SBI, PNB on efficiency drive shut down zonal offices
By Joseph Samson
Dec 26, 2007
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Mumbai: Indian banking giants, in an effort to become lean and efficient have decided to do away with their zonal offices. State Bank of India (SBI) has decided to close nearly 58 zonal offices, while Punjab National Bank (PNB) will shut down its 26 zonal offices.

A delay in reporting and duplicity of roles between regional and zonal offices was cited as one of the reasons for this step. This will reduce the turnaround times for two of India's largest banks as a layer of reporting will be eliminated. Both SBI and PNB will have a large number of people to relocate as a result of this closure.

SBI employs around 6,000 officials in its 58 zonal offices while PNB has around 2,000 officials placed in its 26 such offices. Some of these employees will be relocated to the head office but a great majority will be absorbed in the sales and marketing force.

This decision to close the zonal offices was a part of the business process re-engineering (BPR) initiatives and implementation of core banking activities across the network. Under present scenario the banks had a regional office, which reported to the zonal office. BPR initiative has lead to a restructuring of the work in these banks and now the branches will deal with marketing and servicing customers while documentation will be done at the back-office. All the top 100 centers and around 2,400 branches of SBI are implementing the BPR initiative.

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