One of the most well known New Zealanders and a respected member of the Indian community has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank of Baroda (New Zealand) Limited.
Dr Rajen Prasad, who has been a Director of the Bank since its operations began in 2009, has the distinction of being the first local head of the fast growing bank with three branches, one each in Auckland City, Wellington and Manukau.
Announcing the appointment, the Bank’s Auckland based Managing Director Navin Upreti said that Dr Prasad brings immense value to the post.
He has guided the Bank in setting up operations in New Zealand on sound footings. Bank of Baroda has been able to find a niche for its products in New Zealand and has been serving well to its target segment,” he said.
Mr Upreti said that although still in its infancy, the Bank is committed to remain market driven and customer-focused under the stewardship of Dr Prasad.
WAML Group Chairman & Managing Director Wenceslaus Anthony, who was appointed Director of the Bank in June last year, described Dr Prasad as a ‘Great asset of Bank of Baroda.’
“He has been in New Zealand for more than 45 years and understands the local environment well. He has great charisma, instils faith, respect and trust in people. He conveys a strong sense of mission,” he said.
East Tamaki Healthcare Director Ranjna Patel, another Director (since December 2012), said the appointment was a recognition of Dr Prasad’s contribution to the Bank and the New Zealand community.
“His appointment as Chairman makes us proud and I am honoured to be associated with other Directors and staff of Bank of Baroda in New Zealand,” she said.
Dr Prasad said that his knowledge of the New Zealand environment and business practices, along with his association as a Director of the Bank since its inception in the country provide him valuable and historic perspectives to the new assignment.
“Along with the other New Zealand based Directors, we will focus on capitalising on the enormous financial, business and strategic strength of our parent Bank.
“Bank of Baroda is India’s second largest nationalised Bank with a presence in every large and small centre in India and many other countries. This provides for easy access for our business and private customers,” he said.
According to Mr Anthony, the Bank’s mission in New Zealand is to help small enterprises as more than 90% of the country’s businesses belong to this sector.
“This mission comes with great responsibility to the Bank since a majority of small companies operate with very little capital outlay. We therefore have a challenge to ensure that these customers meet their long-term commitment of repayment of loans and advances to the Bank,” he said.
Dr Prasad said, “We currently are committed to increasing our presence throughout the major centres in New Zealand.”
Mr Upreti said that the Bank’s ‘BarodaRapidFunds2India,’ a remittance product for sending money to India has gained popularity among New Zealanders.
“This facility offers ease, speed and security. The Bank is well-positioned to cater to the other normal day-to-day banking requirements of individual, small and medium business enterprises,” he said.