Ashok Kumar Lahiri to be Bandhan Bank chairman

Kolkata, July 9 (IANS) Ashok Kumar Lahiri, former chief economic adviser to the Indian government, will be the chairman of the upcoming Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank, an official announced here on Thursday.

The bank, scheduled to launch operations on August 23, announced its board during the day.

Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, founder of Bandhan Financial Services Ltd., will be the CEO.

Ghosh said others on the board of directors include B. Sambamurthy, former chairman and MD of Corporation Bank; and Sisir Kumar Chakrabarti, former deputy managing director of Axis Bank.

“We will start operations across 27 states in India with 600 branches. We plan to have one crore bank accounts on the day of commencing operations,” Ghosh told media persons here.

The bank, which is poised to have 64 percent of its account holders in rural areas, has targeted a growth between 22-30 percent each year until it floats the initial public offering (IPO) in 2018.

As per Reserve Bank of India regulations, banks have to float IPOs after three years of operation.

“We plan to open another 400 branches by the time an IPO can be floated,” he said.

It will be setting up 250 ATMs across India.

The bank, which is held jointly by SIDBI, IFC, Singapore-based GIC, Ghosh himself and three other trusts, will be recruiting another 8,000 people, taking the total staff count to 21,000.

Ghosh said the existing micro-finance business will be merged with the bank.

“It will have two divisions – the micro finance segment catering to the bottom of the pyramid and the general banking division,” Ghosh added.

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