Mumbai: Ajay Bimbhet, who has been spearheading Deutsche Bank’s retail banking foray in India, has resigned, the fourth senior executive involved in retail banking toresign from the bank in recent weeks.
According to a Deutsche Bank executive who didn’t want to be named, Bimbhet is set to join as the CEO of Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co Ltd. “He has resignedtoday (Tuesday) but will remain with the bank until the end of August.
“His appointment at Royal Sundaram is awaiting the clearance of the insurance sector regulator,” the executive said. Bimbhet couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Bimbhet, who was managing director, private and business clients, joined the bank in April 2005, six months before the bank launched its retail banking operations in India.
Apart from Bimbhet, in the past few weeks, Murali Nair, head of cards; Amrish Acharya, director, commercial;and Ashish Dikshit, head of private banking (sales), have quit. While Nair is headed to Barclays Bank (Middle East), Acharya and Dikshit are to join Cuttes Bank in Singapore.
The resignations of senior executives come at a time when competition is heating up in retail banking. In May, UK-based Barclays Bank Plc announced a retail foray into India, with products including personal loans and credit cards.
Others, such as Citibank India and HSBC India, are also aggressively tapping the retail segment through various products, competing with domestic players such as ICICI Bank Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd.
Deutsche Bank India launched its retail operations in November 2005. In 2006, it incurred a loss of Rs100 crore in its retail operations, said one Deutsche Bank executive who did not wish to be named.
A Deutsche Bank spokesperson said the retail division employs 900 people and the bank is strengthening the division by hiring senior executives. The bank has recently appointed Pankaj Narain of Fortis Private Banking, Singapore, as head of private clients and Vikas Agnihotri of Standard Chartered Bank as commercial director, advisory services.
Deutsche Bank India, which operates out of eight branches in India (in Gurgaon, Noida, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore), posted a profit of Rs218.22 crore for the year ended March, a 73% rise from the previous year.
The bank’s German parent has recently infused Rs1,125 crore of fresh capital in its Indian operations.
It has about 100,000 customer accounts and has issued 250,000 credit cards. Two retail products that the bank has been pushing aggressively in India are mortgages and personal loans.
While the exact size of the retail book is not known, the bank has disbursed about Rs250 crore worth of personal loans to date.