Umbrella Organization for UCBs commences in Gujarat

“There is an urgent need to introduce professionalism in the urban cooperative banking sector if we wish to stand against the increasing competition, and it is thus imperative to have a proper and professional Board of Directors to manage our cooperative units and scale up our operations, said N Vishwanathan, Deputy Governor RBI in Ahmadabad while addressing ‘Sahakar SETU 2018’.

Convened to explore the role of UCBs in the unfolding banking landscape and to lay out a road map for Umbrella Organization and other related matters concerning UCBs, Sahakar Setu 2018 is a two-day conference where hundreds of cooperators are participating.

“There is need to win back the confidence of depositors as we look to grow together. Giving depositors the assurance that their money is safe with the bank and will remain so in all circumstances including crisis, should be our top priority. As we adopt new technology, skills must also be upgraded to deal with not only operations but also challenges posed by problems of cyber-crime that comes along with it.” said Mr N. Vishwanathan.

“Gujarat is special because it has been taking a lead in the reforms of urban-cooperative banking sector and showing the way ahead, especially after the Madhavpura Bank failure incident after which the market share decreased substantially for UCBs” added Mr Vishwanathan while talking about bringing back the market share and the future of UCBs.

Mr N. Vishwanathan further added that RBI will be more than happy to help the UCB sector in forming the umbrella.

More than 600 representatives of 200+ UCBs are attending the summit witnessed edifying speeches, riveting panel discussions and seminars that explored the themes of ‘Strengthening UCBs’ and ‘Let’s Grow Together under One Umbrella’.

Edifying panel discussions on topics like ‘National Umbrella’, ‘Core Banking Solution and Banking Technology – Way ahead’ and ‘Relevance and Role of UCBs in the Unfolding Banking landscape’ were organized on the occasion with notable personalities like Shri V S Das (Former ED, RBI), Shri D N Thakur (Dy. MD, NCDC), Shri Amit Gupta (IFTAS, Hyderabad), Shri Vinodbhai Shah (GSCB), P K Arora (Ex CGM, RBI), Shri Vinod Dadlani (CEO, KCCB), and Shri J V Shah (CEO, GUJFED) among other renowned speakers on different panels.

Gujarat is the first state to have an Umbrella Organization under the aegis of the state federation. The Umbrella Organization will provide shelter and strengthen cooperative solidarity. As a self-regulatory organization, it will help to facilitate raising capital by banks, more effective regulation, fostering of cooperative spirit, and greater public welfare.

Elaborating on the Umbrella Organization, Shri Jyotindra M. Mehta, Chairman Gujarat Urban Co-operative Banks Federation, stated, “The organization is structured with the aim to bring urban co-operative banks in India under one roof while helping them resolve issues and providing them institutional technological facilities. The Umbrella Organization will focus on capacity building and product distribution. Also, the membership will be voluntary.”

Speaking about the upper hand UCBs have, he added, “In India, Public Sector Banks (PSUs) have an NPA of 12% whereas for National UCBs it is 6% and talking of UCBs in Gujarat, the NPA is lesser than 4%. Moreover, as compared to PSUs, the customer charges are lesser when it comes to UCBs and they also provide advances to micro and mini SMEs, which PSUs don’t”.

With over 99 lakh depositors putting faith in 220 UCBs in Gujarat and depositing over 50 thousand crores in these units, UCBs have been contributing in a big way towards the economic development of Gujarat. The GUCBF’s paid up share capital stands at 1397 crores and the working capital at over 61 thousand crores while the total reserves are above 6 thousand crores for financial year 2017-18.

Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Vijaybhai Rupani will be the Guest of Honour on Day 2 along with Shri Nitinbhai Patel, Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat. Also present on the occasion will be dignitaries like Shri Ajaybhai Patel (Chairman GSCB Ltd), Shri Purushottam Rupala (MOS – Agriculture, GOI), Shri Nalin Upadhyay (IAS, Registrar of Co. Op. Societies among others.

Recognizing the achievements of the year, awards will be presented by Shri Ishwarsinh Patel, Cooperation Minister Gujarat. During an award felicitation ceremony that acknowledged the achievements of UCBs, witnessed the distinguished presence of Shri Ghanshyam Amin (Chairman, Gujarat State Co. Op. Union).

Sahakar SETU was initiated in 2010 by GUCBF with the aim to educate, guide and encourage members of UCBs. This year, the summit focused on providing a holistic understanding of the latest developments, strategic alliances, consolidation of sector, and technology upgradation along with functioning of Umbrella Organization and recognition of various achievements of urban co-operative banks (UCBs). While the idea of founding such an organization was laid way back in 2009, according to the latest developments, the RBI has permitted only non-fund based umbrellas at state level.

A press note on GUCBF reads “The Gujarat Urban Co-operative Banks Federation, guided by co-operative principles, values and regulation has been striving to play a catalytic role to transform the co-operative banking sector into a financial powerhouse with a strong & vibrant network which should become the preferred choice for customers and significantly contribute to the twin national objectives of financial inclusion and inclusive growth by satisfying the common man’s needs thereby creating a feeling of “Proudly Co-operative”.

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