Acclaimed banker who quit as HDFC’s VP six months ago sits idle while JK Bank sinks under RK Chibber
Srinagar: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has once again deferred approval for the appointment of JK Bank’s Managing Director, though five months have passed since the candidate for it was selected.
The RBI is strangely stalling its own process of separating the top posts of MD and Chairman. As present, the JK Bank is managed by RK Chibber, whose appointment as interim Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) has been repeatedly extended by the RBI. On Wednesday, his term was again extended for six months.
The JK government on May 15 this year had cleared the selection of acclaimed banker Zubair Iqbal. Kashmir Reader had learnt that he was selected by a committee from among 37 contestants. In the next 90 days, as per RBI norms, he was supposed to be in office. He is still not.
At the time of his appointment, he was vice-president at HDFC Bank. Zubair had quit as JK Bank’s marketing manager when he had first joined HDFC bank, as branch manager. When he left HDFC Bank, it had over 70 branches in Jammu and Kashmir.
“HDFC bank’s success is Zubair sahab,” said Syed Ashfaq, Zubair’s former colleague.
A three-time international award winning banker, Zubair has been left virtually jobless by the RBI’s deferment, with no news yet about when the approval will come. So, at present, the bank has eight directors but no managing director. They are RK Chibber, Arun Kumar Mehta, Nitishwar Kumar, Anil Kumar Mishra, Vikram Gujral, Rajeev Lochan Bishnoi, Monica Dhawan, and Naba Kishore Sahoo.
Chairman J&K Bank RK Chibber did not respond to calls from this newspaper. He took over the bank when Parvez Ahmad was removed as MD and Chairman on corruption charges. Under Chibber, the bank’s financial report has shown not even the slightest sign of improvement. Instead, the bank is sinking into losses.
According to the J&K Bank’s report for FY 2019-20, a loss of Rs 1,100 crore was registered in the year. Much of this was due to the government’s actions, as the Kashmir economy was mostly shut due to the lockdown imposed after abrogation of Article 370 in the first week of August 2019.
Last year, J&K Bank only had four full business months, from April to July. From August onwards the bank was completely shut till December. In January 2020, the economy started to work again, but was thwarted by the corona lockdown. Even during this period, as per the bank’s report, the losses were far more than the profits.