Capital Bank Chief Executive Officer, Sriram Gade has been a banker all his working life, but the ‘family’ man says it was not even his first career choice.
The modest banker even suggests that we should change the name of this column to “meet the captain” because the word boss is associated with an approach which is authoritative.
Archie Mokoka got to know the man who has made his job his second home.
Who is Sriram Gade?
I’m originally from India but I have worked in Germany, New York, Malawi and India.
I have worked mainly for banks for 30 years. I have a wife and a son.
I have never drunk nor smoked; I eat healthy food like fruits and vegetables and also exercise.
That’s a long time! Is it your dream job?
It was not my dream job.
I don’t see jobs in dreams. Further, I do not believe in dream jobs but that if you focus on hard work the rest will follow.
As CEO, what do you do?
I drive the growth of the bank for the benefit of all stakeholders including employees.
I strongly believe that if one takes care of employees’ welfare, it will definitely translate into superior customer service thus ensuring growth for the institution.
We have line managers but my door is always open to all staff members irrespective of levels and their suggestions are always welcome. Here we encourage discipline and flexibility.
We don’t let issues to be prolonged, and we discuss these immediately.
The job is not difficult at all when you have your staff behind you; but it certainly is not a job for one man and I believe in the results of team work.
How did you end up with Capital Bank in Botswana?
After completing my Post Graduation in Economics in 1981 I became a lecturer for nine months and then joined the State Bank of India as an officer and was there for 25 years.
When I left I had climbed up the ladder to Assistant General Manager, a position I held even in Germany where I stayed for five years. Prior to that I was in New York for six months.
I came to Malawi, Africa as Head of Credit at First Merchant Bank , the parent bank of Capital Bank.
I was at Malawi from June 2006 to July 2008. I started here in August 2008.
What is the highlight of your career?
It is definitely Capital Bank. The development of the bank rests on me and my team.
In just four years, we boast of deposits worth P1bn and over 5000 customers in four branches.
It’s a record breaker in Botswana.
Our reception is good and we are well known for customer service.
We work together as a team and with smiles.
Because we strive to make sure the public’s money is put to good use, we will tell you when we cannot meet your loan demands for some reason.
With just four years how are you fairing against competition?
Our customer service is better.
We don’t have credit cards and we compensate for that with our superior customer service.
Customers know we are flexible.
We put them first and our charges are reasonable.
Our response time is also very fast.
We keep our staff happy and that is the secret behind our success.
The low staff turnover ratio at our bank proves that the atmosphere here is friendly.
What should we expect from Capital Bank in five years if you remain at the reigns?
This year we are not opening any branch because we want to consolidate the two we opened last year, but in five years you should expect our branches to have reached a total of 10 across the country in various places.
Places that could be under consideration are the prominent ones like Maun, Palapye, Gantsi and Mahalapye.
We would also continue to have happier staff and satisfied customers.
We are launching two new products in the second half of the year.
Whatever we do, in terms of products, the same will have a social angle to it; like education, medical, senior citizens and so forth.
What do you do in your spare time?
I learn Setswana in my spare time but I also learn new computer skills (software tutorials and commands) I also do cycling and jog on the treadmill.
Lastly, do you see the world economy recovering soon?
I strongly feel the 2014 will be the year of recovery.
The United States is already showing signs of recovery and you know how their economy has influence on other economies of the world including our economy here.
NAME: Sriram Gade
HOBBIES: Learning Setswana, surfing internet and learning about markets, news
FOOD: Whatever is prepared by my lovely wife
HOLIDAY: Cape-town, but I love the idea of going into the Okavango Delta
BOOKS: Knowledge improvement books (currently reading Setswana, MS Access, Pastel)
MUSIC: Setswana folk music. I also love music with rhythm, guitar and drums INSPIRATION: My staff; down to junior most level
FAVOURITE QUOTATIONS::’The only thing that can be achieved without hard work is failure’ AND “ A chain is as strong as its weakest link”