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Chanda Kochhar: For India’s Real progress

Known for shaping retail banking in India, Chanda Kochhar believes in empowering women for all-round progress

Photo Credit : Subhabrata Das


More than a banker and a mother, Chanda Kochhar is the inspiration to other women aiming at higher goals in life. In her International Women’s Day message, Kochhar urged women to aspire big. “Women’s empowerment begins with ensuring education for all women. This has to be accompanied with providing them the right skills as well as the opportunity to earn a sustainable livelihood. Of course, the most important requisite is that women themselves should aspire to have big dreams, back them up with hard work and, thereby, participate in India’s growth” she said.

The managing director and chief executive officer of one of India’s largest banks pointed out that the ICICI Bank Foundation has trained 1.2 lakh women from economically-weaker sections in various vocations, and that this number is set to rise to more than 3 lakh women in three years. Kochhar also noted that the bank not only provides skills but also access to jobs, markets and credit facilities so as to truly empower women economically.

Kochhar is known for her pivotal role in shaping the face of retail banking in the country. In 1984, she had joined the erstwhile financial institution, ICICI Limited, and rose through the ranks by the dint of hard work and dedication. In 1993, her prime responsibility was to set up the bank. Later, she headed the Infrastructure Finance and Corporate Banking divisions and, in 1999, handled strategy.

In 2000, she started building the retail business on the pillars of technology and innovation, which has seen the bank grow by leaps and bounds in the recent past. In 2009, she was elevated as ICICI Bank’s MD and CEO. The bank’s balance sheet has since doubled to Rs 7,717 billion, with standalone net profit of Rs 98 billion.

Over the years, Kochhar’s focus has been on technology and innovation, while growing the balance sheet responsibly.

For her work and contribution to banking in India and across the globe, Kochhar has bagged a sizeable share of accolades and awards. Among the more prestigious ones was the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards, in 2011. In 2015, she was featured in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential Persons in the World.’

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