Former SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya on Friday wondered why the Reserve Bank does not allow public sector bank chiefs to serve till 70 years at par with their private sector peers.
Bhattacharya, who now serves as the chief executive and chairperson for tech company Salesforce in India, said allowing for longer tenors at the helm will make it possible for the PSB chiefs to execute change agendas.
“…All of these banks have to have very large change agendas and you cannot do a change agenda in two or three years. It’s impossible to do it.
“You are putting a big handicap on the public sector by changing your leading team every three years,” Bhattacharya said while speaking at an event organised by state-owned Bank of Baroda.
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Bhattacharya clarified that she is all for having reviews and ensuring that people who need to be changed should be changed, but added that one should be given an opportunity with the objective of continuity in mind.
Defending the state-run banks’ performance, she said one has to look at different parameters like financial inclusion and connecting up with the masses while assessing a lender’s performance and not from investors’ favourites like cost to income ratio.
She said no other system in the world could have had pulled off challenges like the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana or demonetisation, the way state-run banks did it successfully.
It can be noted that the RBI allows private sector bankers to continue to be at the helm till they turn 70, and recently reviewed the guidelines to cap the maximum tenure at 15 years.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same conference, Bhattacharya said banks need to invest in tech integration by unpacking and unifying the silos in which they work.
“It will give you insights, which will give you a lot of ideas on what can be done,” she said, adding that the RBI also needs to help with customer awareness.
Edelweiss Group’s chief executive Rashesh Shah said non-bank lenders should not compete with banks, who have better access to cheaper deposits.
The NBFCs should rather focus on being closer to the customer and innovating more, he said.