Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Finance Minister unveils 4th edition of Public Sector Bank Reforms Agenda - EASE 4.0 - Reviews performance of public sector banks - Announces EASE 3.0 award winners

Finance Minister unveils 4th edition of Public Sector Bank Reforms Agenda - EASE 4.0 - Reviews performance of public sector banks - Announces EASE 3.0 award winners
Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman today on 25th August 2021 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.
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.

 EASE 3.0 AWARDS - EASE 3 Awards

.1 Canara Bank

Second runner-up in the Institutionalising Prudent Banking theme

MD & CEO – Mr LV Prabhakar

• Integration of IT-based risk-scoring and categorization system with key internal IT systems such as CBS, loan management system and internal credit rating system

• Accelerated recovery on e-auctioning platforms with 100% of assets eligible for recovery listed on such platforms as of Mar'21


1.2 Punjab National Bank

Runners-up in two theme-wise awards –

o Governance & Outcome centric HR;

o Institutionalizing Prudent Banking

Second runner-up in the best improvement category

o 42% improvement over baseline

MD & CEO – Mr CH.S.S. Mallikarjuna Rao

• 100% coverage of loans, including retail and small ticket MSME customers in EWS

• 95% officers in key business impacting roles with very high measurability levels

• Robust Succession planning for the key roles and IDP creation for potential successors


1.3 Indian Bank

Winner in the best improvement category

o 56% improvement over baseline

MD & CEO – Smt. Padmaja Chunduru

• Completed setup of capabilities across people, processes and systems to drive end-to-end digitization of retail and MSME loans, such as tie-ups with fintechs covering 8 key use-cases

• Rolled-out analytics-based models for customer-need driven proactive credit offers

• Instituted key collections capabilities such as dedicated collections officers and tie-ups with call centers to drive focused efforts


               Activated all five digital channels during the year for origination of loan requests from retail and MSME customers

1.4 Union Bank of India

Winner in theme-wise awards

o Governance & outcome-centric HR

o Deepening Financial inclusion & customer protection

Second runner-up in theme-wise awards

o Smart lending

o tech-enabled ease of banking themes

First runner-up in best improvement category

o 47% improvement over the baseline

Second runner-up for the EASE Reforms Index Award 2021

MD & CEO – Mr. Rajkiran Rai G.

• Implemented a scientific and digitalised Performance Management System with high APAR measurability levels for more than 95% of Bank officers

• Set up of IT-based HR Deployment Decision Support System with best in class features and functionalities for postings and transfers

• Best bank on EASE cyber-security maturity framework

• First Public sector bank to implement end-to-end digitalisation of MSME credit limit renewals with approximately 3,000 crore of MSME loans processed in a straight through manner in FY’21

• >70% long-term agri loans processed via loan management system


1.5 Bank of Baroda

Winner in theme-wise awards

 o Smart Lending,

o Institutionalizing Prudent Banking themes

First Runner up in theme-wise awards o Tech-enabled ease of banking

Second runner-up

o Deepening Financial Inclusion and Customer Protection

First runner-up for the EASE Reforms Index Award 2021

MD & CEO - Mr. Sanjiv Chadha

• End-to-end digitalization of credit delivery to retail customers with more than 1,20,000 personal loans sanctioned instantaneously in H2 FY’21

              End-to-end digitalization of credit delivery to MSME customers with more than 1,15,000 Shishu Mudra loans sanctioned in less than 3 days in H2 FY’21

• 60% loans sanctioned using analytics on existing customer data, partnerships and dedicated marketing officers

• More than 95% loans covered through EWS

• Best-in-class adoption of digital channels with approximately 80% financial transactions undertaken through such channels

• Best-in-class enrolment rate for PM Schemes for life insurance and personal accident insurance

