Persistent Banker

Zarin Daruwala is well on the path of de-risking the business model of one of the largest foreign banks in India.

By Anand Adhikari  
Monday, September 3, 2018

Ariver cuts through rock not because of its power but persistence." The quote, by author James Watkins, best describes the management mantra of Zarin Daruwala, who heads one of the largest foreign banks in India. Persistence and perseverance have been the driving force for this career ICICI banker (she headed wholesale banking there).

Daruwala's entry into Standard Chartered Bank, with assets of Rs 1.44 lakh crore, was not without difficulty. She was, after all, an outsider - all her predecessors had been promoted from within the bank. The bank was slipping big time in asset quality and profitability. There was also no support from the retail side, which other banks were growing robustly.

Now, two years into the job, the 53-year-old Daruwala is single-mindedly focused on de-risking the business by increasing the share of retail advances, improving the share of current accounts savings accounts (CASA) in total deposits, arresting deterioration in asset quality, focusing on recovery and underwriting quality corporate banking business. The results have started showing. The share of retail loans, which comprise mortgages, loan against property, credit cards and personal loans, has increased from 22 per cent to 26 per cent of advances. The target is 40 per cent. The bank has also started using digital channels and third-party sourcing for credit cards. "We now sell 25 per cent of our cards digitally," says Daruwala.

Daruwala is also increasing the share of CASA to ensure better margins. The CASA share is currently 41 per cent. Under corporate banking, she has been following the 'underwrite and syndicate' model.

Daruwala is focused on taking the entire customer journey, from onboarding and servicing to fulfillment, digital. "It's a journey. We are investing in different parts," says Daruwala, adding that she wants to take one step at a time. "We also want to see return on our investments," says Daruwala.

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