Union bank

Union Bank Of India: Union Bank Deploys Automated Solution To Monitor Distressed Loans

Union Bank of India (UBI) plans to speed up the recovery of bad debts using a first-of-its-kind Automated Troubled Asset Recovery Solution (SARAS), which will help the bank enforce collateral, track recoveries and improve monitoring of distressed assets.

Chief Managing Director Ashok Chandra said the automation will eliminate errors and reduce the time it takes to initiate recovery from months to days. “Over the years, we had noticed that the time it took to file collection cases, initiate the process, and then monitor the cases wasted valuable man-hours and eroded asset value. In 2020, after the merger of Andhra and Corporation Bank with us, it was felt that a system to track all these accounts would help a lot. We have now developed an automated model for voluntary defaulters, followed up cases with attorneys, applied collateral as collateral and verified valuations,” Chandra said.

UBI, the fifth largest public sector bank with nearly Rs 11 lakh crore in assets, had Rs 77,787 crore in gross non-performing assets, or 11.62% of its total loan portfolio. The bank had issued a tender to automate its recovery process and selected US-based Speridian Technologies last year. He expects to complete the process by the end of June. Chandra said UBI is ready to share the system with its PSU peers.

The bank can now assign and track cases to its 10,000 appointed attorneys or initiate willful defaulter lawsuits via artificial intelligence-based software linked to its core banking system. “There have been cases where it took months to initiate defaulter proceedings. It was even difficult to track cases in various courts across the country. Now both of these are updated in the system. Lawyers will now be required to fill in their case details through this app, including reasons for delays or adjournments so that we can also track performance,” he said.

The software is programmed to retrieve data from court websites, company registrar and even government agencies. The bank plans to link it to the 34 Debt Collection Tribunals (DRTs), National Company Law Tribunals (NCLTs), High Courts and Civil Courts across the country.

“As this system matures, it will create a repository of data that can be used more efficiently. This will ensure timely step-by-step movement of all recovery actions. It has a built-in alert system with escalations to regional, zonal or corporate headquarters for action,” Chandra said.