Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Event - CW - A Talk on Role of Banks in Agri, Commodity & Rural Economy by Executive Vice President, HDFC Bank, Mr. P.V. Ananthakrishnan

“Change is the only constant” – This constant state has brought a lot of positive growth for rural India. The Indian rural economy is booming! The role of managers in this scenario has gained a never before importance. The new dimension to dynamically changing management was added to the future managers of DoMS, IIT Madras by none other than Mr. P.V. Ananthakrishnan (Executive Vice President, HDFC Bank). The topic in spotlight was “Role of Banks in Agri, Commodity & Rural Economy”.
(Mr. P.V. Ananthakrishnan, Executive Vice President, HDFC Bank, delivering a lecture on Role of Banks in Agri, Commodity & Rural Economy)

Mr. Ananthakrishnan is a seasoned banker with more than twenty five years of work experience in public & private banks. He is a well known name in commercial banking area. His association with HDFC bank goes way back from 1995. He won laurels in the banking sector by setting up capital market business for HDFC bank.

The agenda of the discussion included commodity markets, future & spot market. Changing role of bankers and rural banking was also discussed.

Sixty five percent of India is related to agriculture. This massive figure calls for a thrust to cut across and rise above the constraints, bias and gaps hindering the growth of backbone of our economy. This change can only be possible through “Innovation”.

The Indian mindset has always been inclined towards manipulations, predictions and some calculated risk – the name of the game (in business context) - trading. Futures trading with respect to price discovery, price risk management, hedging, price dissemination & balancing supply – demand has gained importance. The new face of future trading is adapting itself to changes in weather & other dynamic variables. There also exists a causal relationship between future trading and politics. The advent of elections has always created a huge impact on the fluctuation of prices either logically or beyond rationality!

Mr. Ananthakrishnan also spoke about the importance of forecasting for the seed sowing preferences to Indian farmer. Commodity markets in India is witnessing a never before phenomenal growth. The figure now touches the skies with a 4000000 crores business annually. The long value chain of commodity market is now trimmed down by czars of modern trade, establishing a new role for bankers to play. The role is famously called – “the Catalyst”. Thus banks help in clearing, depository services, information dissemination, aggregating, trading & advisory services.

Speaking on the challenges to the future markets, Mr. Ananthakrishnan created awareness about the broad basing of volumes, political sensitivity, speculative volume, regulated developments & contract farming.

During the discussion a new form of finance emerged out. It’s famously called “structured finance”. Mr. Ananthakrishnan defined it as – “the art of transferring the risks from parties less able to bear the risk to those more equipped to bear it”. Thus rural banking is the area to be concentrated by young managers. It poses huge challenges like the enforcement of lender’s rights, high dependency & lack of commercial approach. The challenges can only be handled effectively by well equipped future managers. Mr. Ananthakrishnan was quite successful in generating the first spark about rural banking in the young managerial minds.

Prashant Saxena
(MBA Batch of 2008)

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