The mid-eighties marked the beginning of the shift to a buyers` market. The Bank orchestrated its business strategies around the centrality of the customer. It diversified into areas of merchant banking, housing finance, credit cards and mutual funds. A string of segment specific branches entrenched operations in the profitable markets. Overseas operations were revamped and structural changes intensified in the territories to cater to second generation NRIs. Slowly but surely, the move to become a one stop financial supermarket had been set in motion. Service delivery standards were stipulated.
Technology was adopted to add punch. Employees across the board were inculcated with the marketing concept. Aggressive marketing became the new business philosophy.
Bank of Baroda has always had an immense faith in the infinite potential of its people. This has been historically demonstrated in its recruitment practices, developmental initiatives, placement processes and promotion policies. Strategic HR interventions like, according cross border and cross cultural work exposure to its managers, hiring diverse functional specialists to support line functionaries and complementing the technical competencies of its people by imparting conceptual, managerial and leadership skills, gave the Bank competitive advantage. The elaborate man management policies also made the Bank a breeding ground for business leaders. The Bank provided around a dozen CEOs to the industry- men who went on to build other great institutions. People initiatives were blended with IR initiatives to create an effectively harmonious workplace, where everyone prospered.
New norms for capital adequacy required new capital management strategies. In 1995 the Bank raised Rs 300 crores through a Bond issue. In 1996 the Bank tapped the capital market with an IPO of Rs 850 crores. Despite adverse market conditions prevailing then, the issue was over subscribed, reflecting the positive public perception of the Bank's fundamental financial strength.
Bank of Baroda pioneered the shift from manual operating systems to a computerized work environment. Starting with ledgers, to ledger posting machines, through ALPMs, the Bank graduated to the use of Unix based systems to Mainframes, to client server based Total Branch Mechanization Systems. Today, the Bank has 1918 computerized branches, covering 70% of its network and 91.64% of its business. Alive to the growing complexities of an intensely competitive marketplace and the mounting expectations of customers fuelled by this competition, the Bank reworked its distribution strategy. It ventured beyond the brick and mortar delivery channel into ATMs and the OmniBOB range of anytime, anywhere electronic channels of PC banking, telephone banking. The e-banking products used state of the art technologies like digital certificates, smart card authentication and secure networking.
The new IT strategy, in the process of implementation will see the deployment of Core Banking Systems, Multi Service Transaction Switch, Payment Gateways - all geared to deliver convenience banking.
In its relentless striving for quality perfection, the Bank secured the ISO 9001:2000 certification for 15 branches. By end of the current financial, the Bank is targeting 54 more branches for this quality certification.
Revolutionary and discontinuous changes in the operating environment are a stark reminder that business success is 'impermanent'. The emergence of IT as a major driver for change, has accentuated the need to initiate a major transformation program. The conversion to an IT savvy, market driven bank will be a prerequisite to survival and growth. A major and strategic step in hi-tech, was the establishment of the Integrated Treasury branch, as a forerunner to full-fledged global treasury operations. Towards creating a future Bank of Baroda, the Bank has adopted a revolutionary new business strategy that will be enabled by a revolutionary new IT strategy. Actioning this strategy will position Bank of Baroda as India's uncontested premier bank.
At Bank of Baroda, change is a journey. It has a beginning. There will be no end. It will be a long and difficult march. And the Bank will emerge stronger, more resilient and positioned to become India's first bank of truly global standards. The relocation to the imposing Baroda Corporate Centre, is a true reflection of the Bank's resolve to move ahead of the times. It will not be out of place now, as it stands on the threshold of a digital era, to echo the same sentiments that guided the Bank in its platinum jubilee year - 'a promising future is the sequel to a glorious past'.