Fraud fallout: PNB tightens norms, to separate loan appraisal and monitoring teams

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New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) To avert any future fraud, the 124-year-old state-run lender Punjab National Bank said that it has strengthened internal audit controls by having separate “pre-sanction appraisal and post sanction monitoring” teams for credit disbursal.

Besides, the lending major told IANS that it will look on a quarterly basis on whatever internal accruals can be generated — through recovery, more efficient risk management, more business generation and more cross selling.

“We have strengthened our process of underwriting of credit to wean out any possibility of fraudulent behavior and ensure a fair evaluation,” a senior official of the bank told IANS on the sidelines of PNB’s 124th Foundation Day held on April 12.

“The process has been divided into four components with different employees focused on — sourcing appraisal, processing and underwriting documentation and disbursement recovery.”

These new developments are part of the bank’s “Mission Parivartan” under which an independent think-tank has been set-up within the company to provide “both directional and policy inputs”.

Recently, the bank has faced a multi-billion fraud related to the Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Diamonds group.

According to the bank, its Board has also approved revamping of the process and given higher weightage to the off-site monitoring mechanism.

“The analysis from the off-site monitoring mechanism will reduce dependence on physical inspection and audit to identify risks and the detachment between the front office and off-line monitoring system will drive greater transparency in reporting,” the senior official said.

In addition, the state-run lender has decided to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) for reconciliation of accounts for technology interventions to counter the repeat of recent fraud.

On the problem of non-performing assets (NPAs), the bank has decided to form a separate “vertical to deal with its stressed assets”.

In terms of new products and services, the state-run bank on its foundation day informed about several new initiatives like “pre-approved credit card” which are issued on a customer request through SMS and PNB’s UPI partnership with the “Walnut App”.

“In the next 100 years, I believe that PNB has an opportunity to reach even more people especially those without financial access and continue to empower MSMEs and countless businesses to realise their true potential,” said Sunil Mehta, MD & CEO, Punjab National Bank.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])



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