Mid-sized private sector lender Yes Bank is betting big on retail growth and has embarked on an aggressive hiring strategy by roping in senior experienced people from competition, to drive the segment targeted to expand by 40%.
The bank which also plans to launch its credit card business in April, has already hired about 10 people including Padhmanabhan Kumar who will be the new chief operating officer and senior group president (operations and service delivery). Neeraj Dhawan is the new group president and chief risk officer for retail and business banking, while Rajan Pental, a former business head at HDFC Bank, has been brought in as the new group head for retail lending.
Most of the new senior hires at Yes Bank are from top private banks namely HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.
The senior executive appointments are a prelude to the over 3,000 people that Yes Bank plans to hire for the retail business in the current year, a growth of over a third from the current tally of 10,000 employees in retail, said Pralay Mondal, senior group president for retail and business banking.
“We will increase our headcount by 30% in a year’s time. We’ll have about 13,000 in retail itself including our branch expansion. In senior management, we will hire at least 20-30 people…reasonably good names from the industry,” Mondal added.
Currently, Yes Bank’s retail and business banking portfolio is about 30% of its total book. The hiring comes even as the banking sector in India, especially state-run banks, have been facing a squeeze due to large bad corporate loans and higher provisioning, prompting most to postpone expansion plans. Private banks like Yes Bank have fared relatively better due to limited resources, stricter lending norms and smaller size.
A recent banks’ earnings preview by ICICI Securities said that loan growth at Yes Bank is estimated to remain strong led by corporate and retail buildup. “Asset quality is estimated to remain stable with slippages among the lowest among peers,” said the report, adding that profit for the third quarter could rise 19%.
Yes Bank must grow faster in retail than any other business and grow by at least 40%, said Mondal. “Retail is a knowledge-driven business, having to to be closer to the customer and delivery is a must. Though digital channel is helping faster delivery, still there is a presence required to be with the customer,” he added.
The bank will also launch its credit cards business in the first quarter to cover all retail products. Amid competition from bigger banking credit card players such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Citibank, Yes bank plans to give full-service credit card offerings in a tie-up with MasterCard.