Former Chairman & MD, Indian Overseas Bank

A banker who ‘touches hearts and brings smiles’

A top-notch banker, especially one who has served three different nationalized banks in various capacities, including as the Chairman and Managing Director of one, as the Chief General Manager of another and as Executive Director of a third, will be most sought after even in retirement. Many entities and committees would feel ‘honoured’ to have on their decision-making board a man possessing such remarkable credentials.

So it has been the case with Dr M Narendra, whose bio-data is the envy of every aspiring professional, especially those dreaming of making it to the top league in banking and financial sectors. Recognitions and rewards have been in the form of multiple ‘Best Banker’ awards by the crème de la crème of the industry.

Dr Narendra’s banking career has seen a steady and consistent rise. He moved out as the Chief General Manager of Corporation Bank in 2008 after having joined the institution as officer-trainee in 1975.

He joined Bank of India as its Executive Director in Chennai in 2008 and remained so till 2010 when he touched the career pinnacle as the Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) in its Chennai headquarters. He retired in that exalted position after four glorious years in 2014.

A top ranker as a law student and a meritorious product of CAIIB, Dr Narendra’s association with premier establishments, since retiring from IOB, has resulted in a win-win position for all those entities. He established value creation and emphasized the need to inculcate strict financial measures to achieve uniform growth rate while combating competition.

Qualities like boosting the productivity levels of the work-force and bringing about organizational changes played a pivotal role when he scripted an amazing turnaround in IOB fortunes. Such was his business acumen that he transformed IOB into a large bank from the mid-sized bank it was when he took over.

Dr Narendra is credited with creating the catchy tagline ‘Touching Hearts and Spreading Smiles’ to commemorate IOB’s platinum jubilee celebrations. It was so touching that the chief guest on the occasion, the then Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Duvvuri Subbarao, said IOB’s unique slogan ‘captures the essence of what we should endeavour to do as central bankers and commercial bankers.’

Driven with the motto that human resources were pivotal for the growth of banks as a whole, he not only lent a personal touch while reaching out to people and customers but also opened the floodgates for recruitments and promotions during his four fruitful years at the bank’s helm-of-affairs.

Bigger things beckoned Bank of India, when, as its Executive Director, he initiated a vastly resourceful restructuring program with an overwhelming thrust on specific business segments. He was instrumental in establishing a ‘Credit Rating Cell’ under the Risk Management department in order to ensure independent internal credit rating validation.

During his long stint with Corporation Bank, he played a major role in the implementation of the bank’s credit policy and was the backbone of the policies for real estate and SME advances apart from devising viable ‘Credit Risk Mitigation’ measures.

A hallmark of his distinguished career is that he has not only served as Director of several companies with distinction but continues to be Director of a whole lot of industry leaders like Mahindra Rural Housing Finance Limited, Adani Enterprises Limited, Viswaat Chemicals Limited, and Man Industries (India) Limited, to name just a few from a long list.

Dr Narendra’s business mantra is simple-Expertise in creating strategic vision for business that stems from organization’s strength and builds on its competitive advantages.