Rajat Monga, the senior group president and former chief financial officer at the troubled lender Yes Bank, has quit, chief executive Ravneet Gill said on Thursday.
The announcement came during a conference call with investors and analysts following a heavy plunge in the bank’s share price over the past few sessions.
The bank scrip had dipped to historic lows and lost 22% of its value just on Tuesday to close at a low ₹32, down from a high of ₹404 in August 2018 when RBI asked Rana Kapoor to leave the bank. Gill’s comments before the markets opened lifted the stock, though, rallying over 24% on the BSE, whose benchmark was down around 0.3%.
Gill made the announcement in response to a query on why Monga, the long-time No 2 at the bank since the days when it was headed by the expelled promoter-chief executive Rana Kapoor, was missing from the concall.
"Rajat has decided to move on. For the past two years he has been carrying a lot of load and needed some time off…so has decided to leave," Gill said.
Gill, who replaced Kapoor in March following the latter’s term being cut short by the RBI over governance issues and under-reporting of bad loans, said the possibility of Monga taking a sabbatical was also discussed but he decided to move on.
"He just felt that he was at that stage of his life and career where he needed to step back, reassess his future course personally and professionally," Gill said.
The disclosure of the resignation comes at a time when the Kapoor family’s holding in the bank has come to very low levels — under 2% from a high of a little over 13% in August 2018, following the sale of 3.92% holding by an asset manager with whom the holding was pledged as a security.
Meanwhile, Gill tried to assuage investor concerns asserting that the share price is not much related with the fundamentals.
“The fall in share price is not reflective of the core operating performance of the bank which I can assure you is strong and robust," he claimed, adding the liquidity and capital positions are much above the mandatory thresholds.
The bank, which is known for high growth, is consolidating and taking a measured growth approach, Gill added.
He said a few key officials, who continue to be associated with the lender, have sold their personal holdings due to issues of loans that they would have taken to buy the employee stock options and added that these actions have nothing to do with their commitment to the bank.
Replying to a query on depositor concerns in the wake of a reduction in deposit base, Gill said this has to be seen in the context of a shrinking asset base, and noted that it added 1.80 lakh new accounts during the September quarter. But its balance sheet has shrunk by over 4 per cent now over last year.
The new deposits are also up 13 per cent quarter-on-quarter, he said.
The bank is engaged in regular discussions with the RBI and the finance ministry, and both of them want a “strong and independent" Yes Bank, Gill said, answering a query on whether a merger has ever been discussed.
The bank is on the lookout for capital either from a private equity investor or a strategic investor or family office, he said.
The asset quality issues it is facing are made partly difficult by the challenging macroeconomic environment and the bank does not anticipate any troubles cropping up in the portfolio, chief risk officer Ashish Agarwal said.
The bank scrip was trading 27.77 per cent up at ₹39.60 at 1210 hours on the BSE as against a 0.40 per cent correction on the benchmark.