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30 Most Inspiring Leaders to Watch 2021

A veteran in the banking segment with a robust and wide range of financial services: State Bank of India-Australia


‘Bank’ is basically a financial institution whose function is accepting deposits and channeling the money to lending or investment activities. Banks play an integral role in the financial life of an organization, and their need can be understood from the fact that they are considered as the lifeforce of the modern economy. Although it is well-known that banks cannot create wealth, their activities can facilitate the process of exchange, distribution, and production of wealth. Banks tend to act as an intermediary between people who require money for various business activities and people with surplus money. The main motto of a bank is to provide security and promote confidence in the economy.

Globally, there are various banks delivering excellent services, but State Bank of India-Australia stands out from the rest. The State Bank of India started its operations on the 23rd November, 1998 when it opened a Representative Office in Sydney. Effective from the 21st April, 2004, the Representative Office was transformed into a Australian Bank. The branch was opened with the objectives of fostering trade between India and Australia through trade finance products and helping Indian corporates access and contributes to the Australian economy. The Reserve Bank of India regulates the Global Bank and the Australian Banking operations are also authorized and regulated by Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and other local Australian regulators. SBI Australia offers a wide range of services such as deposits, remittances, trade finance solutions, syndicated loans etc. Synergy of the SBI Global Group and its specialized subsidiaries make SBI Australia the ideal partner for your India Related business. SBI Australia also holds an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL).

In conversation with Pranay Kumar, CEO of State Bank of India-Australia

Q. As a CEO, how do you ensure your organization, and its activities are aligned with your core values?

Creating value for all activities we do is the core. An organization’s core value is obviously transmitted, over a period of time, to its employee at all levels. Transparency and ethics while rendering services should be truly reflected, without any doubt, aligning to organization ethics. We practice every day in all our actions to align core values with organizational values.

Q. How would you describe your leadership style?

As a leader, you need to be agile and adaptable. That means routinely evaluating your core strength with the company’s values to ensure they are relevant to the organization and its objectives. It’s also an effective way to improve work culture. As per famous Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna is the master of finesse, and there is a lot to be learned from him. I follow some of the management strategies suggested by Lord Krishna. Krishna had three definite life goals for himself. First, ‘Paritrayana Sadhunam,’ which means welfare for good; second, ‘vinashaya dushkritam,’ meaning destroy evil (thought) and third, ‘dharma sansthapana’ meaning establish and strengthen the good principles. As a manager, he personified that one should have clear-cut goals in the organization, and one should never allow their senses to be controlled. Krishna, through his power of speech and oration skills, motivated Pandavas several times. He motivated them to serve good and only good, concurrently working towards the attainment of justice. A true leader or manager always takes the initiative to motivate his colleagues and fellows.

Q. What do you think is the most memorable moment in your career?

Working with a great institution that has a long legacy and serving customers is the most rewarding aspect of my professional engagement. Solving customer's problems and structuring a workable transaction are the most exciting and memorable moments. When a customer shares their problems, they at the same share their emotions and feelings as well and sharing similar emotions or feelings are most memorable and fulfilling moments of the journey.

Q. Describe a time in your career when you had to work as part of a team with people who weren’t finance professionals. Did you enjoy the experience and what was the outcome?

My role consists of various skill sets. The majority do cover finance, but other than finance, it also covers compliance, legal, general management, IT, etc. Any person who has the right set of attitudes or “can-do” can deliver the desired result. Over the years, I have experienced that people have surprised us by way of their attitudes. Outcomes, as I said, depend upon willingness or a “can-do” attitude except for those areas which are too technical.

Q. What does the future hold for SBI-Australia and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

The State Bank of India was the first Indian Bank to open an office in the state of New South Wales and in the state of Victoria. The growth of SBI in Australia will assist the growing trade and investment relations between Australia and India and is the outcome of the Australia India Strategy and shared future.

Q. What are your next steps to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

What are leadership skills – does being an effective leader mean never making mistakes? Even the most powerful, inspiring leaders make mistakes. When you recognize an error, admit it openly and take action to correct it. Be open about your failures; discuss them with yourself and with your team. Learn from them. Ask yourself and your team, How can I avoid making this mistake in the future? No one wants to seek counsel from someone who doesn’t care about the topic as much or more than they do. Passion is effort; passion is exertion. Passion is never giving up. Without it, you cease innovating and stagnate. People respect someone who walks the walk.

Meet the leader behind the success of State Bank of India-Australia

Mr. Pranay Kumar, CEO has been working with State Bank of India for more than two decades. Pranay received an Executive MBA with a focus on international finance from S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research and completed the Program on Mergers & Acquisition at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India. He is a Certified Financial Crime Specialist and an alumnus of the Harvard Business Club in Australia. Pranay Kumar is National Chair of Financial Services of Australia India Business Council. He extends Strategic Advisory services to Volt Bank, a neo-Bank in Australian Banking space. Over the past 20 years, Pranay Kumar has established his position as a robust and dependable leader of Australian operation of the State Bank of India while working tirelessly to form, enhance, and define the company’s brand across Australia. Previously working within SBI, he has filled multiple roles within the organization, working his way to the Senior Position. He now holds the title of CEO of the Australian Branch of SBI, responsible for ensuring its success in corporate finance, wholesale banking, project financing, deal structuring, and most importantly adding value to the customer service.

“”You are our priority and we strive to offer a personal and tailored service each time you interact with us.””