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'We will soon foray into asset management'
Anita Bhoir in Mumbai | July 31, 2007 14:47 IST
P Jayendra Nayak, a former bureaucrat, moved to UTI Bank [Get Quote] as a director in 1999. Today, the bank under his leadership has grown the business to around Rs 1,02,000 crore (Rs 1,020 billion) and has a market capitalisation of Rs 21,817 crore (Rs 218.17 billion) as on July 27, 2007, making it the fifth largest in India. In an interview to Business Standard on the eve of the bank's rechristening to Axis Bank, Nayak talks about his vision for the bank in the next two years. Excerpts:
The UTI brand name was given to us by the promoters. The name has grown on us. The change in name is on account of several shareholder-unrelated entities using the UTI brand and the consequent brand confusion.
The new name, Axis Bank, will give us a brand of our own. We will run a strong communication campaign over the year as UTI Bank metamorphoses into Axis Bank. The aim is to say nothing has changed except the name. In six months from now, everyone will forget that we were called UTI Bank.
Axis is a line of reference around which everything is measured. It is a nice name and not used by any bank. Indians are fond of mathematics and we see this name getting easily adapted. It also transcends geographical boundaries. We are looking forward to creating and strengthening the brand identity.
The bank has grown in strength. I think in business, where technology and relationships are important, the bank is among the top-three players. Be it the automated teller machine sharing, cash management or debt syndication business, we are among the top-three players.
We will look at growing all the three businesses -- retail, corporate and rural. We have seen no slowdown in our retail growth. The bank has seen the fastest growth of current and savings accounts in the last seven years. We have grown consistently at 30 per cent for seven-and-a-half years.
As we become Axis Bank, we have raised Rs 4,534 crore (Rs 45.34 billion) of capital, which has raised our capital adequacy to 19 per cent. This positions us strongly to meet the needs of the corporate industry and fuel the growth of the bank.
The quality of our portfolio is very good. We will continue to grow as we see a healthy pipeline of proposals. Of the country's 600 districts, we plan to reach 450 districts in the next two-and-a-half years as urban centres are saturated. The overseas operations are also crucial to the bank's growth. We have four foreign offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai.
The bank has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote] and the regulator in the United Arab Emirates to set up a representative office. Three years from today, we expect our international banking business to be around 15 per cent of the bank's total business.
Will the next logical step for Axis Bank be to metamorphose into a conglomerate?
Now that we have raised the capital, we will be able to diversify into newer business lines, the first foray being an asset management company. The AMC will launch its first private equity fund dedicated to infrastructure shortly.
The fund will be raised in two tranches. As we become bigger, we will look at diversifying into businesses that will complement the banking franchise.
Our aim will be to grow the bank's profitability, gain strength in many businesses and maintain the quality of our books.