Being a public sector banker throughout your career, how different is it to work with TMB?
Both have their own unique advantages and challenges. Fortunately, I must say that the private sector bank I have been in is doing very well in all financial parameters. Particularly if you look at the end result, which is the most important thing for the stakeholders, we are one of the best in the industry. Now the challenge is that this bank has been geographically confined to a particular region. So my mission is to make it pan-India. Second, this bank is known for its customer service, mostly in the traditional style. But today’s generation wants banking, not a bank. So how can I do this as the most preferred digital bank? These are the two – three visions that I have. Another advantage of being a private sector bank is that decisions can be faster, unlike in the public sector where one may have to go through the RFP and whatnot. To start with, we have undertaken an ambitious process re-engineering, focusing on the MSME space, where we have the most exposure and relationship.
Concentration risk and perception as an older generation private bank were the concerns investors had during the IPO…
We do not have product concentration. In fact, I will go for products tailored to meet the requirements of different geographies. As far as geographical concentration is concerned, it is a fact that I have a high concentration in the southern part of the country, more particularly in Tamil Nadu. That being said, is that a risk? My answer will be no. TN is one of the states that contributes the most to GDP growth. It is one of the four main states that have good potential. Have I fully tapped into the potential available in Tamil Nadu? Not yet. There are centers in Tamil Nadu where I don’t have a branch network. I will be able to take advantage of it very well, compared to other banks because I have a brand value there. With that being said, we also have plans to grow outside of TN. Very recently, for the first time, we entered the north-eastern states and opened branches in Gujarat and Telangana. We are working on how to expand in other parts of the country because I am aiming to make this bank pan-India.
It’s interesting that you partner with McKinsey. What kind of transformation are you seeing?
In the MSME space, how can we realign the production process to suit today’s requirements? How can I make it more digital? Ultimately, I want my client to be able to get credit in three clicks. It requires a lot of digital plan. We have already started a loan origination system for retail products. We are also looking for a high-end digital platform where you can interface with various reporting agencies so we can access data quickly. We should be able to say, in principle, if a proposal is viable or not. On top of that, we are also working on how I can use my business correspondence by making it digital-enabled. We recently launched a product where the relationship manager can call customers interested in a product, the RM can come to their place and open the account in no time.
Can you elaborate on your plans for fiscal year 24?
My agenda is digital transformation. I am in dialogue with a different consulting firm and now we are in the discussion stage on how we can achieve this. Besides that, I am focusing on the MSME space where the goal is to ensure that TMB and MSME are synonymous. This is how it has been for 100 years. If I can reprocess my data and digitize it, we will be able to grow the business and also further improve the quality of the assets. As we improve underwriting standards and consistency in operating standards; today some are manual with subjectivity; I can opt for digital loans.
With 26 percent capital adequacy, are you looking for inorganic opportunities?
Yes. I have in mind. I am with an open mind to several things, although it is premature to comment on that.