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Bank Of Honours

The country’s top bankers came together in a celebratory mood at the Financial Express’ India’s Best Banks Awards.

Written by Ashley Coutinho |
September 21, 2011 12:52:47 am

Financial Express’ India’s Best Bank Awards held last week in Mumbai celebrated the resilience of the banking industry

The country’s top bankers came together in a celebratory mood on Saturday at the Financial Express’ India’s Best Banks Awards which,over the years,has come to be regarded as the gold standard in recognising excellence in the banking industry. Bankers and business people from across the industry applauded the achievements of their colleagues and contemporaries as Union Finance Minister,Pranab Mukherjee,and Chief Minister of Maharashtra,Prithviraj Chavan,did the honours. Dr PJ Nayak,MD and country head,Morgan Stanley,walked away with the Lifetime Achievement Award while Nandan Nilekani,Chairman,UIDAI,was felicitated for innovation,and Keki Mistry,VC and CEO,HDFC,won the Banker of the Year award. Having blocked their diaries well in advance,bankers braved the challenging Mumbai traffic to make it to the event. They were not disappointed. The panel discussion on the impact of new banking licenses was a treat; the audience listened with rapt attention as the debate grew more intense. Bankers felt that the topic on RBI’s guidelines on banking licences was well-chosen and timely. “It was a well-rounded discussion,” observed Mastek founder Ashank Desai,an industry outsider,a regular at the event. “The discussion was short and I enjoyed interacting with the audience,” said Shikha Sharma,MD & CEO,Axis Bank,and one of the panelists. The setting was just right for bankers to raise a toast to the successes of their peers; acknowledging in unison the triumphs of an industry that has proved its resilience time and again and seems well-prepared to weather any global financial storm. Although the mood was one of celebration,a recurring theme of the evening was the need for inclusive growth,an aspect amply stressed upon by Mukherjee. What made the evening memorable,were the little anecdotes and asides. Shekhar Gupta,editor-in-chief of the Express Group,narrated an incident bringing to the fore the finance minister’s sense of humour. Years ago,recalled Gupta,when Mukherjee was handed down the first draft of the Common Minimum Programme with its first two pages missing,he had quipped: “Even Lord Brahma with Kuber in his pocket will not be able to implement this (draft).”

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