On Friday, most state-owned bank stocks rose. For a few of them, the rise was spectacular. For instance, the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) stock jumped 6.
Last week, the Indian National Congress at the Maharashtra assembly submitted a breach of privilege notice against State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya for “insulting farmers and the House” by her remarks on farm loan waiver. The leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, was upset with Bhattacharya because she “did not apologise for her remarks despite the Congress’s demand”. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have been demanding a loan waiver for around 3.
Given a choice, most branch managers of Indian banks these days would like to attend classes on how to handle angry customers where they will be taught lessons such as “never argue back”, “kill them with kindness”, “know how to apologize”, “solve their problems”, “be patient”, and so on. Millions of bank depositors are upset; they are venting their anger on social media against “unkind” banks who, they claim, have been “fleecing” customers by charging them if they exceed the limit on cash transactions at bank branches and are not able to maintain minimum balance in their accounts. The provocation for their outbursts is the decision of a few private banks to charge customers for cash deposits and withdrawals exceeding four transactions a month.
In a recent advertisement looking for probationary officers, the State Bank of India (SBI)—“the banker to every Indian”—has used a photograph of its chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, a 1977 batch probationary officer. It says “every leader is a beginner somewhere”. Typically, most SBI chiefs are home-grown; they start their career as probationary officers.
U.K. Sinha’s six-year term (with two extensions) as head of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) ends on Wednesday.