Indian banks need to be well-funded to tap growth: Citi chief
Hailing Indian banks for their "great job", Citigroup chief Vikram Pandit Wednesday said they need to be well-capitalised and prepared to exploit a "lot of growth left" in the economy.
"I must say Indian banking system is doing a great job. It has got a robust regulatory system; the processes are perfect and the financial inclusion model there is also very good," Pandit, who is one of the co-chairs of the World Economic Forum annual meeting this year here, said.
When asked for suggestions for transforming the Indian financial system, the India-origin top banker said, "... make sure that the banks have access to required capital. A majority of banks in India are state-owned and the government should do something to ensure capital availability to the banks".
In the opening press conference for the five-day meeting, Pandit said the Indian economy has a growth potential which the banks should be prepared to take advantage of.
"If I look at bigger issues, we need to keep in mind that there is lot of growth left in India and the banking system needs to remain prepared for that," he noted.
Pandit also related the theme of the meeting 'The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models' with his own bank. He said the Citigroup itself has undergone transformation.
About financial inclusion in India, he said the Citigroup is doing good work alongside the company led by Paul Polman (Unilever CEO who is also co-chair of the meeting). The two companies together were taking financial systems to remote villages through mobile technology and other measures.
On the global scenario, Pandit said the single biggest issue was of job-creation, both in developed and developing markets.
He said 400 million new jobs could be needed to be generated in next 10 years.
Pandit said that it was time for re-commitment towards globalisation to set up a strong banking system, a partnership between private and public sector.
For financial sector also, it was important to rebuild the trust that has been lost during the crisis.
"We, at Citi are going back to basics. We are telling ourselves that banks have to serve the clients and not themselves," he said.
Further, he pointed out that the bankers at Citi before any transaction is required to ask whether it was right for the client and whether it would add value, while remaining within the sphere of a fair banking system.