1.6 State Bank of India

Winner in theme-wise awards

o Tech-enabled Ease of banking

First runner-up

o Smart Lending

o Deepening Financial Inclusion and Customer Protection themes

• Second runner-up

o Governance and Outcome-centric HR

Overall winner of the EASE Reforms Index Award 2021

Chairman - Mr. Dinesh K Khara

• At-scale end-to-end digitization of retail credit with more than 24,000 crore of personal loans sanctioned instantaneously, leveraging partnerships with FinTech players

• More than 34,000 crores of retail loans originated through digital channels such as SMS, missed call, call center, mobile banking and internet banking platforms

• Pioneered centralized tracking of waiting time and transaction time covering more than 65% transaction-intensive metro and urban branches for improved customer experience

• Best-in-class service offerings on mobile app, with highest adoption rate across credit and non-credit products

• Instituted design of specialized career paths covering approximately 75,000 employees of the Bank under Job Family initiative

• Implemented a scientific and digitalised Performance Management System with more than 85% of APAR scores getting auto populated from Bank's IT systems

• More than 6.5 crore eligible customers enrolled under micro life insurance and micro personal accident insurance schemes

 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’.

What is EASE 4.0? EASE 4.0 – Tech-enabled, simplified, and collaborative 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.

EASE 4.0 is a common reform agenda for Public Sector Banks (PSBs) aimed at institutionalizing clean and smart banking.

Key Features of EASE 4.0

- Data enabled agricultural credit : Dial a loan for Agri loans
- Collaboration amongst financial ecosystem players: Digital Payment in semi-urban & rural area
- Accelerated push of technology, HR and governance reforms

- Smart Lending: Credit@click ; Dial-a-loan


EASE has become the cornerstone of reforms in PSBs. The institution of the comprehensive index has catalysed accelerated implementation of several initiatives and has injected greater customer centricity in PSBs’ business model and processes. PSBs have fundamentally re-oriented their ways of working to align with EASE methodology and have made concerted efforts to deep-root reforms and maximise the value derived from them.

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. Two new themes have been introduced to deliver on these objectives.

New    Age     24x7 banking          with resilient technology has been introduced to ensure           uninterrupted availability     of banking services by     ensuring        24X7 availability       of select        banking channels, improving the       reliability of   technology platforms, and aligning   internal processes     in       the PSBs to deliver such services.


Collaborative banking for synergistic outcomes aims to maximise synergies through collaboration between PSBs and with broader financial services ecosystem such as NBFCs for the coordinated handling of co-originated loans.

In addition to the above new themes, several other new reforms will be added to existing themes such as increased use of digital and data for Agri financing through partnerships with third parties for alternate data exchange, driving impetus on digital payments in semi-urban and rural areas, at-scale adoption of doorstep banking services for PSB customers, etc.

With the amalgamation of 13 PSBs into 5 PSBs now successfully complete, EASE 4.0 sets the agenda and roadmap to transform all PSBs into digital-attacker banks working hand-in-hand with key constituents of the financial services ecosystem to offer industry-best customer experience.

RECAP OF EASE REFORMS: EASE1.0; EASE 2.0 AND EASE 3.0 – The Journey of PSB Reforms EASE Agenda

What is EASE ?

PSB reforms agenda – EASE (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence)
was launched based on the recommendations made by PSB Whole Time Directors (WTDs) and senior executives in PSB Manthan in November 2017. It encapsulates a synergistic approach to ensure prudent and clean lending, better customer service, simplified and enhanced credit, and robust governance and HR practices. The Reforms Agenda is pursued through a unique Reforms Index that enabled objective assessment of progress on all key areas in PSBs — viz., governance, prudential lending, risk management, technology- and data-driven banking, and outcome-centric HR — as well as enhanced transparency and accountability in the wider financial ecosystem.

EASE Reforms Agenda: 

1.                    It was launched in January 2018 jointly by the government and PSBs.

2.                    It was commissioned through Indian Banks’ Association and authored by  Boston Consulting Group.

3.                 EASE Agenda is aimed at institutionalizing CLEAN and SMART banking.



4.                The Index measures performance of each PSB on 120+ objective metrics


EASE 1.0: 


The EASE 1.0 report showed significant improvement in PSB performance in resolution of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) transparently.

