Finance Minister unveils 4th edition of Public Sector Bank Reforms Agenda – EASE 4.0

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Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman today unveiled the fourth edition of the Public Sector Bank (PSB) Reforms Agenda ‘EASE 4.0’ for 2021-22 – tech-enabled, simplified, and collaborative banking. She unveiled the annual report for the PSB Reforms Agenda EASE 3.0 for 2020-21 and participated in the awards ceremony to felicitate best performing banks on EASE 3.0 Banking Reforms Index.

Shri Pankaj Jain, Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Shri Amit Agrawal, Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services & Chairman IBA, Shri Rajkiran Rai G., were also present at the event.

SBI, BoB Union Bank of India win  top honous.

State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India have won the awards for best performing banks for PSB Reforms EASE 3.0 based on the EASE index.

Indian Bank won the award for the best improvement from the baseline performance. SBI, BoB, Union Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Canara Bank won the top awards in different themes of the PSB Reforms Agenda EASE 3.0.

Details of EASE 3.0 Awards can be accessed here

Public Sector Banks have reported healthy profits and have accelerated on technology-driven reforms. These banks have reported a profit of Rs. 31,817 crore in FY21 as compared to a loss of Rs. 26,016 crore in FY20. This is the first year when PSBs have reported profit after five years of losses. Total gross non-performing assets stood at Rs. 6.16 lakh crore as of March 2021 –  a reduction of Rs. 62,000 crore from March 2020 levels.

Digital lending  

  • Credit@click was a flagship initiative under EASE 3.0. Nearly 4.4 lakh customers have been benefitted through such instantaneous and simplified credit access.
  • PSBs have setup mechanism for customers where they can register loan requests 24X7 through digital channels such as Mobile and Internet banking, SMS, missed call and call centre. In FY21, PSBs have collectively disbursed Rs. 40,819 crore of fresh personal, home and vehicle loans through leads sourced from such digital channels.
  • The top 7 PSBs have built analytics capabilities through the setup of dedicated analytics teams and IT infrastructure to proactively offer loans to its existing customers. Such loan offers were generated using the existing customer transactions data within the banks. In FY21, Rs.  49,777 crore of fresh retail loan disbursements were made by the top 7 PSBs based on these credit offers.
  • PSBs have also extensively used external partnerships and dedicated marketing salesforce network for the sourcing of retail segment and MSME segment loans. Sourcing from such channels has been 9.1 lakh loans in FY21.


Mobile/Internet banking and customer service

  • Nearly 72% of financial transactions happening at PSBs is now happening through digital channels. PSBs are now offering services across call centres, Internet banking, and Mobile banking in 14 regional languages such as Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Gujarati, Bengali, Odia, Kashmiri, Konkani, Hindi, Punjabi, Assamese for the ease of customers.
  • For continual improvement in coverage under financial inclusion initiatives, there was a 13% growth in transactions provided by Bank Mitras in rural areas and 50% growth in enrolments in Micro personal accident insurance in Q4FY21 compared to Q4FY20.

PSBs have recorded a phenomenal growth in their performance over four quarters since the launch of EASE 3.0 Reforms Agenda. The overall score of PSBs increased by 35% between March-2020 and March-2021, with the average EASE index score improving from 44.2 to 59.7 out of 100. Significant progress is seen across six themes of the Reforms Agenda, with the highest improvement seen in the themes of ‘Smart Lending’ and ‘Institutionalising Prudent Banking’.

The next edition of EASE reforms i.e. EASE 4.0 aims to further the agenda of customer-centric digital transformation and deeply embed digital and data into PSBs’ ways of working.

Under EASE 4.0, PSBs would offer:

PSBs have stepped up to support the country during COVID-19 : FM

Finance Minister complimented Public sector banks for continuing to provide uninterrupted service and credit delivery to its customers, despite the Covid pandemic. They have also been at the forefront of extending banking services in the remotest parts of the country, she added.

From different modes of staffing to remote working, 80,000+ bank branches were operational during COVID-19. Additionally, there has been around two times increase in Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) transactions through micro ATMs, and enhanced doorstep banking support by 75,000+ Bank Mitras.