If the proposed move fructifies, Ramakrishnan would be the first MD & CEO of South Indian Bank coming on board from a private sector lender.
Days after the announcement of ex-Axis Bank ED Pralay Mondal joining Thrissur-headquartered CSB Bank ( formerly Catholic Syrian Bank), another top level rejig is on the cards in Kerala’s banking capital.
Murali Ramakrishnan , a former senior executive at ICICI Bank, who was the chief executive of the private sector lender’s operations in North Asia, Middle East, Sri Lanka & Africa , has emerged as a front-runner to become the next Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of South Indian Bank (SIB), sources told Moneycontrol.
In fact, Ramakrishnan has already joined the bank as an advisor from 1 July, the bank said in an email response to this website.
“As the panel of candidates for appointment as MD&CEO is pending with RBI for their consideration, we cannot provide the details of the same,” the bank said.
If the proposed move fructifies, Ramakrishnan would be the first MD & CEO of South Indian Bank coming on board from a private sector lender. In the past, the top bosses at South Indian Bank have joined from public sector lenders, chiefly State Bank of India.
“Murali Ramakrishnan is the first choice of the board of directors of South Indian Bank and the firm is awaiting the Reserve Bank of India approval to take things forward,” one of the individuals cited above told Moneycontrol.
A second individual confirmed the same and said Ramakrishnan is likely to replace the current MD & CEO VG Mathew who is scheduled to step down after September.
Both the individuals spoke to Moneycontrol on the condition of anonymity.
Ramakrishnan did not respond to multiple text messages. No response was received from RBI.
ALL EYES ON THE RBI
South Indian Bank has proposed two candidates for the position of MD & CEO. Moneycontrol could not independently verify the name of the second candidate. On June 6, 2020, South Indian Bank made the following disclosure to the stock exchanges –
“We wish to inform that pursuant to the recommendations of the Search Committee which was constituted by the Board of Directors of the Bank and the Nomination and Remuneration Committee of the Bank, and pursuant to the Banking Regulation Act 1949 and the extant Reserve Bank of India (RBI) norms, the Board of Directors of the Bank has today finalized the names of 2 candidates, in the order of preference, for the position of the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (MD & CEO) of the Bank.
As per the extant RBI norms, the Bank will be submitting its application to Reserve Bank of India with the names of the candidates in the order of preference, seeking approval for the appointment of the new MD & CEO, who shall succeed Mr. VG Mathew whose term is due to expire on September 30,2020. On receipt of RBI approval, the Bank shall duly make the requisite disclosures pursuant to the Regulations.”
THE NEW HEAD HONCHO AT SOUTH INDIAN BANK?
Ramakrishnan retired earlier this year from ICICI Bank after a tenure of more than two decades during which he handled a series of functions and businesses. As the Chief Executive of the North Asia ( Hong Kong & China), Middle East, Sri Lanka and Africa regions, he managed a balance-sheet of around $20 bn according to his Linkedin profile.
Prior to this, he was the Head ( Credit Risk), Head ( Policy, Risk & BIU) and also headed four business groups, namely cluster banking group, emerging clusters group, construction equipment finance and professional equipment finance. Prior to ICICI Bank, Ramakrishnan , an IIM Bangalore alumni , worked with GE Capital Transportation Financial Services & SRF Finance.
SOUTH INDIAN BANK: BETTING BIG ON THE RETAIL SEGMENT
South India Bank which is keen to expand its retail business and strengthen its SME base, reported a net loss of Rs 143.69 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2020, due to a multi-fold jump in provisioning requirement. Its provisioning for bad loans and contingencies for the quarter jumped over three times to Rs 723.80 crore, against Rs 219.15 crore
As of September 2019, the bank had 870 branches, 53 extension counters and 1406 ATMs. According to its 2018-19 annual report, the firm said it was "now focusing on the growth of retail lending segment with a view to transforming the bank into a Retail Banking Power House by 2020. Accordingly, the thrust is given to retail loan products such as housing loan, vehicle loan, gold loan and MSME loans."
Private equity firm Chrys Capital's investment arm Lavender Investments Ltd holds 4.91 percent stake in the bank. Other investors include LIC, Polaris Capital Management and private equity firm Acacia Banyan Partners.Other than CSB Bank , South Indian Bank , Thrissur is also home to Dhanlaxmi Bank Bank & Esaf Small Finance Bank, which is planning an IPO.