While the remark was made lightly, it serves to highlight the widening gap between the pays of private and public sector bankers in India.
India's top banker, Rajnish Kumar, who heads a bank that is among the top 50 lenders globally and manages assets of over Rs 30 lakh crore and more than 2.5 lakh employees, on June 5 joked that he would have to start living on the streets if his salary is cut.
Kumar, Chairman of India's largest bank State Bank of India (SBI), made the remark in jest during a conference call with analysts.
When asked if SBI would follow it's private peers that had announced salary cuts for their leadership teams, Kumar said, "Road pe aake rehna padega, pehle hi itni kam milti hai (I'll have to start living on the street, anyway I earn so little).
"While the remark was made lightly, it serves to highlight the widening gap between the pays of private and public sector bankers in India.According to State Bank of India's annual report disclosures, Kumar's annual remuneration stood at Rs 29,53,750 for the financial year 2019.
In comparison, the largest private bank in the country HDFC Bank, which manages less than one-third of SBI's assets, paid its chief executive officer over Rs 55 crore for the financial year 2019.
The stark difference between compensations paid to public and private sector bank chiefs has existed for a long time. PSBs however enjoy perks like residential accommodation at prime locations, which their private counterparts may not necessarily receive.
Several experts, committees and more recently the Bank Board Bureau have suggested changes to the compensation structure of public sector bankers, but the gap has only widened over the last few years.