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Banks Board Bureau to interview four SBI MDs for Chairman post on August 28

Ashwani Bhatia, who took charge as one of the MDs of SBI on Monday and three existing MDs — Dinesh Khara, Arijit Basu and CS Setty — will be attending the virtual interview.

Written by George Mathew | Mumbai | Updated: August 25, 2020 11:30:31 am
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The Banks Board Bureau (BBB), the body tasked with the selection of chiefs of public sector banks and insurance companies, will interview the four managing directors (MDs) of State Bank India (SBI) to select the bank’s new Chairman on August 28.

Ashwani Bhatia, who took charge as one of the MDs of SBI on Monday and three existing MDs — Dinesh Khara, Arijit Basu and CS Setty — will be attending the virtual interview. The tenure of the current Chairman Rajnish Kumar will end on October 7. Kumar was appointed for a period of three years from October 7.

Incidentally, Basu’s tenure as MD of SBI will also end in October. The BBB will be conducting interviews for a new MD at a later stage. While the Bureau — headed by Bhanu Pratap Sharma, former Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training — will meet the four MDs, it is still not clear whether the Centre will give an extension to Kumar. Speculation is rife that he might be considered for an extension as the bank will be busy tackling the COVID-related stress in the banking sector. As the moratorium on loan repayments will end on August 31, SBI is now working out the modalities of retail and small loan restructuring.

Apart from Sharma, other members of the BBB include former DFS Secretary Debasish Panda, DPE Secretary Shri Sailesh, former RBI Deputy Governor NS Vishwanathan, former Credit Suisse vice chairman and MD Vedika Bhandarkar, former SBI MD Panja Pradeep Kumar and former Crisil MD Pradip Shah. The person selected by the BBB will have to be approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

Bhatia, who took charge as the fourth MD of SBI Monday, would be responsible for the IT and Stressed Assets Resolution Group (SARG) in his new role. Prior to his appointment, he was MD and CEO of SBI Funds Management.

The new chairman will have to tackle the menace of non-performing assets (NPAs) as the economy is in contraction due to the COVID pandemic. The gross NPAs were at 5.44 per cent of advances (Rs 1,29,661 crore) as of June 2020.

As on June 30, the state-owned lender has a deposit base of over Rs. 34 lakh crore with CASA ratio of more than 45 per cent and advances of nearly Rs 24 lakh crore. The largest bank in the country, SBI commands nearly 34 per cent market share in home loans and nearly 33 per cent in the auto loans segment.

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