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MUMBAI : India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) will undertake an exercise to transform the bank by accelerating its digital agenda, including expanding the scope and reach of the Yono app and using advanced analytics, chairman Dinesh Khara told shareholders in the lender’s 2021-22 annual report. 

“Your Bank will thus continue to accelerate its digital agenda both in front and back offices. In business operations, your bank will leverage advanced analytics for deeper insights on internal data and its best possible usage," said Khara. 

He added that the bank will explore mutually beneficial partnerships with fintechs and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to increase penetration and reach of the lender. As of March, SBI had 22,266 branches, over 68,000 business correspondents and over 65,000 automated teller machines (ATMs), including 12,872 automated deposit and withdrawal machines. 

Mint reported in March that SBI is planning a separate digital entity and will revamp its current mobile application, rechristening it ‘Only Yono‘, as part of its decision to be future-ready. SBI is looking to implement the revamp in 12-18 months, including migrating existing Yono customers to Only Yono. 

The annual report pointed out that as on 31 March, Yono has seen 111.74 million downloads, opened 26,000 new digital savings bank accounts per day and has 48.35 million registered users. During the year, SBI said it opened 9.9 million new savings bank accounts. 

“The future of banking is in the realm of technology," said Khara. 

He said that the bank is comfortably placed in terms of growth capital in the current year. The bank, Khara said, will explore lending to promising sectors such as those identified under the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme and to renewables as well as electric mobility to diversify the portfolio. 

SBI’s capital adequacy ratio at the end of March stood at 13.83%, an improvement of 9 basis points (bps) over the previous year. 

“Summing up, despite the economic headwinds, your bank has adapted well to the challenges posed by the operating environment. I am more than hopeful that the performance achieved in FY22 will show further improvement in FY23," he said. 

Khara said that with a presence at 227 locations in 30 countries, SBI remains a frontrunner in international banking among Indian banks. During FY22, SBI continued rationalizing its overseas operations, closing its overseas subsidiary SBI Botswana Ltd, and merged the Ilford branch of SBI UK Ltd with its East Ham branch. 

“A panoramic view of the bank’s financial performance over the last few years, shows discernible improvement in all parameters. Thus, despite the challenges posed by the operating environment, your bank today has better loss-absorbing capability," he said.

Khara said that on a whole FY22 has been a much better year compared to FY2021 and with the pace of economic activity picking up, the momentum is expected to continue. 

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