Nayampally Ramanand Rao - 1918-1989 - A Banker has been defined as "An individual who lends his umbrella when the sun is shining,and,retrieves it when it is raining". During the under-graduation studies in Commerce, with Banking being the main subject, we were taught this definition of a true Banker. In simple and plain words, a Banker has always been reflected in the caricature of an individual who does not believe in helping the human beings when they need his help the most but would like to open out his arms to the public when they are quite comfortable financially, expressing his desire to help the society. In other words, he is NEITHER a friend in need NOR a friend in deed. This picture has tarnished many a image of the Banker in the financial and commercial world. However, every rule has an exception ! Naimpally Ramanand Rao, was an individual born in our Chitrapur Saraswat community, who belonged to this exceptional category. Being a Bhanap banker to the core, he shunned the image portrayed by the British and the US Bankers, negating the concept of the image created in the minds of the common man.
Nayampally Ramanand Rao (1918 – 1989) was one of the outstanding bankers 'of the country and our community. He was the Managing Director of the State 'Bank of India, first Custodian of the Central Bank of India after its nationalisation, ''''one of the Founder-Members of the Banking Commission of India, a Trustee ''''''' '''''''of the Unit Trust of India when it was formed and, after he retired from banking '''''''service, a Director on the Boards of numerous companies on behalf of the Indian '''''''Financial Institutions.''''Ramanand Rao was a banker par excellence but what set him apart was 'his contribution that can be rightly called the “humanisation” of the banking 'institution. With his alchemical skill, intellectual power, profound imagination 'and sheer strength of character, he honed banking into a fine art. During the 'British Raj, the British Officers of the bank kept aloof from the Indians. The Indian '''' members of the staff emulated their bosses by maintaining a studied distance '''''''from the public even much after the British had left. The common man went to a ''''''' bank with trepidation. Ramanand Rao broke that tradition in more ways than one '''''''but more about it later.''''Ramanand Rao, born on 20'''' th '''''''June, 1918, was the son of Nayampally Sanjeeva ''''Rao & Ammani Bai (née Udyaver). He was one of nine siblings – seven brothers 'and two sisters. '''' Nayampally Sanjeeva Rao was a brilliant engineer who did his LME & LEE from '''''''VJTI in Bombay during 1906-08 (there was no degree course then) and took up ''''''' a job in Ernakulam in the old Cochin State. Ramanand’s maternal grandfather '''''''was Rao Bahadur Udyaver Ananda Rao, an outstanding banker, philanthropist ''''''' and social worker of Mangalore. He was the first Indian ‘Agent’ of the Imperial '''''''Bank of India (later State Bank of India), who retired from the bank in 1932 on a '''''''pension of Rs 625 per month, which only British officers were entitled to in those '''''''days.''''Ramanand Rao did his schooling in Ernakulam and was an exceptionally brilliant 'student, with a special affinity for Mathematics. However, he was also very 'fond of Chemistry and so after his Intermediate he joined the B.Sc. course in 'Chemistry at the Maharajah’s college. Even before the results of his exams 'came out, he was persuaded by his maternal grandfather Ananda Rao to join the ''''Imperial Bank when there was a vacancy of a clerk in the Cochin Branch of the ''''''' bank. So he joined the bank in 1937 on a salary of 27 rupees, 8 annas & 6 pies a '''''''month! He was a little over 18 years and just out of college. ''''''' Soon he was transferred to Calicut (as a clerk again) and there he decided to '''''''stay, still a bachelor, in the family house of the Udyavers. The patriarch of the '''''''family was a cousin of grandfather Ananda Rao. In 1939 he married his first cousin (Mevnya-Mevni) Anasuya Udyaver, who '''''''was convent educated, musically very accomplished, gentle and affectionate. ''''''' '''''''They say behind every successful man there is a strong and silent woman and '''''''Anasuya filled that role admirably. Anasuya was a true ‘pativrata’ to Ramanand '''''''Rao and stood firmly by his side all through his life. They have three children. '''''''The eldest is son Jayavanth (b. 1941), an engineer who retired as the Resident ''''''' '''''''Director for India of the Energy & Transport multinational company ALSTOM. '''''''The second is daughter Saras (b. 1943) who did her Masters in Home Science ''''''' '''''''and is a social worker helping the handicapped and blind. The third is daughter '''''''Gayatri (b. 1954) who did her Masters in English literature and is the author of ''''''' '''''''several Amar Chitra Kathas, written under the name Gayatri Madan Dutt, which '''''''many youngsters will be very familiar with. ''''''' '''''''Ramanand