Axis Bank bets big on Bharat Bank

September 29, 2021

  • Ropes in Financial Services Veteran

With the success and tremendous response to its Deep Geo initiative, which focused on servicing over 80 lakh customers in semi-urban and rural regions across 2,065 branches during the pandemic, Axis Bank, India’s third largest Bank is now betting big on Bharat. This segment saw an annualised loan growth of 18%, while contributing to 25% of incremental retail disbursements. The rural deposits also grew at 19% over the previous year. The Bank is creating a distinctive ‘Bharat Bank’ unit with tailored rural products, increased footprint through branches and digital presence, partnerships with facilitators like CSCs and VLEs and by enabling multiple agri-commodities focused ecosystems. The Bank expects to add more than 3,000 people to focus on rural MSMEs, CSC coverage and corporate agriculture ecosystem.

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Axis Bank has roped in financial services veteran Munish Sharda who joins in as Group Executive & Head of Bharat Banking. Mr. Sharda brings with him over 27 years of rich leadership experience with a successful track record in financial services, deep expertise in digital and tech stack and enhancing people capabilities to transform large businesses. Mr. Sharda started his financial services career with Citibank NA where he worked across geographies and businesses in asset and credit areas across the customer spectrum. He joins Axis Bank from Future Generali Life Insurance, where he was the MD & CEO for close to 8 years and spearheaded its transformation to move up the league tables. At Future Generali, he scaled up the business, improved profitability and quality of business, and built sustainable and strong long term partnerships with banks and retail ecosystems.

“Axis Bank has seen tremendous success with its deep geo strategy. ‘Bharat’ is the big opportunity of this decade as the farm sector reforms, infrastructure investments and digital inclusion story plays out in our Tier III towns and rural India. We are ready to lead in this space and are now creating a separate growth-focused ‘Bharat Bank’ to increase our presence manifold over the next 3 years”, said Amitabh Chaudhry, MD&CEO, Axis Bank. “We welcome Munish to Axis Bank and are excited to have him lead our focus on Bharat,” he added.