Corporation Bank employees criticise top brass in the open
Moneylife Digital Team 10 February 2011

The bashing of the top management is actually happening in the bank’s in-house publication. So what is brewing in the organisation?

Field staff going against the top brass is something which every organisation witnesses from time-to-time. But when the bashing happens in the in-house publication itself, it hints at something truly serious.

The front page editorial of the current issue of "Officers Voice", the monthly journal of the Corporation Bank Officers' Organisation (CBOO), reflects the mistrust that the field level employees have for the top management.

The employees have blamed the top brass for formulating faulty policies that have not only inconvenienced the staff, but also led to the erosion of the customer base in several areas.

Is it just another case of boss-bashing? Corporation Bank is not doing too badly. In 2008, Corporation Bank made a profit of Rs735 crore with an increase of 37.1% over last year. In 2010, the bank made a profit of Rs1,170 crore-a rise of 31.1%. It is estimated that 2011 will show a profit of Rs1,386 crore, which will mark an 18.4% increase. For the next fiscal, the estimated profit-according to the bank's report- will be Rs1,427 crore, which will mark only a 3% increase over the present year.

Will this be sustainable?

The article says, "Of late it is felt that the top management is seldom bothered about the problems at (the) field level; whether it is providing (the) required manpower at the branches or changing business policy decisions."

The item provides several examples of bad decisions: Despite the opposition from the CBOO, in 2006, the management introduced verticals and created the post of 'field general managers' without specifying their responsibilities. Soon after, the decisions were reversed with the change in management, making the exercise futile.

The new 2008 leadership increased the minimum balance amount and extended the minimum period for savings accounts called 'Corpclassic Accounts'. The move was aimed at boosting the bank's portfolio.

However, the CBOO had already pointed out that other banks were offering better options in that area, but the management did otherwise.

"The result was a large number of customer complaints leading to closure of several accounts," says the editorial. By the time the decision was reviewed, the damage was done.

Then, interest rates on senior citizens' deposits were suddenly reduced to a rate lower than what the competitor banks were providing. "The operational staff found it difficult to convince customers. This sudden reduction made senior citizens switch over to other banks and a number of branches lost their depositors as well as sizable deposits."

Again, the reversal came too late.

The recent debacle was the decision to withdraw the automobiles provided to a number of branch heads. It was argued that while expenses were increasing, there was no growth in business, so those managers who had failed to achieve eight out of 12 parameters would be deprived of the service.

The management, however, got more cars at their disposal. As expected, this resulted in a rift between branch heads and the top management. The article says, "Never was the achievement of business parameters a precondition for such a facility nor it was informed to them while extending it. If performance is the criteria, the withdrawal should have begun from the top as they are also equally responsible for the performance."

The rift, the CBOO points out, will take a long time to mend.

Even today, the employees allege, the management refuses to discuss issues affecting business at the field level and review its decisions. New branches are opened everyday with staff deputed from nearby branches on the opening day and later reverted back... and the branch manager is left to deal with the business by himself.

Technological upgradation has not happened either, despite repeated appeals.

"All the above instances lead to one question: whether the top management does not think about the consequences of its decisions", asks the editorial. While the answer is anybody's guess, it can be safely assumed that this polarisation is going to come at a price.

1 decade ago
Refreshing to see employees criticise their management constructively in public. I see a great future for such an organisation, if the management listens to useful criticism and responds positively rather than concentrate on how to punish the critics. The latter would be a typical loser's mentality, much in evidence in our public life.
1 decade ago
Going on opening branches, without providing required staff, taking unilateral decisions pertaining to customers and staff without consulting them or getting a feedback from them, turning a blind eye to the repercussions thereof, on the bank and its business, does not augur well for any bank. We are proud our banks withstood the tsunami of sub-prime mortgages, which swept the banks worldwide. By putting all pressure on the staff, far beyond their human capacities, and endurance, are we inviting a new tsunami for our Public sector Banks? How can the banks prevent mistakes happening, and frauds taking place, when the staff are hardly able to complete the routine. Better we wake up before it is too late!
Nagesh KiniFCA
1 decade ago
Pray what are the nominated Officer and Workmen Directors on the Board doing? Why did they not speak up? Re. taking away the cars for not meeting with performance criteria is justified. It should apply at the head office level too.
I write this post because of my attachment to Corporation, because my forefathers were amongst its founders and I continue to hold shares and naturally want to see it grow.
TR Bhat
Replied to Nagesh KiniFCA comment 1 decade ago
Dear Mr Kini,
As an ex employee I learn that the officer director has been raising his voice of dissent and some are recorded in the minutes. But often the minutes do not record the reasons for dissent. What is the role of govt and RBI directors?
T R Bhat
Free Helpline
Legal Credit