Recently, Bank of Baroda India’s Executive Director, Mayank Mehta, was on a whirlwind trip to New Zealand to chair the Board meetings of its wholly-owned subsidiary Bank of Baroda New Zealand.

The visit of the Executive Director, which was more of a dash, as he landed in Wellington in the morning and was in Auckland late afternoon, and was, scheduled to fly back to India later in the night, appeared more like a scene from a popular Hollywood movie.

However, Mr Mehta was able to achieve all goals behind this quick dash to the land of Aotearoa as he expressed later in an exclusive interview with The Indian Weekender.

The fact that Mr Mehta was able to find some time out of his highly packed diary and speak with The Indian Weekender on some important issues regarding the overall well-being and general health of the Indian Banking sector and Bank of Baroda NZ’s growth strategies for the next fiscal is of much value.

In a brief conversation with The Indian Weekender, Mr Mehta told us about the performance of the bank in New Zealand and what are the new products coming up for the Kiwi Indian community in New Zealand.

IWK: Is it your first visit to New Zealand?

Mayank Mehta: Actually, I am on the board of Bank of Baroda, New Zealand subsidiary and it’s my second visit since September last year, and I have managed to come so far only on a short trip for such meetings.

BOB Executive Director Mayank Mehta in conversation with The Indian Weekender at BOB Dominion Road Branch (IWK Picture)

IWK: Given that your visit is happening at such a crucial time can you tell us more about the general health of the entire banking sector in India?

Mr Mehta: (Smiles) Banking sector is in good shape. A lot of activity is going in the banking system in India; you must have heard about the capitalisation plan of the government, it has been very supportive of the banking industry. The only challenge banks are facing now is asset management. I think legal reforms are also happening now so hopefully; it will help banks recover assets in shortest possible time. The future is bright for us. The budget announcement is also encouraging for banks to particularly grow in the agricultural sector, rural India and also to promote ‘Make in India’ programme of government. Digitalisation is another key area, and all the banks have been very actively engaging in this area.

Our Prime Minister is excited about ‘Make in India’ programme, and the entire attention of the world is towards India, to invest into the Indian market as it is the safest and right place to invest which will help future growth

IWK: There have been a lot of reforms in the financial and capital sector in India, what is your take in that? Is it taking Indian economy in the right direction?

Mr Mehta: Yes, today if you see, the government, our Prime Minister is excited about ‘Make in India’ programme, and the entire attention of the world is towards India, to invest into the Indian market as it is the safest and right place to invest which will help future growth.

IWK: What is your vision for Bank of Baroda NZ for the next two quarters?

Mr Mehta: BOB NZ operations started seven years ago, and our achievement is very satisfactory so far.  It is a clean bank, no NPA, it’s a profit-making Bank, and we would like to expand. The idea going forward would be to introduce new products that suit the local market, local business, to add some saving scheme products, support more export-related activities, and agriculture-related too. The CEO of BOB NZ is working on a strategy and will be developing a 5-year plan. Our objective is to grow in this space.

 

IWK: What is the timeframe for the new products to come out for the Kiwi Indians?

Mr Mehta: A few of the products are purely based on technology, and surely that can be introduced in the next one-year time.

IWK: How does BOB see this Kiwi-Indian market in your larger global strategy?

Mr Mehta: As you know we are operating in 23 countries, and have 106 branches, we claim that BOB never sleeps. NZ is one of the strategic locations to grow business and contribute to the overall balance sheet of the bank. NZ and Australia are really going to be the key places for our strategic growth.