I will give it in writing that I cannot do it as it is contrary to Head Office Circular Instructions".

I left his cabin.

The auditor and his team walked out of the branch with all the statements and spare forms.

Two or three days later, I got a copy of the HC statements - redone by the auditor and his team. Only two accounts were in HC4.

The regional manager, Mr VV Kumar came down to the branch. He called me to branch manager's cabin. "When every branch has done what I wanted what is your problem".

"Sir, I do not want to be a party to giving false information. If we extrapolate this branch data to the number of branches we have right now, we are at a loss of over Rs 5000 crore...if we consider big branches and high value credits then may be even Rs 10,000 crore...whom are we cheating...ourselves...the government ... or the public?

"Do you think me, DGM, CGM are all dishonest and only you are honest".

"I don't know about others Sir, but I know that I am honest and I work as per bank's instructions and not on an individual's instructions".

To cut the story short:

My transfer to Bangalore was cancelled.

My service file was destroyed.

I was transferred to Fort Cochin Branch.

I had to fight for my promotions every time, but succeeded only once.

Finally in disgust, I resigned in 1999.

PS: Even this Rs 2600+ loss for the previous quarter, I am sure, is a camouflage of a much bigger loss.

And who are the major shareholders: 1) Reserve Bank of India and 2) Government of India.

To whom does one report about this to?

The foundation for today's losses was laid way back in 1989 and kept growing bigger with each passing year, with layers and layers of hidden truth nobody wants to peel and unravel.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
Email Id
Verification Code
Email me on reply to my comment
Email me when other CJs comment on this article
Sign in to set your preference
merinews for RTI activists

Not finding what you are looking for? Search here.