Per­sis­tent Banker

ZARIN DARUWALA IS WELL ON THE PATH OF DE- RISK­ING THE BUSI­NESS MODEL OF ONE OF THE LARGEST FOR­EIGN BANKS IN IN­DIA.

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ARIVER CUTS THROUGH rock not be­cause of its power but per­sis­tence.” The quote, by author James Watkins, best de­scribes the man­age­ment mantra of Zarin Daruwala, who heads one of the largest for­eign banks in In­dia. Per­sis­tence and per­se­ver­ance have been the driv­ing force for this ca­reer ICICI banker (she headed whole­sale bank­ing there).

Daruwala’s en­try into Stan­dard Char­tered Bank, with as­sets of ` 1.44 lakh crore, was not with­out dif­fi­culty. She was, af­ter all, an out­sider — all her pre­de­ces­sors had been pro­moted from within the bank. The bank was slip­ping big time in as­set qual­ity and prof­itabil­ity. There was also no sup­port from the re­tail side, which other banks were grow­ing ro­bustly.

Now, two years into the job, the 53-year-old Daruwala is sin­gle-mind­edly fo­cused on de-risk­ing the busi­ness by in­creas­ing the share of re­tail ad­vances, im­prov­ing the share of cur­rent ac­counts sav­ings ac­counts (CASA) in to­tal de­posits, ar­rest­ing de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in as­set qual­ity, fo­cus­ing on re­cov­ery and un­der­writ­ing qual­ity cor­po­rate bank­ing busi­ness. The re­sults have started show­ing. The share of re­tail loans, which com­prise mort­gages, loan against prop­erty, credit cards and per­sonal loans, has in­creased from 22 per cent to 26 per cent of ad­vances. The tar­get is 40 per cent. The bank has also started us­ing dig­i­tal chan­nels and third-party sourc­ing for credit cards. “We now sell 25 per cent of our cards dig­i­tally,” says Daruwala.

Daruwala is also in­creas­ing the share of CASA to en­sure bet­ter mar­gins. The CASA share is cur­rently 41 per cent. Un­der cor­po­rate bank­ing, she has been fol­low­ing the ‘un­der­write and syn­di­cate’ model.

Daruwala is fo­cused on tak­ing the en­tire cus­tomer jour­ney, from on­board­ing and ser­vic­ing to ful­fill­ment, dig­i­tal. “It’s a jour­ney. We are in­vest­ing in dif­fer­ent parts,” says Daruwala, adding that she wants to take one step at a time. “We also want to see re­turn on our in­vest­ments,” says Daruwala.

WHY SHE MAT­TERS She is making StanChart more prof­itable by adding more re­tail clients and de­posits.

ZARIN DARUWALA CEO,Stan­dard Char­teredBank, In­dia

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