Shanti Ekambaram has been keeping a busy schedule ever since coronavirus hit India. As Group President, Consumer Banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank, she managed to keep 95 per cent of branches open during lockdown. In between, she was also guiding her NGO for autistic kids to move to Zoom classes, besides sticking to her thrice a week fitness training regime. "The last six months have taught us how to change mindsets and behaviours, whether it was our employees or our customers," says Ekambaram. The bank also had the first-mover advantage when it launched fully digital, zero-contact savings and deposit accounts during the lockdown. "Our focus is digital in acquiring, engaging, transacting and servicing our customers."
She is managing a portfolio of over Rs 80,000 crore with a focus on savings, protection, investments, retail lending and transactions. "We have a strategy to build the portfolio brick by brick. The areas of growth are secured retail, especially home loan, loan against property (LAP) for business banking, working capital etc," she says. Home loan and LAP constitute about 22 per cent of the bank's book, and offer a huge runway for growth. Under her leadership, the bank has managed to secure the highest CASA ratio of 56.7 per cent. "Our cost of fund is one of the lowest in the industry," says Ekambaram.