BANKING AWARENESS: Unit Banking

The Unit Banking System is that system of banking under which an individual bank carries on banking business either through a single office or through a few offices operating with a limited area. In this system, independent, isolated units perform banking business. The size of operation of Unit Banking are much smaller when compared to branch banking. Unit banking system originated in the USA.

MERITS OF UNIT BANKING
1. Local Development: Unit banking is localized banking. The unit bank has the specialised knowledge of the local problems and serves the requirements of the local people in a better manner than branch banking. The funds of the locality are utilised for the local development and are not transferred to other areas.

2. Promotes Regional Balance: Under unit banking system, there is no transfer of resources from rural and backward areas to the big industrial commercial centres. This tends to reduce regional in balance.


3. Easy Management: The management and supervision of a unit bank is much easier and more effective than that under branch banking system. There are fewer chances of fraud and irregularities in the financial management of the unit banks.

4. Initiative in Banking Business: Unit banks have full knowledge of and greater involvement in the local problems. They are in a position to take initiative to tackle these problems through financial help.


5. No Monopolistic Tendencies: Unit banks are generally of small size. Thus, there is no possibility of generating monopolistic tendencies under unit banking system.


6. No Inefficient Branches: Under unit banking system, weak and inefficient branches are automatically eliminated. No protection is provided to such banks.

7. No dis-economies of Large Scale Operations: Unit banking is free from the dis-economies and problems of large-scale operations which are generally experienced by the branch banks.

8. No delay in taking decisions: In unit banking system, every bank is an independent unit. Hence, there will be no delay in decisions taking.

9. Personal Contact with the customers: Unit Banking System being a small scale independent unit can maintain good personal contacts with the customers for efficient management of the bank. It is said that in case of unit banking system the manager can maintain good personal contact with the customers and businessmen.

10. Low overhead cost:  In case of Unit Banking, the overhead cost will be low than in case of branch banking system.


11. More operational freedom: The managers of the Unit Banking system are given more discretionary powers so that they can study the problems of local customers and provide better services to them on merit.

DISADVANTAGES OF UNIT BANKING
The following are the disadvantages of unit banking system:
1. No. Distribution of Risks: Under unit banking, the bank operations are highly localised. Therefore, there is little possibility of distribution and diversification of risks in various areas and industries.

2. Inability to Face Crisis: Limited resources of the unit banks also restrict their ability to face financial crisis. These banks are not in a position to stand a sudden rush of withdrawals.

3. No Banking Development in Backward Areas: Unit banks, because of their limits resources, cannot afford to open uneconomic banking business is smaller towns and rural area. As such, these areas remain unbanked.

4. Lack of Specialization: Unit banks, because of their small size, are not able to introduce, and get advantages of, division of labour and specialization. Such banks cannot afford to employ highly trained and specialized staff.

5. Costly Remittance of Funds: A unit bank has no branches at other place. As a result, it has to depend upon the correspondent banks for transfer of funds which is very expensive.

6. Disparity in Interest Rates: Since easy and cheap movement of does not exist under the unit banking system, interest rates vary considerably at different places.


7. Local Pressures: Since unit banks are highly localised in their business, local pressures and interferences generally disrupt their normal functioning.

8. Undesirable Competition: Unit banks are independently run by different managements. This results in undesirable competition among different unit banks.