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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lessons from Mr Amit Kumar of YES Bank

Mr. Amit Kumar is a PGP ’91 alumnus,  and currently the Senior President and Country Head, Corporate and Institutional Banking, YES Bank Ltd. As a professional entrepreneur manager, he is part of the founding team at YES Bank and manages the wholesale banking business. In Sep-11, He spoke about"Building Professional Entrepreneurship: The YES Bank Story",which covered a snapshot of Indian Banking and the story of Indian entrepreneurs so far. He also spoke about Institution Building at YES Bank from the perspective of a Professional Entrepreneur. This post tries to capture the key points from that interesting talk. I'm posting this after months, so some parts may be vague. Do not quote! 
  • He had worked in SBI Capital Markets, ANZ Grindlays, Standard Chartered Bank and finally moved to YES Bank in 2004 as a co-founder
  • Entrepreneurship is not a 2nd option, it is a leap of faith. 
  • One must strike that balance between entrepreneurial growth, and institution building(setting the processes, systems, controls in place) to allow for profitable and scalable growth. 
  • A smart banker is ahead of the curve and can shift loans to promoter/vendor financing at the slightest whiff of trouble, that differentiates him from a stuffy banker! 
  •  Industry knowledge/expertise is essential for that extra finesse and understanding to make that customer feel that you are a partner/friend and not a fair whether friend! And that expertise helps during a downturn when one must rejig exposures and take hard decisions
  • Timing, luck and hardwork was what helped, as was a SWOT analysis based partnership
  • They made some(ok many!) strategic decisions like
    • Making lemonade from the 'lemon' of the priority sector. They now specialize in food, agri, microfinance and other priority sector lending, quite profitably. 
    • Crowdsourcing ideas via contests, from partners etc
    • Partnering with Wipro and others for ensuring 60days ATM rollout including master switch. That 'pay as you use' model also helped quick scaling./cost structure optimize.
  • Sustainable banking is beyond ROE, and includes triple bottomline, responsible selling and maintaining one's reputation
  • Commenting on the wealth creation, he said that if he had stuck with foreign banks, he would never have been that wealthy.
  • On the attributes of an entreprenuer
    • Tech Savvy
    • Well Exposed
    • Knowledgable
    • Confident
    • Well Networked
    • Willing to take risks(key!)
  • CRM helps one to bring a diagnostic proactive approach to clients

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