Business Today

Relationship builder

Rahul Sachitanand        Print Edition: May 15, 2011

Moving from an AC cab to an autorickshaw and finally going on foot, Uday Sareen took more than an hour combing Old Delhi's alleys to reach the office of one of the city's largest commodities' traders.

A little over 18 months after the career Citibanker had moved to ING Vysya Bank, he was getting to know some of its most valuable customers first hand. Unlike upscale customers in south Mumbai or Lutyen's Delhi, this trader was a bit conventional - he would talk business only after he had served tea and snacks.

Impressed by Sareen, the trader not only extended his deal with ING Vysya but referred Sareen to 12 others. Sareen nearly did not make it to banking. After a degree in electronics engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, he was about to join Wipro Systems, as Wipro Ltd was then called, when he decided to head for the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University. Citibank took him from there. Sareen, now 40, worked in all the five metros with Citibank, handling wealth management, retail banking and the Suvidha programme for ATMs and debit cards, over 10 years.

His next career move, to ING Vysya, then hardly known on the national stage, was an eye-opening experience. "We didn't see ING Vysya on a single competition slide at Citibank," he admits. It is not as if ING Vysya did not have its pockets of strength. "The challenge was to turnaround its lossmaking consumer business, overhaul its branding and transform it into a national player," he says.

"We now want to be among the top five private banks in India."

Uday Sareen,
40, Country Head, Retail Banking, ING Vysya Bank
Been there:
Was in the Citibank team that launched Suvidha in India
Done that: Transformed ING Vysya from a south India-based bank into a national player
Anecdote: Had to sit down to fiery meals with chilli traders in Guntur to win their trust and business
Other passions: Theatre, right from his BITS, Pilani, days. Many of his friends from those days are now in the movies

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