Kolkata: If non-performing assets have made banks financially weak, poor work culture and non-performance of workers have slowed down the revival of public sector banks — at least, that’s what general perception is.

Mumbai-based Union Bank of India has taken steps to address this issue. In an inter-office memo issued by its human resource department, the state-owned lender has directed all its regional and zonal heads to identify the non-performing employees and monitor their performance over the next three quarters.

The bank said the exercise was not to penalise non-performers, but to guide them to realize their potential. “The idea is to transform the non-performers into performers, making them real assets for the bank. The bank is on a journey of transformation… to be known for responsive, responsible and inclusive banking through customer-centric business models and significant investment in employee development,” managing director Rajkiran Rai told ET.

Union Bank’s move follows the central government’s last month’s diktat to review service records of government and public sector employees to weed out the corrupt and non-performers.

The lender has directed its regional heads to prepare and submit lists of non-performers by August 16. “A formal communication should be sent to all such employees to improve their performance,” the letter said. The bank would review the performance of all such employees on a periodic basis over the next three quarters. ET has reviewed the letter dated August 7, 2019.

“In order to build on this momentum of achieving higher profitability and business for the bank, we need to strengthen our culture of performance in the bank,” the letter read. The bank reported Rs 225 crore net profit for the June quarter with business per employee at Rs 19.9 crore and profit per employee at Rs 20.2 lakh as on March.

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“We would be assessing the areas of non-performance and based on the said assessment, we would identify the factors that have led to the non-performance. If needed, we may even revisit the goal setting, if it is considered disproportionate to the potential of an area to ensure work-life parity of our employees,” Rai said, responding to a mail.

A decade back, SBI took the lead in addressing non-performance of employees when the bank was losing market share to its private rivals. The bank union had appealed its members to pull up their socks and work extra hours to gain lost ground.

In 2017, a zonal head of the loss-making Uco Bank had threatened to suspend salaries to employees in 11 branches for non-performance. But the management had withdrawn the note as public sector banks do not have a provision to stop salary for non-performance. Wages can be cut only in case of unauthorised absence during bank strikes.





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