The sea will inevitably create storms, but ships were not meant to stay in the harbour. Going out there and boldly facing the challenges is essential for reaping rewards. Experienced crew persevere and navigate through all the storms in their path, drawing upon their determination and dexterity.
Over three decades, the Kotak Group has successfully navigated many storms under the guidance of its leadership, most of whom have been with the Group for more than 20 years. The firm has not only persevered, but also prevailed over each storm, acting decisively and learning more every time. Guided by its principles of prudence, protection of capital, and setting long-term goals rather than short-term targets, Kotak Mahindra Group has become a ship capable of navigating the roughest of waters.
Kotak’s strategy has always been centred around risk-adjusted returns and a sharp focus on return of capital. These factors have contributed to business stability and led to one of the most robust portfolios in the industry, with low Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) and a strong capital position.
The Bank is taking proactive steps to strengthen itself and ensure a sustainable future. In the short term, it has tightened its lending norms and has cut operating costs. For the long-term, it is working to structurally change itself for the post-COVID world, targeting improvements in productivity, efficiency and execution.
At the heart of Kotak Mahindra Bank is its customer deposit business. It is proud to have built, over many years, a strong, stable and low-cost customer franchise. Deposit businesses are all about trust. The Bank maintains the highest standards of ethics, compliance and corporate governance, which have won the trust of its customers. Additionally, its savings account rates, despite the RBI rate cuts during the year, are still higher than those of its banking peers.
During the year under review, the Bank is delighted to have recorded a 20% growth in deposits and 44 lakh new 811 accounts. Kotak Mahindra Bank will seek, in this crisis, to prioritise the security of customers’ money and to honour their trust.
Kotak’s senior leadership team comprises 56 members across the Group with an average tenure of 19 years. Several of them have worked with the Group for more than 25 years. They have steered the Group through crises such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 global financial meltdown, and they are well-placed to steer the firm safely again through the pandemic and its fallout.
In addition to its core banking business, the Kotak Group has built and grown its network of subsidiaries with presence across the financial services spectrum. Many of these subsidiaries are low-capital, low-risk, customer franchise businesses, contributing significantly to the Group’s total profit.
At the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown, Kotak’s first priorities were its employees and customers. Bank branches operated at partial capacity with all safety protocols while most of the other staff worked from home. Safety norms will remain in place as the situation normalises. Its business continuity plan ensured that all operations remained functional for the benefit of customers. In the days since, the Bank has ensured uninterrupted services and support, backed by its digital infrastructure. As digital banking has started becoming the new normal, data protection has become need of the hour. Steps were also taken to safeguard customers, especially those new to digital, from online fraud.