India’s largest Urban Co-operative Bank gears up for polls

The man behind Saraswat Bank’s unprecedented growth is its current Chairman, Shri Ekanath Thakur, whose astute leadership for a decade has made the Bank a leader in the co-operative banking sector.

Online PR News – 29-July-2011 – – Bangalore, July 27, 2011: Saraswat Bank, which has grown its balance sheet size by nearly six times and has achieved a total business level of over Rs 28,000 crore in the past 10 years to become India’s largest Urban Co-operative Bank, is now gearing up for its crucial elections on August 6, 2011 to select new 16 members on its Board.
Largest among the 1,750 urban co-operative banks in India, Saraswat Bank was established in 1918 and has consistently earned ‘A’ class for 93 years and has been a profit-making and dividend-paying Bank since its existence. For the last seven years, it is also a 0% Net NPA Bank. It also has a wholly-owned IT subsidiary - Saraswat Infotech Ltd. The 226 odd branches of the Bank spread over six states – Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, are now a delight to visit in terms of ambience as well as bouquet of services offered to the customers. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has now given a green signal to Saraswat Bank to extend its area of operation from the present six states to the entire country, making it a truly All-India Bank.
Come August 6, the 1,68,000 members of Saraswat Bank will vote for 16 new Board members at 200 polling stations across the country and will be monitored by an independent Returning Officer. Out of these 16 members, 10 are from Mumbai, 4 from the rest of the state and 2 from rest of India.
The remarkable growth story of Saraswat Bank has been achieved through a systematic business plan, backed fully by the officers and employees at all levels. The glorious achievements of the Bank in the past ten years of the new millennium have been due to the strong leadership of Shri Ekanath Thakur, the current Chairman of the Bank and former MP (Rajya Sabha) and strong team of Board of Directors who are bankers, chartered accountants, economists, businessmen and banking professionals.
Shri Ekanath Thakur’s vision and business acumen brought unprecedented progress to the Bank. And the figures say it all. Consider this:
Total Business: While the Saraswat Bank’s total business reached Rs 4,623.19 crore in its first 83 years, the number jumped to over Rs 28,000 crore in the past 10 years.
Deposits: Since the inception of Saraswat Bank (1918-2001), the deposits reached a level of Rs 2,817.76 crore. But during the past 10 years, the deposits grew to Rs 15,800.96 crore.
Advances: From Rs 1,805.43 crore in first 83 years, they jumped to Rs 11, 511.99 crore by March 2011.
Shri Ekanath Thakur also infused tremendous enthusiasm amongst the employees as the business per employee increased sharply from Rs 2.57 crore (between1918-2001) to a whopping Rs 8.18 crore per employee in the past decade. This steep rise was achieved inspite of large-scale mergers, which led to the absorption of staff of the merged banks and the recruitment of new staff. And this is not all; the net profit per employee also grew from a mere Rs 1.30 lakh after first 83 years to a high of Rs 6.36 lakh now.
Also, the gross NPA, which was at 9.85 per cent in 2001, was brought down to 1.80 per cent by March 2011 thanks to a strong recovery mechanism and efficient credit appraisal and monitoring, which resulted in higher percentage of quality assets. The Bank has also maintained zero per cent net NPA since 2005, despite the gross NPAs of seven merged banks, which Saraswat Bank fully provided for.
The last decade saw accelerated expansion under Shri Ekanath Thakur, with the number of branches growing three-fold from 72 as of March 2001 to 226 as of March 2011. With such a pace, the Bank is easily slated to exceed its target of total of 250 branches before the end of calendar year 2011 and a total of 500 branches by March 31, 2016. Correspondingly, the business per branch has also grown from Rs 64.21 crore in 2001 to Rs 126.45 crore in the last decade.The high point of Shri Ekanath Thakur’s tenure has been the complete corporate makeover of the Bank as it moved into its own new, swanky state-of-the-art corporate centre - ‘Saraswat Bank Bhavan’ at Prabhadevi, the city’s new down town, last September.
The 75,000 sq. ft. sprawling, seven-storeyed structure is an architectural delight, using natural light and is a unique blend of green ambience and latest technology. Today, the Bank has transitioned itself from an old-generation Bank to a modern, 21st century Bank. Saraswat Bank Bhavan is a symbol of the changing face of the co-operative banking sector - embracing the changing organizational ethics and improvising its functions to suit modern day banking.
The Saraswat Bank works on a core-banking platform, SWIFTCORE, which is owned by the Bank’s own subsidiary. Brand Saraswat Bank is getting stronger every passing day with its bright new glowing logo that demonstrates the growing change in the outlook of the management. In the poll fray once again, Shri Ekanath Thakur’s victory is a foregone conclusion since only two nomination papers have been filed against his panel of 16 nominees. “This is the acme of achievement in the co-operative sector, which is parallel to our political democracy. The support to my panel is unanimous. Members are voting not only for me and my panel, but they are voting for the continuous, unprecedented growth we have achieved in the past 10 years.”