The first edition of the EASE program pertaining to FY19 aimed at laying the foundation for themes such as Customer Responsiveness by enabling banking from the comfort of home and mobile and grievance redressal, responsible banking through the setup of dedicated Stressed Assets Management Vertical (SAMV) for rigorous monitoring of large-value stressed loans, improved governance and financial stability through institutionalising risk appetite frameworks and riskbased pricing, near-home banking by providing branch equivalent services through Bank Mitras, and enhanced micro-insurance coverage ensuring financial inclusion, and developing personnel for Brand PSBs through initiatives such as the implementation of Performance Management System (PMS).

( Please click on the following link for detailed read on: Enhanced Access & Service Excellence (EASE) Reforms for Public Sector Banks )

EASE 2.0:

EASE 2.0 builds on the foundation of EASE 1.0 and introduces new reform Action Points across six themes to make reforms journey irreversible, strengthen processes and systems, and drive outcomes.

The six themes of EASE are:

1.         Responsible Banking.

2.         Customer Responsiveness.

3.         Credit Off-take.

4.         PSBs as UdyamiMitra (SIDBI portal for credit management of MSMEs).

5.         Financial Inclusion & Digitalisation.

6.         Governance and HR.

 EASE Reforms Index: 

·       The Index measures performance of each PSB on 120+ objective metrics.

·      The Index follows a fully transparent scoring methodology, which enables banks to identify their strengths as well as areas for improvement.

·      The goal is to continue driving change by encouraging healthy competition among PSBs.

The second edition of the EASE program for CLEAN and SMART banking was launched for FY20 to further build on the foundation of EASE 1.0. It has been instrumental in further systematically addressing root causes of weaknesses in PSBs effected through hard-wiring of sound IT systems and processes. It has set up comprehensive Loan Management Systems (LMS) for faster processing and tracking, introduced Early Warning Signals (EWS) systems and specialised monitoring for timebound action in respect of stress, put in place focussed recovery arrangements, and esablished outcome-centric HR systems. The reforms have equipped Boards and leadership for effective governance. Further, it has enabled banking from home and mobile through an expanded bouquet of services, including enhanced regional languages availability.

( Please click on the following link for detailed read on: EASE 2.0 Banking Reforms Index - Performance of Public Sector Banks from March 2018-2020.


EASE 3.0 — Smart, Tech-enabled Banking for Aspiring India

Key Reform Action Points in EASE 3.0 include:

  • Dial-a-loan: Digitally-enabled doorstep facilitation for initiation of retail and MSME loans. Customers will have the facility to register loan requests through digitally-enabled channels
  • Customer-need driven credit offers by larger PSBs to existing customers through analytics, e.g., for EMI on expenses like holidays/school-fees/jewellery/consumer durables, home loan takeovers, loan-against-property post home loan closure, working capital enhancement based on sales jump
  • Partnerships with FinTechs and E-commerce companies for customer-need driven credit offers
  • Credit@click: End-to-end digitalised, time-bound retail and MSME lending by larger PSBs, leveraging Account Aggregators, FinTechs and
  • Cash-flow-based MSME credit by larger PSBs, using FinTech, Account Aggregator and other third-party data and transactions-based underwriting models
  • Tech-enabled agriculture lending
  • Palm banking: End-to-end digitalised delivery of a full bouquet of financial services in regional languages and with industry-best service quality

EASE Banking Outlets: On-the-spot banking at frequently visited places such as train stations, bus stands, malls, hospitals, etc. through paperless and digitally-enabled banking outlets and kiosks.

The third edition of the EASE reforms (EASE 3.0) was launched in FY21 to help catalyse accelerated adoption of customer-centric digital transformation initiatives across PSBs.


( Please click on the following link for detailed read on: Finance Minister unveils EASE Roadmap for Banking of the Future EASE 3.0 Reforms :    

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