Even when it seems like things are not going well, there are those players who take the challenges in their stride and forge ahead. This was true for the banking industry in 2017-18, a particularly tough time.
The FE Best Banks jury found there were some outstanding performances which deserved recognition. HDFC Bank’s impeccable financials and strong growth across all metrics ensured it walked away with the honours in the private sector bank category. Indian Bank’s reasonably good financials as also the strategy of focusing on deposit growth while diversifying its loan portfolio won it the award in the PSU bank category. HSBC was adjudged the winner among foreign lenders for turning in a good performance across areas. Equitas Small Finance Bank was at the top of the jury’s list of SFBs with the lender having leveraged its branch network to build a diversified loan portfolio. With its stellar performance across virtually all metrics — loan growth, profitability and balance sheet quality — Bajaj Finance was the undisputed winner in the NBFC category. This was the second time the company bagged the top award in the segment.
CreditAccess Grameen was picked as the runner-up for its sound financials — capital adequacy and leverage. State Bank of India walked away with the award for the best home loan product — long tenors, the lowest rate and other facilities ensured it outclassed the products of other lenders.
Kotak Mahindra Bank won the award for the best savings bank product — for the second straight year. With an interest rate of 6%, the bank’s savings deposits have grown at a compounded 38-40% over the last seven years.
Axis Bank, which has two fintech subsidiaries, was declared the best digital bank for the second year in a row.
A substantial chunk of the lender’s MSME and personal loans are sourced online and the lender aims to completely digitalise such loans in 18 months.
The year 2017-18 was annus mirabilis for NPCI with the launch of BHIM and the on-boarding of Google Pay and PayTM. Later in August, the UPI.2 was launched. For the stunning success of UPI, NPCI, the jury felt merited an award.
Among the fintechs, RazorPay, CreditVidya, LoanFrame and Acko General Insurance were chosen for the initiatives they had taken in their respective areas and for the promise they held out. Sanjiv Bajaj, MD & CEO, Bajaj Finserv, will take home the Banker of the Year award, while Romesh Sobti, MD and CEO, IndusInd Bank, will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.