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SAGA CORNER

Rana Kapoor: The banker who showed faith in the Indian business community when the tide was rough and others had turned their backs

The year 2008-09 is known as the time of one of the greatest financial crises that loomed upon the global economy. The Indian economy was also impacted deeply and Rana Kapoor, a visionary emerged to help those in need.

More than a decade ago, the whole world faced a financial crisis. The Financial crisis of 2007-2008 was not a sudden jolt to the world, instead, it was brewing for a long time. In 2007, financial markets across the globe were brimming with signs that the reckoning was near due to a years-long binge on cheap credit. Many investors saw the worst financial crisis in nearly the past eighty years coming and also the triggering of a global recession.

The inception of the financial crisis occurred during the years of rock-bottom interest rates and loose lending standards that ultimately led to a housing price bubble in the U.S. As early as 2007, one prime lender after another started filing for bankruptcy. It was turning out to be financially and economically disastrous. The economic recession precipitated in the United States and from the beginning of the recession in December 2007 to its end in June 2009, the real GDP of the US declined by 4.3% and unemployment increased from 5% to 9.5%, reaching 10% in October 2009. The World Bank estimates that the Recession of 2008-2009 resulted in an increase in poverty of 64 million people by 2010.

India did not emerge from the global financial crisis unscathed; in fact, it was one of the biggest victims of recession-induced poverty. According to the UNDESA data, the 2.1% decline in India’s GDP growth rate turned into a 2.8% increase in the incidence of poverty.

The Indian trade community was doing no better. Industrial production increased by only 2.7%, a significant drop from the 9.2% average growth in the previous four years. This contributed to the economy growing at only 6.7%. The BSE Index, which had been rising over an extended period, lost 37.9% of its value, severely affecting household wealth and the ability of businesses to raise money in the capital market. Rising commodity prices in world markets led to a sharp increase in inflation rates. The Indian Rupee had depreciated resulting in the rise of debt service cost. To rectify the situation, India intervened in the foreign exchange market to support its currency using its foreign reserves, which declined from US$ 309.7 billion in 2007-08 to US$ 252 billion in 2008-09.

In this time of distress, Rana Kapoor, the co-founder, former Managing Director, and CEO of India’s fourth-largest private bank- Yes Bank opened the doors for India Inc. The market veteran and visionary held great hopes and visions for the country’s economy and was steadfast in his support to the Indian business community.

During the global financial crisis of 2008, while organizations were inward-looking, cutting down on costs and investments, Yes Bank under Rana Kapoor’s leadership took a contrarian approach by increasing investments across the board. While other Indian banks were cutting down on providing credit, Yes Bank was able to tap into opportunity in this adversity by converting large, highly rated companies into their customers while helping these companies tide through the challenging period. Yes Bank was able to strengthen client relationships, build its branch network, and hire highly skilled personnel thereby building value for their customers and the “Yes Bank” brand. 

Rana Kapoor is a man who has never said no to an opportunity as well as a challenge. He always believed in conquering the fear and difficulties to achieve one’s goals. He wanted to instill the same enthusiasm and determination in the minds of the people of India.

A company like Greenko- one of India’s leading Renewable Energy companies was bound to face a crisis due to a debt of INR 45 cr in 2008. Rana Kapoor and Yes Bank stepped in and offered support in terms of loans to help the company survive and grow in those difficult times. Mr. Kapoor showed immense belief and had a deep conviction in the company, Yes Bank also became the financial advisor to Greenko consequently helping it to secure fundings from various entities. Today global GREENKO is a huge company with a much higher valuation.

The risk-calculated approach taken by Rana Kapoor during the time of distress helped several large companies in India sustain and grow. As determined as ever, Rana Kapoor held the hand of numerous SMEs too which turned out to be successful. He became the savior for many and a man to look up to. Seizing the opportunity in the face of adversity, Dr. Kapoor came to be known as the ‘lender of choice’.

Yes Bank thrived consistently under Mr. Kapoor’s term. Yes Bank recorded an increase of approximately 52% in the net profits. It was ₹200.02 crores in the year 2008-09 and ₹303.84 crores in 2009-10. Even during the years of financial recession, Yes Bank showed growth and potential.

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