Rao had a particularly beautiful English handwriting, referred to by '''''''everyone in the bank as ‘copper plate’. He was also very fond of writing. Being '''''''intrinsically very good at Mathematics from childhood with an uncanny flair for '''''''numbers, many of his seniors in the bank made him write all the ledgers even ''''''' '''''''though it was not his work; but he willingly did that even though it meant working '''''''late hours in the bank. The European Agent of the bank noticed that the writing, '''''''especially the numerals, in the ledgers and other books had dramatically '''''''improved, and wanted to know how the same beautiful handwriting was seen in ''''''' '''''''so many of the bank books. Naturally he was told that clerk Ramanand Rao had '''''''volunteered to write them and he was summoned by the Agent. He thought he ''''''' '''''''was going to be dismissed from his job for doing other peoples’ work and went '''''''almost trembling to the Agent’s spacious office. The Agent welcomed him and ''''''' '''''''offered him a chair, even though Indian employees were never asked to sit in '''''''front of European Agents those days. The Agent was much impressed by ''''''' '''''''Ramanand Rao’s personality - he was very fair with almost European looks. The '''''''Agent warmly shook hands with him and said: “Well done, my boy, keep it up”, ''''''' '''''''and the same day he recommended to the Local Head Office that Ramanand '''''''Rao be promoted as a staff officer. That indeed was the starting point of his ''''''' '''''''meteoric rise in the bank. His salary, by then about 35 rupees a month, '''''''dramatically increased over six fold to 225 rupees a month as a staff officer. This ''''''' '''''''happened almost immediately after his marriage with Anasuya, and one cannot '''''''but help believing that Anasuya brought him the well deserved luck and break in ''''life.'His first task as an officer of the bank was to establish a rapport with the public. 'Whichever branch he served, the public enjoyed a trip to the bank. While working '''' at the cash counters, he knew the exact amount usually withdrawn by his '''''''customers. The result was, he would hand over the amount to each customer '''''''even as the cheque was presented. Perhaps unconsciously he was the precursor '''''''of the current “Teller system”. Much later when he was the Superintendent of ''''''' Branches at the Madras Circle, it was at his initiative that every branch had a '''''''clerk specially engaged to look to the comforts of the customers. He can also be '''''''regarded the pioneer of “Customer Meets”. The one thing Ramanand Rao never grumbled about was his workload. He never left the bank until all the books had '''''''been balanced before the day was over, and that meant sometimes working very ''''''' '''''''late hours if one of the clerks had made even a small mistake in the course of the '''''''day.''''All through his life, his wife Anasuya stood behind him like a rock and looked 'after all the household affairs leaving Ramanand Rao completely free to 'concentrate on his work without bothering at all about the house or bringing up 'their children. '''' After being in the post of staff officer for a few years in different branches of '''''''the bank, Ramanand Rao was promoted as Accountant and posted to the ''''''' Ootacamund Branch in 1945. In 1952 he had his first overseas posting in the '''''''Colombo Branch of the Imperial Bank. In his 33 years’ service he worked in 17 ''''''' different branches of the bank, of which the last 16 years were spent in Calcutta '''''''(5 years), Madras (5 years) and Bombay (6 years). ''''''' In 1955, Imperial Bank became the State Bank of India, and by then he was the '''''''Superintendent of Branches in the Madras Circle. He was very fond of sports ''''''' and especially cricket. He did not play the game himself, as there was no way he '''''''could find time for anything other than his work. However he made a proposal to ''''''' the Central Office of the Bank that the best way to give publicity to the bank, in ''''the midst of severe competition from the large private sector banks, was to 'employ the best talent in sport, and especially cricket as it had by then become a '''' national pastime, and bring laurels to the bank by the employees’ fine ''''performances at the National and International Levels. The senior officers in the ''''Central Office of the bank reacted to this suggestion with a lot of diffidence but ''''''' '''''''approved it all the same because Ramanand Rao already had a reputation of '''''''being an ‘out of the box’ thinker. Thus it was that Ramanand Rao went about ''''recruiting many of the leading cricket players of the time into the bank. Thus Ajit ''''Wadekar, G R Vishwanath, Bishen Singh Bedi, Syed Kirmani, Roger Binny, ''''Hanumant Singh, V V Kumar, Habib Ahmed and a whole host of others worked 'in the State Bank of India. His first act was to appoint Ajit Wadekar and G