The bank expects to have around 500 women working from home soon.The bank expects to have around 500 women working from home soon.

MUMBAI: To help women work from home, the country’s largest private lender, ICICI Bank, has deployed face recognition technology and extended a secure network that provides access to the core banking servers from its employees’ laptops.

This is the first time any bank has opened up its core banking system for remote access by employees and takes the “work from home” concept to a different level. It enables almost every non-customer-facing task to be done from home for extended periods of time.

Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson of State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, said they are working on systems where remote relationship managers can work from home. “We have to get our operations in place to enable call recording and to maintain quality and security.

The company has deployed face recognition technology to facilitate women to work from home and provide access to the bank’s core banking servers under. The programme iWork@ home will enable almost every non-customer facing task to be done from home.

The platform is designed not only to recognise the employees face; it also logs her out if she leaves her seat or if another face appears within range of the camera.

The technology has been developed by ICICI Bank in collaboration with IIT Delhi.

Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank said that an internal survey showed that women leave the organisation largely do so on account of childcare, maternity, or because of long commuting.

Launched internally

Further, under this programme, employees working from home can carry out multiple tasks such as checking documents for disbursement of loans, image-based verification of cheques for clearance, first-level scrutiny of documents for opening of accounts and processing of export-import documents for payments.

Kochhar said that the programme was launched internally in the private sector bank few weeks ago and 50 women are currently undergoing it.

The bank has also announced another initiative for women managers with children up to 3 years of age as managerial responsibilities at times require them to travel outside city limits, for client interactions, business reviews or training.

Enabling environment

In order to support these employees, the bank has defined a policy to provide them with the cost of travel and stay of the child and a caregiver (family member or child caretaker).

“These two new measures are aimed at creating an enabling environment which will help many women to pursue their careers successfully while attending to the needs of their families,” said Kochhar.

Currently, around 30 per cent of employees in the bank constitute women.

Around 30% of ICICI’s 73,000 employees are women.