Gautam Thakur and S K Sakhalkar have been re-elected unopposed as the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Mumbai-based Saraswat Cooperative Bank respectively during the recently held Board meeting followed by AGM. The election was held last week on Thursday.
While Thakur is a B.E. (Civil) and a Diploma holder in Financial Management, Vice-Chairman Sakhalkar has over 40 years of experience in the fields of IT and HR. Thakur has been heading the National School of Banking (NSB) for the last many years and Sakhalkar served as Special Executive Magistrate in state govt from 1983 to 1990.
The result of the recently-held elections to the Board of Directors of the Bank for the year 2021-2026 was declared by the Returning Officer, Jayant Patil at the AGM. The EKTA panel led by Gautam Thakur won by a clear majority of more than 30,000 votes with the sole opponent to the panel losing his deposit. Such a large number of votes was cast for the first time in the history of the Bank.
The Returning Officer also conducted the first Board Meeting of the Bank where Gautam Thakur and S.K. Sakhalkar were unanimously elected as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively for the period 2021-2026.
After the declaration of the result, Thakur was profusely garlanded and cheered by his supporters. An emotional Thaur thanked one and all for their support. There were also floods of congratulatory messages on social media for the newly elected Chairman.
Chairman Gautam Thakur announced at the AGM that as per the latest constitutional amendment, the Bank would reserve 2 seats for ladies and 1 seat for a representative from SC/ST category on its Board of Directors. Elections for these three seats would be held in the near future. The board consists of 16 directors.
In the 103rd Annual General Meeting held at Mumbai on 30th September it was revealed that the Bank has clocked a healthy operational performance and registered significant growth on various business parameters.
The Total Business of the Bank increased from Rs 63,422.13 crore as on 31st March, 2020 to Rs 67,042.31 crore as on 31st March, 2021. And deposits increased from Rs 38,083.49 crore as on 31st March, 2020 to Rs 40,800.61 crore as on 31st March, 2021.
The largest UCB in India also witnessed an increase in Advances from Rs 25,338.64 crore as on 31st March, 2020 to Rs 26,241.70 crore as on 31st March 2021. Gross Profit increased from Rs 651.69 crore as on 31st March, 2020 to Rs 728.05 crore as on 31st March, 2021, the highest in the history of the Bank, in spite of losing the first quarter to the pandemic.
In the AGM, Saraswat Bank Chairman Gautam Thakur also referred to RBI’s recently released draft Report of the Expert Committee on Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs) and expressed satisfaction that the Report has acknowledged the wide variance in the size of UCBs in the country and recognized the need for having a focused approach for UCBs in line with their present size and future aspirations.
“Once this Report is accepted by RBI, Saraswat Bank would be a Tier 4 bank and would be considered as a Universal Bank, at par with Scheduled Commercial Banks. Tier 4 UCBs would be permitted to undertake those business activities permitted to Scheduled Commercial Banks which were hitherto prohibited to Urban Co-operative Banks”, underlined Thakur.
Hailing this as an extremely positive development for the entire Urban Co-operative Banking sector, Gautam Thakur said that being the largest and coming under the Tier 4 classification, Saraswat Bank would benefit the most among UCBs, thus enabling it to explore new business avenues in full measure.