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Hits and Misses

Hits and Misses
The Indian Banking Story

January 2021 | 308 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
Do you often wonder—‘Is my money safe in banks?’ India is grappling with its worst banking crisis ever, and we are still trying to figure out what landed us here. This book analyses the role of the government and RBI in allowing the problem to reach the dimension it has assumed today. 

When will the never-ending NPA issue be resolved? Does it make sense to merge two PSBs when the culture and governance structures are alike? Should the RBI reserves be used in times of crisis? Should the tenure of a CEO be long or short? The book ponders and debates on some of these questions. 

Hits and Misses presents the two sides of the Indian banking story by giving an account of the reforms as well as quandaries in times of extraordinary economic and political challenges. The book answers many relevant questions by highlighting the highs and lows of the banking sector, which became subjects of debate in media and financial circles. 
Foreword by Sanjiv Chadha
Introduction: Banking Metamorphosis
PART I Trends
Banking on Reforms: The Narasimham Committee Report
Advent of New Private Banks
Branches Pop Up Where Business Exists
Transformation of the Deposits Ecosystem
Credit Matrix
How the Structure of Income of Banks Changed?
Chipping of the PSB Market Share
The Human Factor
Managing Employee Pay Scales
PART II Controversies
The NPA Conundrum
The IBC: Are We Serious?
PCA Banks: That Hurts Now!
Going beyond PCA and the Collapse of Governance
Corporate Governance in Indian Banks
Bank Mergers: Do They Make Sense?
Privatizing PSBs: One Step Forward, Two Behind
Capitalizing PSBs: Whose Baby Is It?
How Free Are Banks?
Loan Waivers: Make Merry When the Going is Good
It’s Business After All
Freeing Banks from Term Lending
De-risking Banking: RBI’s Large Exposure Framework
Universal Banking: Should We Go Back?
CEO Tenure: Too Short or Too Long?
CEO Compensation
Bankers on Interest Rates: Narrow View Always
Relevance of CRR
Banking Costs: They Really Hurt
Priority Sector Lending: Will We Ever Get Out of It?
Benchmarking of Interest Rates: Who Should Decide?
Don’t Use the Small Savings Argument Please
Are Your Deposits Really Safe?
NBFCs and Shadow Banking: The Next Frontier
RBI versus Government: Is It a Healthy Relationship?
Handling Public Debt
RBI Reserves: Leave Them Alone
What Should Be the Tenure of RBI Governor?
MPC: Time to Go Back to the Textbook
Conclusion: The Final Take

The book chronicles the evolution of Indian banking since economic liberalization and attempts to figure out whether things have changed—they haven’t. This is primarily because India has not been able to separate politics from economics. Economist Madan Sabnavis doesn’t impose his view on the readers but kicks off a much-needed debate.

Tamal Bandyopadhyay
Consulting Editor, Business Standard, Author and Columnist

Over the last few years, Indian banking, and especially the public sector part, has been lurching from one crisis to another. Madan Sabnavis’ book on the sector’s Hits and Misses is thus not only timely, but something policymakers, regulators and bankers should grab with both hands if they want a dispassionate opinion on what has worked, and what has not. Frank, independent and unbiased, Sabnavis tells it like it is.

Raghavan Jagannathan
Author, Editorial Director, Swarajya

This is a refreshingly different book about the evolution of Indian banking since liberalization. It is different because it doesn’t shy away from discussing the politics of banking reforms, the clash of ideologies and the numerous controversies that have hobbled Indian banking. Madan Sabnavis brings years of experience with his usual clarity, insight, depth and objectivity to the debate.

Manas Chakravarty
Group Consulting Editor, Moneycontrol

This book is a must-read for those interested in knowing what worked and what did not work in the three decades since the country chose to trudge down the path of reforms. Sabnavis has both the benefit of being closely associated with the sector and at the same time a position where he can take a dispassionate view. Sabnavis has identified how ideology often continues to be a barrier for reform despite policymakers knowing the right answers. With the banking sector at yet another inflection point because of the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic, this is a timely publication.

Mayur Shetty
Senior Editor, The Times of India

Madan Sabnavis was among the first economic analysts in the mid-1990s to provide—through a commissioned newspaper column—a cogent, informed and layered critique of the banking sector reforms process. He remained immune to the reforms hysteria that was sweeping through the financial services sector and was able to pinpoint with great accuracy the structural, sequential or regulatory flaws in the entire process. This book adds a political economy angle to that critical gaze, making his evaluation of banking sector reforms more comprehensive, and definitely more readable.

Rajrishi Singhal
Policy Consultant and Consulting Editor with Mint

It is no secret that India is grappling with its worst banking crisis ever, though we are still discovering how and why we landed here and, most importantly, whether we can prevent it from happening again. Madan Sabnavis brings in his vast experience to bear on this important question and also answers the more fundamental one: Is my money safe?

Govindraj Ethiraj
Founder of IndiaSpend & BOOM

“Mr. Sabnavis uses all his 30-plus years’ experience to identify crucial issues facing Indian banking. It is timely because the post-COVID world could see another NPA surge…For a student or baning professional, this is an important book.”

Business Standard, 15 December 2020

“This is a well thought out, neutral book by someone who is both knowledgeable and impartial…No important aspect has been left out. It should be compulsory reading for students of economics and business.” 

The Hindu Business Line, 17 January 2021

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ISBN: 9789353886868