R 'Vishwanath as Public Relations Officers of the bank. Both of them by then were 'so popular with the public that there were long queues every day at the bank to 'open new accounts and shake hands with Wadekar & Vishwanath! The bank’s 'deposits jumped up by leaps and bounds to the delight of the bosses in the 'Central Office. Simultaneously he also got the bank to sponsor several hockey 'and tennis tournaments all over India, and thus he enriched banking and 'ennobled sport. '''' Ramanand Rao would make it a point to show his face at all the matches in '''''''which the bank played (usually on Sundays), even if he could not sit through ''''''' the day, and encouraged the players to do well and bring name and fame to the '''''''bank. As a tribute to his contribution to the game and the bank, a “Ramanand ''''''' Rao Inter-Bank Trophy” was instituted at the time of his transfer from the Madras Circle. '''''''Ramanand Rao was very competent in Foreign Exchange matters and the bank ''''''' '''''''posted him as the Deputy Manager of the Foreign Department, then based in ''''Calcutta, which was a senior staff post. To familiarise him with the working of 'foreign banks, he was sent on a long trip abroad to spend time with banks in 'several countries like Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, 'Denmark, Belgium, Egypt, Burma, etc. He was also given a special assignment 'for a few months in the London Branch of State Bank and spent time with 'Midland Bank, Bank of America and Samuel Montague & Co. On his way back to 'Calcutta, he also spent some time with Deutsche Bank in Düsseldorf and Swiss 'Bank Corporation in Geneva. 'After he returned from abroad, he wrote a book for the bank staff on Foreign 'Exchange, which was an important reference volume on the subject for many 'years. Soon he was promoted as the Manager of the Foreign Department, which ''''was the senior most post in the bank after those of the Dy. Secretary & Treasurer ''''''' (now General Manager), Secretary & Treasurer (now Chief General Manager) '''''''and Managing Director. ''''In 1959 he was promoted and transferred to Madras as Dy. Secretary & 'Treasurer of the Madras Circle, and in 1961 he was appointed Secretary & 'Treasurer. He worked in that post for three years. During this period the Unit 'Trust of India was formed by the Govt of India and Ramanand Rao was made 'one of its founder-trustees. ''''In 1964 he was transferred to the Head Office in Bombay, first as the Secretary & '''''''Treasurer and in 1965 the Government of India appointed him Managing Director ''''''' '''''''and he became the youngest MD of the bank at the age of 46. '''''''During his five-year tenure as the MD of State Bank, the Banking Commission ''''''' '''''''was formed by the Govt of India for looking at various banking reforms. '''''''Ramanand Rao, with his wide experience in almost all aspects of banking, was ''''''' '''''''the natural choice to be one of the Founder-Directors of the Commission. He '''''''held this responsibility concurrently with that of the Managing Director of the ''''''' '''''''State Bank of India. ''''Ramanand Rao has another first to his credit. It was his idea to introduce Rupee 'Travellers’ cheques for people travelling within India as a safe means of carrying '''' currency. Thus, when State Bank introduced the Rupee Travellers’ Cheque for '''''''the very first time, it had Ramanand Rao’s signature on it. ''''''' His term of 5 years as the Managing Director came to an end in 1970 when '''''''he was only 51, and since the retirement age in the bank was 58, he was '''''''automatically offered another 5-year term as MD. He gave much thought to the '''''''offer and took a momentous decision of his life to decline the offer and apply for premature retirement. He had two reasons for doing so. He felt that, if he had ''''''' '''''''accepted the five year term, four senior staff officers of the bank working directly '''''''under him but senior to him in age and eligible for the MD’s post, would retire ''''''' '''''''and miss the opportunity of holding that coveted post. Secondly, he had put in '''''''well over 30 years’ service in the bank and was already eligible for full pension. ''''''' '''''''So he wrote a letter to the Secretary, Dept of Banking in the Finance Ministry, ''''Govt of India stating that he would prefer to retire, rather than accept the '5-year ''''extension as MD. '''''''Coincidentally, it was just after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had relieved Finance ''''''' Minister Morarji Desai in the aftermath of the conspiracy against her by the old '''''''guard, then called Congress (O), comprising Morarji himself, Atulya Ghosh, ''''''' Nijalingappa, et al. She then took charge of the Finance portfolio herself for a '''''''while and nationalised the top 10 private sector banks. That was when the letter '''''''of Ramanand Rao was put up to Mrs Gandhi, holding the Finance portfolio, for '''''''approval. Mrs Gandhi, to say