By Siddhi Nayak
MUMBAI (Reuters) -India’s Bank of Baroda said on Saturday it had terminated the employment of its chief digital officer as part of action after the central bank found deficiencies in its mobile app, although the employee said it was his decision to leave.
“We have taken action on a large set of people on the field,” managing director and chief executive officer Debadatta Chand told reporters. He did not specify the nature of the action.
“As far as the (former) CDO (Chief Digital Officer, Akhil Handa) is concerned, it is a cessation of service induced by the bank and that is a termination.”
However in a statement on Sunday, Handa said his exit was a personal decision.
“My exit was a personal decision that I conveyed to the top management in August and since then I had been serving my notice period. The narrative of termination seems a deflection of operational lapses at the branch level,” Handa said.
Reuters has reviewed a copy of his resignation letter, shared by him.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last month said Bank of Baroda would need to correct certain deficiencies before it can be allowed to onboard new customers to its ‘bob World’ mobile app. The RBI did not say what those issues were.
Chand, however, said that RBI’s concerns were largely related to the customer onboarding process via the app and that there were gaps in adequacies in documents along with wrong data being fed.
Earlier this week, Bank of Baroda informed exchanges about Handa’s cessation of employment. Handa was closely associated with building ‘bob World’.
Bank of Baroda is engaged with the RBI on multiple counts in connection with issues linked to the mobile application, Chand said, adding that the bank has internally strengthened its surveillance and vigilance mechanism.
Earlier in the day, the bank reported a 28.4% jump in net profit for the July-September quarter, led by robust loan growth.
The state-run lender’s net profit rose to 42.53 billion rupees ($512 million) in its second quarter, from 33.13 billion a year earlier.
That topped the 40.04 billion expected by analysts, LSEG data showed.
Net interest income – the difference between interest earned and paid – rose 6.5% to 108.31 billion rupees.
Bank of Baroda’s net interest margin (NIM) – a key gauge of lenders’ profitability – fell to 3.07% from 3.33% a year earlier and from 3.27% in the previous quarter.
The bank expects its NIM to be around 3.15% for this financial year, Chand said.
($1 = 83.1400 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Siddhi Nayak; editing by Clelia Oziel and David Evans)