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SBI to earmark 70% capex for technology: Bhatt

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The country's largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), today said it would set aside about 60-70 per cent of its annual capex for technology upgradation, which includes increasing reach through ATMs and mobile banking as well as strengthening risk management systems.

"It (spend on technology) could easily be hundreds of crores worth of investment. It will be significant. It will be 60 or 70 per cent of the annual capex over the next 2-3 years," SBI Chairman O P Bhatt told reporters on the sidelines of a CII conference here.

He declined to give details on the bank's average capital expenditure over the next 2-3 years.

"We are reviewing how many new ATMs we need to install next year and we want to enrich the mix of ATMs as well as get some micro-ATMs, rural ATMs and bio-metric ATMs. So, in the area of ATMs, we would continue to invest," Bhatt said.

The public sector bank was currently working with telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel and BSNL for a mobile banking initiative, he said.

The premier lender said it expects to bring a data warehousing project on-stream in the next 18-24 months apart from installing a system to integrate all modes of payment.

"We are going to set up a gateway and integrate all modes of payment. Payment systems are actually the backbone of banking and So, this is another major area where we are going to invest," Bhatt said.

SBI said it placed significant emphasis on strengthening its risk management system and wants to bring it on par with those of global multinational companies.

"Enterprise-wide risk management systems is another area where we want to take the help of IT to be able to have risk systems at par with the best in the world. Sensitivity to risk is very very important. You never know when you will be taken by surprise. So that's another area where we will be investing," he said.

First Published: Wed, February 24 2010. 17:15 IST