the least, was quite surprised to read the letter and ''''''' directed the Banking Secretary to call Ramanand Rao over to Delhi urgently '''''''to meet her personally. When Mrs Gandhi asked Ramanand Rao why he was '''''''declining the extension and retiring at such a young age, he told her his reasons. '''''''She was taken aback and remarked: “Mr Rao, I have never seen or heard such ''''''' a reason from anybody. I am older to you by a year and look at me clinging to '''''''my post and you wish to retire? OK, I will grant your request but on condition that ''''''' you take over as the Custodian (later renamed Chairman & Managing Director) '''''''of the next biggest bank in India, which is the Central Bank of India”. Mrs Gandhi '''''''obviously needed some very competent bankers with sound knowledge and '''''''working of public sector banks to head the very recently nationalised banks. So ''''''' she asked Ramanand Rao who else from the State Bank would be capable of '''''''taking over as custodians of other public sector banks. Ramanand Rao gave a ''''''' few names to Mrs Gandhi and very soon thereafter Jagdish Saxena, who was '''''''one of the contenders for replacing Ramanand Rao as State Bank MD was made ''''''' the Custodian of the Bank of India.''''Within six months of Ramanand Rao taking over as Custodian of Central Bank, 'he had a major set back to his health as he had a mild stroke. His family doctor 'was the State Bank’s Medical Officer, Dr Mohan Kalambi, who examined him 'thoroughly and then strongly recommended to Ramanand Rao that he should 'give up all full time activity for a while. So he had no option but to relinquish his 'post of Custodian of Central Bank. He also wanted to give up his responsibilities 'in the Banking Commission but the Govt asked him to take six months 'completely off work and then resume at least the Banking Commission work, 'which was a part-time advisory role anyway, until the Commission’s report was 'submitted to the Govt. He agreed to the request.'As soon as he was certified fit by the doctor to resume some light work, the 'leading Indian Financial Institutions like IDBI, IFCI, ICICI, Unit Trust and LIC put 'him on their panels to join the Boards of those companies to whom they lent large capital, so that their interests would be safeguarded. Thus it was that 'Ramanand Rao was seconded to the Boards of several companies as nonExecutive Director. After completing his work in the Banking Commission, he ''''became a non-Executive Director on behalf of the Financial Institutions on the ''''''' '''''''Boards of several companies like EID-Parry, Madura Coats, Western India ''''Plywoods, Modi Rubber, Western India Cottons, MacCharles India (later Holiday 'Inn), Transformers & Electricals Ltd Kerala (TELK), KELTRON, Kothari Safe 'Deposit, Steel Complex, Vanjinad Leathers, Excel Glasses, Raman Boards, 'Triton Valves, Bangalore Leasing, Namtech Systems, Indian Organic Chemicals, 'J.K.Synthetics, Elecon Engineering, Eddy Current Controls and India Housing 'Board. In most companies, he did not accept more than one term of five years 'and did not offer himself for re-election when he had to retire by rotation. 'However, in a chosen few companies, with whose Chairmen he had very cordial 'and personal rapport, he agreed to continue as a Director in his personal 'capacity. Western India Plywoods was one such company and Raman Boards 'was another. He remained their Director & Advisor till the last day of his life and, ''''when Ramanand Rao was unwell and could not travel anymore, the Boards met ''''''' at his home in Bangalore.''''By about 1986 his health began to deteriorate and he had a couple of heart 'attacks. He was treated in Madras by the famous heart specialist Dr Cherian. 'Simultaneously he started losing strength in his left leg and had to rely on a stick ''''to walk. Ramanand Rao passed away at a comparatively young age by current ''''''' standards. He was not yet 71 when he breathed his last in Bangalore peacefully '''''''after a massive heart attack. '''''''Posterity will cherish Ramanand Rao the man as much as the banker. His charity ''''''' '''''''was bountiful, his heart overflowing with the milk of human kindness. Above all '''''''he had a wonderful sense of humour, a hearty infectious laugh. With a reservoir ''''''' '''''''of anecdotes he would always regale his company and one could single him out '''''''in any crowd, and not necessarily because of his inseparable companion, the ''''''' '''''''Java Dawson Cigar! With Ramanand Rao about. there was never a dull moment '''''''as he literally radiated sunshine. Verily a beacon in the Saraswat firmament was ''''''' '''''''extinguished on the morning of 18th April 1989.''''( Inputs sourced by Naimpally Jayavanth Rao )
==================================================" The first thing we all do when we find something interesting is to share it" ================================================== 3 attachments —Download all attachments