Business India
The Money Whisperer Image Credit: Business India
The Money Whisperer Image Credit: Business India

The Money Whisperer

Uday Kotak is both India’s first banker and businessman

Ryan Maxim Rodrigues

Back in the day when uday Kotak was captain of the school team, cricket practice sessions came with a harsh dose of performance pressure. coach ramakant achrekar, who later tutored ace batsman sachin tendulkar too, would summon the best bowler on the team and order him to “knock off his [Kotak’s] middle stump, i challenge you”.

Indian banking is rapidly changing, with new financial intermediaries in the business – mobile wallets, payments banks and small finance banks. not to miss the newly aggressive scheduled commercial banks like rbl, IDFC and Bandhan. can more competition add that much more pressure on any incumbent bank’s margins?

Kotak remains unfazed. year 2016 will go down as a tough year for indian banking, but there is little indication of any stress at his bank. in february Kotak mahindra Bank (kmb) acquired a 20 per cent stake in a joint venture payments bank with telecom player Bharti airtel for R98 crore. in august it set up an innovation lab in Bengaluru to tap new technologies that could impact its future operations.

In september it acquired bss microfinance and its base of 217,000 customers for ₹139.2 crore. in november, two days after specified bank notes were demonetised by the government, kmb received approval to open its first overseas branch at the dubai international financial centre.

Perched at the top of the kmb’s headquarters in mumbai’s Bandra Kurla complex, uday Kotak, 57, has


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