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August 12, 2008

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August 29, 2007

Andhra Bank gives thumbs up to biometric ATMs


Capitalising on one of the most fool-proof identification marks (the thumb impression), Hyderabad-based Andhra Bank is looking at rolling out more biometric-based ATMs.

“A thumb impression can’t be copied or stolen and is highly individualistic. It thus forms a good basis for us to launch ATMs using biometrics,” said Andhra Bank CMD K Ramakrishnan.

Mr Ramakrishnan said the bank intended to have as many as 150 biometric ATMs in place during the next fiscal. The bank has already having three biometric ATMs

“Our studies have revealed it is not just the rural/semi-urban branches where such biometric ATMs would be needed but even our customers in metro/urban centres have evinced interest in such machines,” he added.

He said that the cost of such a roll-out (of biometric ATMs) would be low given the decreasing price of hardware and ATMs.

Another area of focus was on mobile ATMs, Mr Ramakrishnan said. The bank was open to having more such mobile ATMs which double as mobile branches besides offering customers the facility of using their debit/ATM cards at the ATMs installed in these mobile vans.

Andhra Bank which ended (as of December 31, 2006) with a total business of Rs 61,689 crore was hopeful of ending the current fiscal with a volume of Rs 67,000 crore comprising Rs 39,000 crore of deposits and Rs 28,000 crore of advances. On credit cards, Mr Ramakrishnan said the bank was drawing up plans to issue more credit cards and was keen to tap its existing customer base.

“With a monthly interest of 1.8% to 2% Andhra Bank’s credit cards are most competitively placed compared with its peers. Our monthly outstanding card portfolio ranges anywhere between Rs 140 crore to Rs 180 crore,” he added.

Although Andhra Bank is one of the pioneers in the Indian credit card market, its credit card base is pegged around 1.5 million cards compared with 2.23 million debit/ATM cards.

He said that while credit cards was a key asset segment, the bank was keen to focus on areas such as priority sector lending, agri and education loans. Andhra Bank’s net non-performing assets stood at 0.44% as of December 31, 2006.

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