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My Memoirs at Federal Bank – Part II

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on June 11, 2019

Tumultuous seventies, in a spree of socio-political reforms Indira Gandhi was toying with the idea of nationalising private Banks. Fear of take over seized the Federal Bank too. Our MD made a pre-emptive strike by confirming all trainees as clerks. On January 1970 I became a permanent staff on the payrolls of Federalbank. My monthly salary was around Rs.200/. It was a lot more huge a sum than now. For a comfortable sustenance covering boarding and lodging , Rs.100/ was enough in those days in Trivandrum. I still had another 100 for personal indulgences. My salad days! Federalbank was expanding its network base at incredible succession. Not a week passed without a branch being opened somewhere in the State. A branch was opening at Poochakkal too – 3/4 kilometres from my home at Thycattusserry. Obviously I was one of the first to be counted for the branch. The prospect did not attract me. The image of a bank  clerk- that too a scheduled Private Bank- would not fit into the expectations of our village folk about me. My father commanding a status and respect of an upper middle class family his son was destined to occupy a position above the clerk in social reckoning in those days. Banking job has appreciated phenomenally since then and today a banking job is a dream job for even professionally and academically brilliant youth. Hence I requested our MD to reconsider my posting to Poochakkal. But the MD in his characteristic persuasive tone asked me to clear away my misconceptions and get ready for the new assignment. I was going to be posted there as what would appear to be the second in command. I would be able to play a much bigger and responsible role than anywhere else as a clerk. He assured my father who was sceptical from the very beginning, that he won’t have to regret long, for his son would be senior manager not long before and that bigger prospects awaited him. He made it a point to invite my father as a dignitary at the inaugural function of the Poochakkal branch.

MD’s words were prophetic. They were not mere propitiatory promises made to please a father who was not impressed with his son’s banking job. My term at Poochakkal opened for me a field of experience that involved me at the entire gamut of banking from seed to fruit. Poochakkal was a typical rural Bank. It was to be the trusted financial institution of a whole village community for all their needs. The style of functioning was more personalised than institutionalised. Each customer wanted to feel that it was his Bank and a personal warmth underlay all dealings. The manager Joseph Maveli himself a native forged links with customers appropriate to their standing and worth. During those formative months at Poochakkal I became unconsciously morphed in to a banker. I had been customised as a full fledged banking professional by the time I was promoted and posted at Alleppy as Accountant.

 

 

My memoirs at Federal Bank – Part I

Posted in Uncategorized by K P Ramachandran on June 5, 2019

What you turnout to be after the age of 25 will be decided by the three or four things you do or don’t do in the closing years of your teenage. My academic performance at SMSJ High school and Sacred Heart College, Thevara would suggest that I was heading to a top professional destination in Medicine. The BSc (special) Zoology – supposedly equivalent of BSc (Honours) – was deemed to be a corridor to a profession in Medicine. ( My best friend and companion in the college Sashi retired few years back from AIIMS as a Professor of Medicine.) But time  condemned it as an utterly ill-conceived educational experiment that sacrificed a whole generation of promising adults. I was fated to be one. After BSc I joined the Trivandrum Law college in 1969, not with any compulsive ambitions in judiciary. I was just joining a course that would not block or disqualify me to take up some decent job in future. Options for a law graduate were as open as any other baccalaureate. Any degree was a threshold for any job in the sixties and in the seventies with the exception of engineering and medical profession. I took the plunge and moved to Trivandrum .in. The year was 1969. When in doubt play the trump – as elders would advise at card play. Similarly ‘ if you can’t decide what is best for you , move to Trivandrum.’ The city will decide what’s best for you and groom you for the same. I had no apprehensions, nor my family had any. There was Kuruppuchettan ( PNS Kurup of Local funds) who used to be the acknowledged patron for all who migrated to Trivandrum from our village.The grandear of the capital city,the incessant regularity of cultural events , theatres, visits of dignitaries, the homeliness of the circle of friends, the evening walk from Palayam to East fort that would cover all that  was to be seen and known in the city in those days….Life fell in to settled routine.

I had not gone far in to Law before I chanced upon an advertisement by Federal Bank inviting graduates for graduate trainees in the Bank. I was not too eager to take up a banking job, nor was I too desperate to divorce Law. It was a casual decision to try my luck with the Bank. During the interview MD of the Federal Bank gave me two options- either to join Bank immediately as a trainee and seek promotion as officer after 2 to 3 years or to proceed with law degree and join the Bank as an officer on completion. I opted for immediate recruitment bracing to face destiny as it came on its own terms. I was posted as a graduate trainee at the Palayam branch of the Bank. At the prime age of 21 I became an employee of the Bank and joined the inmates of Cochin lodge where my patron PNS was staying along with his friends.


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