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Quality of customer service is the greatest differentiator when it comes to choosing a bank, says this AIMETC alumnus

Kotak Mahindra Senior Manager Jumit Kumar says riding on government incentives, MSMEs are fuelling India’s growth engine

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Apeejay Institute of Management & Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC) alumnus Jumit Kumar is Senior Manager-Working Capital with Kotak Mahindra Bank, based in Bengaluru. After his MBA from AIMETC, he forayed into the insurance sector with SBI Life Insurance, before going on to work with ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra. In a wide-ranging interview, Kumar recounts the life lessons that he picked up in management school, the mantra for being a successful new-age banker and how Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), are fuelling India’s growth engine. Edited excerpts:

Please share the highlights of your educational and professional journey so far.

After doing my schooling at a number of places including Delhi, Tripura and Rajasthan, I wanted to pursue my postgraduate degree from a reputed management college and that is why I enrolled at the Apeejay Institute of Management & Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC), in 2014. During my MBA, I got a campus placement in SBI Life Insurance as a Business Development Executive. I worked there for about two years. In this time period I got promoted twice, first to Business Development Manager and then to Senior Business Development Manager.  Subsequently, I moved to ICICI Bank as Commodity Manager, Credit and Policy Group, in their internal audit department, stationed in Panipat, Haryana. After two years in the department, I worked for three years in ICICI’s Business Loans department, based in Bengaluru, where I shifted in 2019. These days, my current assignment is as Senior Manager-Working Capital with Kotak Mahindra Bank.

During your school days, did you think you would venture into a career in finance and banking?

In a way, when I chose to pursue Commerce after my class 10, I had already developed an interest in the nuances of Accountancy. After my campus placement, I made my foray into the insurance sector and it was a great learning ground. No doubt insurance is perceived by many in the market as a negative product. But I feel it is like a bitter pill that is effective in the long run. After my stint in insurance, I made a transition to banking.

What is the mantra for being a successful new-age banker?

For the past few years, the lines between public and private banks have been blurring. In this new dynamic, success is determined by the product that you are offering. If a bank is able to exhibit a high standard of services to the customer, it can be successful. Every bank, including established players such as SBI and ICICI, are offering a range of digital products to their clients, whether it is individual customers or small businesses or large corporate houses. I am working in the corporate funding department at present.

Aggressive tele-marketing of loans is an everyday occurrence for most of us? Please tell us about the competitive personal loan space in the banking sector.

The competition within banking is increasing by the hour. Personal loans are one of the highest selling products for most banks. With lifestyles becoming better and aspirations rising, most individuals seek handy liquidity. Yes, multiple banks may call a single person offering him or her loans but the ones who offer better quality of service to their customers will succeed. With a uniform repo rate and competitive interest rates, quality of customer service becomes the greatest differentiator while choosing a bank. It is also crucial when it comes to retaining your customers. Whenever you visit a private bank, a relationship manager will address all your banking requirements, whether it is a personal loan, or insurance, an automobile loan, home loan, working capital loan or a commercial loan.  

In your current role as senior manager, business banking, what is your job profile?

In this department, we are supporting all the MSMEs with a turnover that may range from Rs 10 crore to Rs 500 crore. The beneficiary can be a retail trader, or a wholesaler or a manufacturer. We provide working capital opportunities to each of them in the form of overdraft facilities, term loans, export credit and cash credit etc. My job responsibility doesn’t involve cold calling. We need to have a strong reference before we meet a customer.

The government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are emphasising upon providing new incentives to MSMEs. How do you perceive their contribution to India’s economy?

These days the government is providing a range of incentives to entrepreneurs in the MSME sector including a rate of interest that is 2 per cent less than that provided to non-MSME businesses. Even in term loans for overseas business, for MSMEs, the government is providing very reasonable terms. In the last few years, the economy has grown impressively and I believe that MSMEs are the engine that is fuelling this growth.

What are your memories of the time you spent in management school at AIMETC?

The years that I spent during my graduation at AIMETC for my MBA in Accounting and Finance were amazing. The facilities on the campus were excellent and the faculty members were so good that I still remain in touch with some of them such as the director Mr Rajesh Bagga. I also remember Rupali Batra Ma’am and Kanchan Ma’am fondly. Rajnish Arya Sir imparted a lot of hands-on practical knowledge to the students, which made us industry-ready.  

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected] He tweets @Aasheesh74

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