O N T E N T S
but not out
The poor offtake of retail loans has pulled down
After a sharp reduction in the last three years,
NPAs are creeping back into banks balance sheets
vote for the future
A distinguished Jury picks State Bank of India Chairman
O P Bhatt as the Business Standard Banker of the year
the elephant dance
Interview with SBI Chairman O P Bhatt on his efforts
at re-energising the bank
Seven top bankers discuss 2009: Are banks in
India ready for it?
R for restraint
Cases of coercion and violence are forcing banks
to soften their approach towards debt recovery
RBI has softened its stand on co-operative banks,
but the guidelines are still strict
All the data you wanted on banks
Bank of India Deputy Governor V Leeladhar stirred a hornets
nest at the Bankers Conference late last month by saying that
the Indian regulatory regime for foreign banks is non-discriminatory,
and is, in fact, very liberal by global standards.
a sense, Leeladhars statement poured cold water on the hopes
of many foreign banks that the contours of the Indian banking landscape
will change dramatically after April 1, 2009. Yet, most Indian banks
feel that RBI is still not averse to opening up the sector after
2009, the underlying idea being that a competitive banking market
will lead to efficiency gains that will benefit the entire economy.
Indian banks ready for the challenges in 2009? The Round Table discussion,
the excerpts of which have been carried in this magazine, focuses
on this key issue. Seven leading bankers have tried to answer some
of the critical questions relating to resources, capital, consolidation
message that came out clearly was this: while leading private and
foreign banks are putting their houses in order to meet the challenge,
the public sector banks are trying to make rapid strides though
most of them are still struggling with legacy issues.
sad as all of them also agreed that the opportunity is limitless.
With the GDP growing at around 9 per cent and more financial deepening
resulting in an increase of the share of overall credit in the national
output, business can go only one way up.
is despite the signal that credit growth may well taper off this
year. As our cover story shows, retail credit, which was clocking
a brisk 30 per cent y-o-y just a year back, is now struggling to
grow in double digits. But the encouraging sign is that many bankers
believe it is a temporary blip and the second half of the year should
see a pick-up in retail credit.
credit grows, some Indian banks were under fire for alleged strong
arm tactics to recover debt. As a report in this magazine shows,
banks have been forced to either soften their stand on loan recovery
or exit the sub-prime loan segment.
Banking Annual is also about celebrating success. The Best Banker
award (decided by an eminent jury) goes to State Bank of India Chairman
O P Bhatt for his initiative to re-energise the 200-year old bank.
The Jury felt that Mr Bhatt deserved the award for the initiatives
he has taken to position the countrys largest bank to compete
with private bank challengers who operate with much more operational
SBI was not at the top in any of the financial parameters considered,
the vote was one for the future with the bank under Mr Bhatts
stewardship considered best positioned to make a difference to all
this comprehensive snapshot of where the banking industry has arrived
in its increasingly exciting journey.