Axis Bank was incorporated as UTI Bank on 3rd December 1993 (rechristened Axis Bank in 2007) and today on 3rd December 2018, we are celebrating its 25th birth anniversary. Those working in the Bank’s corporate head quarter at Axis House, Mumbai were extended a red carpet welcome in the morning that pleasantly surprised the staff members. Axis House lobby has been decorated with very tasteful floral arrangement and the mood is very festive and celebratory.
Being associated with Axis almost since its inception (I will be entering my 25th year in Axis 2 days from now), the strides taken by the Bank to reach where it is today are the stuff folklores are made of. Incorporated and started as UTI Bank, as aforesaid, the Bank opened its first branch in Ahmedabad on 2nd April 1994, inaugurated by the then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The Bank made a cautious but solid start under the leadership of career banker Mr Supriya Gupta and gathered pace of growth under Dr PJ Nayak. Under Ms Shikha Sharma, who is shortly relinquishing office on 31st December 2018, the Bank made rapid strides in the areas of retail lending, cards, mobile and internet banking, CASA franchise and consolidated its position under the category of large sized banks. The new MD designate Mr Amitabh Chaudhry is likely to bring a fresh vision to chalk out the future growth story.
What makes Axis unique? Is its product portfolio or quality of its products or its ATM network or its CASA franchise or its pan India presence? Actually all the above are measurable business parameters that every player in the industry aspires or aims for! What makes Axis unique is its humane personal touch that has left nobody- be its customers, staff, associates, service providers or any other stakeholder- untouched! I worked briefly in Ahmedabad way back in 1994, but the lady, fondly called “Behn” or sister in Gujarati, served tea then and does so now too! While the number of branch heads that have headed Ahmedabad main branch would have touched double digits, the driver who has driven all of them is same. And this is not exclusive to Ahmedabad- Axis story is replete with such incidents. Satish, who now manages the Bank’s Executive Lunch room is the same Satish who served us breakfast in 1994 when we were temporarily sheltered in the Bank’s guest house! And you can very well imagine the stability of its staff, when outsourced helping hands and service providers refuse to let go of their Axis association.
Organisations have their ups and downs as far as their business and growth are concerned. However, the qualities of humanity, empathy, care, transparency, respect, inclusiveness make an organisation shock proof against temporary, short term setbacks and these unique features, which, thanks to its leaders, are now ingrained in its ethos will ensure that Axis will celebrate many more jubilees, which old Axis bankers like me will observe from the sidelines after attaining superannuation. Because people making Axis will come and go, but Axis will stand tall with its head held high in pride!