Money & Banking

It’s been a giant leap for this CUB

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 09, 2018

N KAMAKODI, Chief Executive, City Union Bank

On its 114th foundation day, City Union Bank chief traces the lender’s growth journey

It could be adding one more year as it marches forward, but for a small bank like City Union Bank, headquartered in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, the 114-year-long journey has been a giant leap.

As its Chief Executive N Kamakodi put it: “We have in the process seen two world wars, many economic cycles and weathered all of these.”

Recalling its growth story from a humble beginning, with just one branch at Kumbakonam in interior Tamil Nadu, Kamakodi, said: “The bank commenced its journey in 1904 as Kumbakonam Bank, basically to support the local community in the Cauvery delta region. The second branch came up at Mannargudi, Tamil Nadu, almost two decades later.

“When the bank turned 50 in 1954, the branch network was less than 10, and all of them were in and around the delta region, located mostly in semi-urban and rural pockets. Our focus widened to support agriculture and trade and we were into the business of lending against gold.

“In 1957, the bank took over Common Wealth Bank and later in 1965 two other local banks — City Forward Bank and the Union Bank — were amalgamated with the bank. The merged entity came to be known as The Kumbakonam City Union Bank.

“Thereafter, the changes in the banking system also became visible, for until then, the Secretary used to be the Chief Executive Officer, with a Chairman at the helm.

“The banking regulator felt the need for professional management in banks and OR Srinivasan was initiated as the first professional Chairman of the combined entity. His experience in commercial banking as also his service in Reserve Bank of India helped give a different direction to the bank.

“Branch expansion gathered pace. Srinivasan continued in service up to 1977. He was succeeded by K Srinivasan and later my father Narayanan (who joined the bank in 1971) became the Chairman in 1980.

“During his tenure, the bank took baby steps and expanded into other States such as Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Our business focus included the SME segment at this stage and we began to offer full-fledged banking services including forex services in the mid-90s. As our presence strengthened across the country, the bank’s name was changed to City Union Bank Ltd,” Kamakodi recounted.

Mid-1990s marked a turning point for CUB. It got listed on the stock exchange in 1996-97, and the 100th branch was opened in Delhi the same year. Within the next 10 years, the branch network doubled to 200.

“The 500th branch was opened in 2016. The network at present is 560 and we are continuing to add 50-odd branches every year.

“Our growth includes 114 years of profitability and dividend declaration. We have reinvented ourselves and imbibed the changes — be it on the technology front or the way in which we conduct business to meet the present day needs,” Kamakodi said.

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Published on October 31, 2017
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