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BW Businessworld

Editor's Letter: The Bold And The Best

BW Businessworld's much-awaited Annual Best Banks’ Survey, with the Knowledge Support of PwC, is into its 9th edition, lauding the best in the business

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”— Thomas Jefferson
Our Banking Special comes at a time when Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is reviewing the performance of public sector banks. Our much-awaited Annual Best Banks’ Survey, with the Knowledge Support of PwC, is into its 9th edition, lauding the best in the business. The exercise involves exhaustive data crunching from banks’ balance sheets, but numbers say only so much. So, we put the data before an eminent jury of finance professionals, who also bring in their qualitative judgment into the evaluation.

What has come across in surveys all through these years – and this year was no different – is that private banks dominate the winners list and within them, a handful - who make it to the podium. This is not a good sign. To lift the multitudes out of poverty and generate jobs by the millions, our banks must be healthy and strong to fuel growth at 10 per cent annually - especially our staterun banks, which have a 70 per cent market share. What is worrisome is that their share of the pie is shrinking fast, on an incremental basis. It is the private banks which are gaining ground.

An area of acute concern is the bad-loan mountain on banks’ books – a big stumbling block to growth. The asset quality review (AQR) of banks by Mint Road has brought out significant discrepancies in the reported levels of impairment of loans and actual position. Such under-reporting of dud-loans can trip growth in a big way. The AQR aimed to better recognise dudloans, but has had an adverse impact on the profitability of banks in the short term. It will be a while before banks breathe easy. Please read the in-depth analysis of banks and the emerging topography by Deputy Editor, Raghu Mohan and Senior Associate Editor, Clifford Alvares.

Our Best Banks’ Survey for the year 2015-16 culminates into the Magna awards 2017. Our next edition of Best Banks (for the year 2016-17) will be in January 2018, followed immediately by the Magna awards. The banking winners, profiled in this issue, will be awarded the Magna awards on June 16 in Mumbai.

We carry forward the package offered in our last issue, which incidentally, was a resounding success - and bring more voices on Narendra Modi’s three-year tenure as Prime Minister. Skills & Entrepreneurship Minister, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, outlines the roadmap for his ministry in a conversation with Deputy Editor Suman K. Jha and Senior Special Correspondent, Himani Chandna. In a special report, Clifford Alvares, looks at India Inc.’s corporate performance in the 2017 fiscal, which is nothing short of stellar. Does this have anything to do with PM Modi’s leadership? We let you decide. To dispel the debate on the reliability of economic data, Correspondent Naina Sood picks the mind of the country’s chief statistician, T. C. A. Anant. Anant says that the data and methodologies used in India are extremely transparent.

Noor Fathima Warsia, BW Editor Marketing & Advertising, looks at Mary Meeker’s annual global Internet trends, and why Meeker calls India “the most fascinating Internet market of the world”. Senior Associate Editor Ashish Sinha, in a well-researched piece, asks whether baby food, nutrition and dairy segments can help Danone double its India business.

BW Hotelier Executive Editor, Bikramjit Ray, scrutinises the controversy over the ouster of Rakesh Sarna from Taj Hotels. Correspondent Anurit Kanti anchors a special package on saving the earth, in deference to the World Environment Day. Eminent journalist and columnist Chaitanya Kalbag begins his regular column with this issue. Deputy Editor Suman K. Jha debuts with his column, “Hearttalk”.

Happy reading!