Large PSBs ramp up lateral hiring in specialist positions on govt nudge

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Published: June 17, 2020 4:10 AM

The government is understood to be of the view that some positions in PSBs which demand a specialist’s perspective should be filled as such.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), too, has sought to bring greater professionalism to functions like finance and risk management at banks.The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), too, has sought to bring greater professionalism to functions like finance and risk management at banks.

Large public sector banks (PSBs), especially those which have undergone mergers of late, are going for lateral hires in specialist positions at the senior level. This comes as the government has been nudging them in this direction, sources told FE.

The government is understood to be of the view that some positions in PSBs which demand a specialist’s perspective should be filled as such.

On Tuesday, State Bank of India (SBI) announced an opening for a data protection officer, along with that for a chief financial officer (CFO). Bank of Baroda (BoB) advertised four vacancies for the position of chief manager — IT security. Earlier, Punjab National Bank (PNB) had said it was looking for an external chief risk officer (CRO).

“There is some recognition, especially in the merged entities, and there is also a push from the ministry (of finance) to evaluate the key managerial personnel (KMPs). So now that we have seven large and five smaller PSBs and the focus is on the seven large ones, they want to ensure that at least the management bandwidth is complete,” one of the sources said, adding that the Prime Minister’s Office, too, has been closely supervising the merger process.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), too, has sought to bring greater professionalism to functions like finance and risk management at banks. It has mandated that the CFO of a bank be a certified chartered accountant (CA) and the CRO’s office operate at a remove from the credit sanctioning process. Apart from finance, risk and IT, marketing and compliance are two other functions where PSBs are often opting for external hires.

At the board level, large PSBs have been coming up with policies to acquire talent laterally. “There is always an existing guidance to have experts in top positions. It is left to the bank boards to take a call wherever they have felt the need to have experts from the market,” the head of a large PSB said.

Sector experts say in a fast-changing environment, PSBs are waking up to the need for experts and specialists in some functions. Sandeep Sarkar, partner, Deloitte India, said, “The role of the CRO/CFO has undergone significant transformation, given the challenging times. Today, banks are hiring specialists from the market who can help navigate them through uncharted territory.”

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