When I joined the staff department in 1976, the bank has already grown and was still climbing. I can still recall people talking animatedly in buses about IOB declaring a 14.4% bonus to its employees, an astonishing figure when the more stable banks were contended to declare the statutory 8.33%.
It was a pleasure working at the Central office in the then 'Staff Department' and learning the ropes of administration and more importantly the art of letter writing from stalwarts who will beckon you with a circle around your initials in the office copy, to point out some omission. The respect for the organization was cultivated by advising us not to put the pins across the bank's symbol in the letterhead! The empty superintendent's chair will never be occupied even by staff working on holidays!!
The learning at the branches were priceless; From seniors who taught us customer handling, tallying of books, official discipline, cash handling, avoiding manual mistakes and the list goes on. The door to door Deposit campaigns made in the neighborhood taught me finer aspects of marketing and also enabled me to bring customers closer to the bank.
The bank not only created trust in the minds of customers but also the staff . The facilities offered to the bank men were enormous. Housing loans were given at 5% rate of interest and most of the bank's employees who own a house now would not have done it without this support. The yearly 'Festival Advance' offered free of interest was the first savings point of every employee with an eye on the future. I have known many employees, who used to buy jewels using the Festival Advance and other accumulations and then pledge the same under Jewel loan scheme, thus creating the precious bullion, which was a must in those days for the girl's marriage.
Had reasons to be happy whether it is rain or shine as they would attract either Flood loan or Drought loan. The employees were offered financial support to buy vehicles and at one point of time, we used to joke that everything we moved around belong to the bank. The house supported by housing loan, the vehicle through vehicle loan and the marriage of the employees were also assisted with 'Marriage loans' ! Assuaging the yearly income tax worry, the bank supported its staff by offering loans on the investments one make like loan against NSC etc.,
'To deliver the best of judgments the judges have to be kept above wants', it used to be said. Adapting the adage, the bank offered support on all fronts and at every opportunity to keep their staff comfortable. Perhaps that is the reason the bank men were always in neck deep of various bank loans and drew minimal net salary at some point of their career. But, at the end of one's service, a prudent bank employee could go with a handful of cash bag by making clever use of the loans offered and pooling in his own meager resources. IOB was always the first bank to offer such facilities and every IOBian will be proud to recollect such supports. I am yet to come across a common man who could use the bank's 'Recurring Deposit' scheme to better use than a bank employee !
It was the first bank to create its own home-grown software, when computerization was introduced in Indian banks and it is to our credit that people used to say proudly that one of the foreign banks in the neighborhood of our head office visited our computer department and appreciated the efforts and nuances used by the team.
An organization with over 2500 branches across the globe and more than 30000 serving employees is bound to come across many bottlenecks in its run and it is commendable that the bank has risen to the challenges and has covered its path with glory over 77 years. I am very confident that the bank will continue with its trail of glory and service to the people, despite the contretemps that could come from time to time. As an IOBian my heart always skips a beat when I pass through the Central office building in Mount road and see the towering building standing tall !
The current and future employees of the bank has the onerous responsibility of keeping its flag high and it is a matter of satisfaction that there are all signs of these IOBians surpassing this expectation.