This year, for first time, Euromoney recognizes an Indian bank in a global category, applauding a model that has impressed greatly over the years.

Awards for Excellence 2018

Those who have followed the story of Kotak Mahindra Bank, from its foundation as a broking and leasing business in 1986, through its joint venture with Goldman Sachs in 1995, know it best as an investment bank. But it has gone through a considerable evolution, particularly in the 10 years since the global financial crisis, and today stands as a fully fledged banking and financial services house with a keen eye for opportunity.

“When we got our banking licence in 2003, we were known largely for our investment banking business,” recalls Dipak Gupta, joint managing director of Kotak Mahindra.

“We used to call ourselves a ‘bank plus’, meaning we offer banking services and a whole range of other non-bank financial services. People would jokingly say: ‘I can see the plus, but where is the bank?’

“We realized you cannot run a diversified financial institution purely dependent on an investment banking platform. We started scaling up the liabilities business in 2009, but what gave it the big leg up was the digitization programme.

“Now, when we say we are a bank plus, we can do so proudly: we can see the bank all around.”

But, as Gupta says, it is digitization that has allowed the bank to step up against longer-entrenched competitors with more bricks and mortar. During the review period, the bank launched its 811 instant account, the first downloadable bank account in India, which can be opened anywhere within five minutes using the Aadhaar biometric national ID card

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