Going from strength to strength, S S Bhat, Chief General Manager, Canara Bank, has held several strategic positions and today he is a well-known name in the Indian banking circles. He is viewed by many as a tech-savvy, seasoned banker, having the right attitude and administrative skills
While taking up the job of an Agricultural Extension Officer in 1980 as a fresh post graduate, S S Bhat had little idea that he would be heading one of the leading banks with over Rs.8 lakh-crore business as its Chief General Manager (CGM) one day.
With his sheer determination, leadership qualities and a never-say-die attitude, Bhat went on to become the CGM of the public sector lender, Canara Bank.
Going from strength to strength, he has held strategic positions in the Bank, and today he is a well-known name in the Indian banking circles. Many view him as a tech-savvy, seasoned banker, motivator, mentor, a go-getter, while other see a multi-talented visionary in him.
Even when the banking industry at large is posting a muted performance, Bhat has ensured a consistent 25 per cent growth under Agriculture portfolio since taking over the reins of Priority Credit four years ago.
Smashing all the corporate goals, Statement of Intent (SoI) targets and key performance indicators as set by the Government, Bhat is today regarded as an undisputed leader by many in the banking industry. The bank reposed confidence in his abilities for taking up challenging responsibilities one after another, and a spirited Bhatt never disappointed.
It all started when he was heading Financial Inclusion Wing of Canara Bank. Considering his administrative skills, knowledge and expertise, the Bank found him suitable to head the coveted Priority Credit Wing and merged the Finance Inclusion vertical with it.
While he successfully led the huge department, Regional Rural Banks and Lead Bank wings were also merged with the Priority Credit Wing, and he continued leading from the front. Today, he heads as many as seven verticals of the Bank. Recognising his contribution, he was made CGM of the Bank through an out-of-turn promotion.
Though launching of Pradhan Mantri JanDhan Yojana (PMJDY) within a short period of time was a tough task, Bhat managed to instill confidence in the zonal heads to the lowest rung of the staff members and travelled to various centers to motivate the workforce. The result was a thundering performance on the very day of launch, which earned applauds from the Ministry of Finance.
A career banker, Bhat believes in motivating fellow colleagues and doesn’t miss any chance to meet youngsters for giving them a pep talk, be it a regular training, a review meeting or a seminar.
Recognitions from the Government and the Industry also followed on the back of the incredible performance posted and expertise he displayed.
Bhat was invited to present a design for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana by the Ministry of Agriculture. He is also member of various committees of the Government of India, RBI, NABARD and IBA.
Bhat has received the Aryabhata International Award for his outstanding achievements in the field of banking.
Today, Canara Bank can boast of having highest number of Financial Literacy Centers pan India, with over 31 lakh people imparted financial literacy.
“Today, there are innumerable products in the market, taking care of the supply side. But the demand from the hitherto unbanked households is too low. Only financial literacy measures can help in creating demand for the products,” he says.
“Primarily, the literacy initiatives should make the people aware of the products and their rights,” said Bhat, who enjoys the credit of having conducting over 53,000 camps pan India, during the rollout of PMJDY and providing financial literacy to over 2 lakh children in schools adopted by the Bank.