Back in 1988, when Repco Bank began its operations, they thought that
standalone PCs are enough to fulfill their requirements, since banking anyway is
a very paper driven industry. Ask R Rajagopal, GM, IT, Repco Bank about the
present role of IT, and the answers are far from the earlier preconceptions.
Not only is IT essential for any organization to work smoothly; Rajagopal
also thinks that for the banking industry, IT is no less than a necessary
commodity. He holds the view that IT as a component plays a huge role in the
BFSI segment, and without automation, any company in this segment cannot hope
for any progress.
Despite these beliefs, which other CIOs in the banking industry agree with,
the adoption of IT in banking has been a slow and painful phenomenon. But, well,
it is finally happening in full throttle, and Repco Bank is another example in
the banking-IT honeymoon chapter.
Rajagopal, GM, Repco Bank
In banking, budget
The Journey So Far
What started with a few isolated boxes of CPUs and monitors has now evolved
to assume the face of a complex IT infrastructure. As operations and branches
grew, so did IT, more out of operational needs than as a bid to increase
The latter, it seems, came as a by-product for Rajagopal. The first step
towards automation and connecting various locations came with the implementation
of LAN which made co-ordination and daily reports look like easy tasks. After
that, there were a host of IT initiatives in the organization and these varied
from putting a RDBMS solution in place to buying DotNet scale servers for the
According to Rajagopal, Repco Bank achieved a critical milestone with respect
to IT infrastructure when it implemented a core banking solution across all its
sixty branches spread all over southern India. This solution was developed and
implemented totally with home expertise, something that Rajagopal is very proud
He happens to be a firm believer of home-grown solutions and says that
outsourcing is an option only when absolutely necessary. Rajagopal is also one
of those lucky CIOs who have never faced skill set or budget challenges. "In
banking, budget should not be a problem with many CIOs. You cannot work in the
financial environment unless you are not ready to spend," he says.
Loaning IT Out
Recently, Repco Bank introduced a Loan Origination Scheme. The project is
fully automated, and aimed at making the loan process simpler for individuals as
well as organizations. Rajagopal says that by fully automated, he means that
there is no physical movement of the loan file involved. It is all digitized and
This project has not only drastically cut down the paper consumption in the
company, but has also helped increase transparency to a great extent.
The other project that is keeping Rajagopal busy these days is the enterprise
mobility plans. Under this project, every field employee is been given a
hand-held device with GPRS connectivity. Rajagopal says that they are trying
their best to leverage the mobile for better efficiency.
Talk to Rajagopal about his major challenges and he is still more of a techie
than an executive. Application performance and connectivity failure are things
that occupy his mind more than budgets and skill-sets!