The other side of Jammu & Kashmir Bank.

Currency replaced barter system the earlier system of transaction, and currency metamorphosed from leather and crude metallic form to present form of paper, plastic and electronic money over a period of time.  Money has power, pull and attraction, making mankind to put in all efforts, legal or illegal to have it. Money lending and subsequent fleecing of borrowers has it’s own history. Prior to organized banking moneylenders did not spare even erest while rulers, princes and smaller states from usurpation, extreme exploitation of lesser known souls is history    .

Present organized banking system in the sub continent has taken shape during last fifty years after the cession of autocracy. Bank literally means ‘trust’. Banking needs complete trust of its investors, depositors and debtors for its development. The day banks lose trust of its clients the institution of banking of any magnitude and size will collapse.

Jammu & Kashmir bank has got its own history spread over a period of more than seven decades and is proud of being an institution of pre independence era. J&K bank has faced all odds and gone through the vagaries of a Government sponsored establishment. Its growth from a small regional bank to a reputed bank is successes story in it self, but this growth has been gradual, with the contribution of several visionaries and trust of its clients. The bank has not only served its clients for decades but also at occasions bailed out the state government from financial crisis and crunch. As an institution this bank has rendered great service to the people of Jammu and Kashmir even after being politicized from time to time by rotting political system of the state.

For last several years JK bank is apparently showing phenomenal signs of growth and development The bank has adapted and put in use all sort of modern techniques and means of modern banking in vogue. It has revolutionized the otherwise dull banking sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The bank has spread its net work of branches in far-flung areas of J&K State and is also significant in several regions of the country. Its ATMs (automated teller machine) service in every nook and corner of the state along with its mobile ATM facility is a feather in its cap.

Mr. M.Y.Khan as chairman and CEO of the bank have brought many cosmetic changes in the bank during his tenure. He pioneered in getting the bank on modern lines and putting all latest technology and gadgetry in use in day to day banking. However Mr. Khan alienated the bank from needy and the financially desperate people and pushed them to the fringe of financial market, otherwise the bank was created and nurtured for them. He caged this financial institution of eminence in glittering, fancy looking corporate offices and buildings making it a rope of sand. The pioneers of JK bank had a mission; it was not an ordinary bank. It was shaped and patronized to serve the victims of moneylenders, small entrepreneurs, farmers, exploited artisans and craftsmen. However it ended in the lap of dishonest, subsidy gulping business sharks.

If we peep into sound and healthy looking financial reports of J&K bank we will find its money pumped into the ailing economy of the state and in the consumer market, both being the unproductive sectors. The deep probing of bank’s balance sheets will depict a grim picture of a moneylender oriented, capitalist banking pattern. The JK bank is becoming, what we can call financially astute. How long JK bank will survive and claim to serve the people of the state by just earning interest from lending out to the ailing and corrupt state government and unproductive consumer market. The whole banking system is reluctant to give advances to farmers, artisans, small businessmen and unemployed youth and JK bank is no difference. Every bank here wants to invest in lucrative and more safe market and JK bank tops them all but how long, thus there seems no difference between fleecing moneylenders and the modern civilized banks. If we go through the history, imbalance or unilateral economic and financial system had always been the main cause of unrest in the world. We have seen violent revolutions stemming out of financial inequality. Therefore, these financial institutions have to change their attitude one-day or the other day and take earnest steps to provide financial assistance to every one irrespective of their cast, colour and creed. I am not here to advocate, doling out money to poor and needy or that banks should lose their money unnecessarily, but banks have to be judicious and least discriminatory in lending as they are while accepting deposits.

JK bank as a public institution is supposed to help cash starved people with skill, expertise, and technology and above all will to do something and contribute. Banks are meant for every one from big healthy, honest business houses down to cash starving poor farmers, vendors and small entrepreneurs. Jammu and Kashmir bank is not the fiefdom of only few big, influential business houses and institution for encouraging otherwise unproductive consumer market. It has to be judicious in advancing money and full fill its obligatory duty towards every section of the society of Jammu and Kashmir State. Every one welcomes and is proud of JK bank as it shines among best banks of the India (JK bank was rated 5th in 2003 and 10th in 2004 as per Business today report) but real shining would have been contribution of bank in bailing out people from financial mess.

JK bank has made assets, earned profits, impressed share market but it has really alienated itself from the common masses. M.Y .Khan’s contribution in making money for the bank can not be ignored but his role in making it an anti poor and selective bank needs to be taken note of.

Nobody is indispensable in any setup or system, so why JK bank can not run with out M.Y.Khan. JK bank was backbone of state’s financial system even when Mr. Khan was not there. Mr. Khan has anchored himself to the institution of JK bank not by his efficiency but by sycophancy and his deep rooted well-cultivated connections. If insiders are to be believed, during Farooq Abdullah’s time even ministers had to seek prior appointment with Mr. Khan, a unique thing in a state were even defeated candidates can not only walk but barge into the chambers of any head of the department.

M.Y.Khan has been cast into an oversize and overrated stature, rather an icon. He has turned this people’s bank into ‘East India Company’ and behaves like its viceroy. A day will come when he will stake a claim for the governance of this poor state under the name and seal of J&K bank. Present dispensation in the state could judge the intentions and gauge the deceitfully earned clout of this civil servant turned banker and handled him accordingly till the expiry of his already extended tenure. However Mr. Khan out smarted smart Mufti and his wily and witty finance minister through his Samaritans at Reserve Bank of India. Really a man with big deep tentacles developed and nurtured at a cost paid by our dear bank (JK bank).

This is the time for state government (which is the major shareholder of JK bank) to decide firmly, act with might and main and put its foot down on this issue. There are thousands of competent, honest and sincere Khans who can run the affairs of JK bank much more efficiently. Mr. Khan should stop day dreaming and clear him self of this misconception that only his good management skills brought any good and profit to the bank. It was over all change in the banking realm in India for last one decade; turmoil in the state and consumer market which played its role in profit to the bank.

RBI should introspect and see weather its role in continuing Mr. Khan as chairman and CEO JK bank was justified or it had some under hand and shady implications. The RBI’s exercise of rarest of rear veto power while rehabilitating Mr. Khan has paved way for shady deals and will encourage sycophancy in a field which needs trust and real honesty.

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