Union finance minister Arun Jaitley will give away the country’s most coveted banking awards — FE Best Banks Awards — in India’s financial capital today. Applauding the winners will be the who’s who of the banking and corporate worlds. The winners were picked by a high-powered jury chaired by S Ramadorai, adviser to the PM, National Council on Skill Development, in a keenly fought contest. Helping them with the number work was the team from EY.
A jury’s task is never easy but the brilliant insights of the members and their collective wisdom combined to deliver a list of outperformers.
Aditya Puri, managing director and CEO, HDFC Bank, will carry home the award for lifetime achievement for having built what is probably the country’s finest bank, a strong, robust institution that has won not just market share but the trust of customers and investors alike.
Uday Kotak, vice-chairman and MD, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Romesh Sobti, CEO, IndusInd Bank, will walk away with the Banker of the Year awards for 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively. Both bankers have done well to grow their loan books, de-risk their businesses and yet maintain the quality of their balance sheets. Both are well capitalised and ready to cash in on the next phase of growth in the economy, having readied the infrastructure for online transactions. KMB was acclaimed by the jury for the acquisition of ING Vysya Bank, Sobti for the tremendous turnaround at IndusInd Bank.
State Bank of India (SBI) and Bandhan Bank will be felicitated for special initiatives in the field of financial inclusion. SBI’s perseverance in making lending to the underprivileged a paying proposition is to be applauded. At last count, the country’s largest lender had turned nearly 5 lakh Jan Dhan Yojana customers into borrowers. And there cannot be a more compelling story than that of Chandra Shekhar Ghosh’s Bandhan: From a small microfinance lender in West Bengal, Bandhan became the country’s largest. So impressed was the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it gave Bandhan with a universal bank licence.
In addition, the finance minister will give away awards to a clutch of private and public sector lenders as also foreign banks, recognising them for their achievements. While revenues and return ratios do play an important role, the winners are almost inevitably those lenders that have also spotted an opportunity and used it to their advantage, those that are employee-friendly and tech-savvy.