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Money makes the world go round, or so goes the cliché. However, as Bankers, we actively play our part in ensuring that this cliché rings true each day. While on a perfunctory level this statement may always hold true, we do think that something has fundamentally changed at a much deeper level, more so in the post COVID-19 era. For in these two years, we have witnessed what we haven’t in decades; COVID-19, war, debilitating economic setbacks followed by rapid growth and recovery, while being spectators to economies across the world flailing and crumbling.

In these two years, we have painfully come to truly realize the impermanence and fleeting nature of life, a nature that pays little heed to one’s age or stature. Lessons learned and experienced during these years are unlikely to be forgotten and will remain etched in our minds for years to come. The overwhelming feeling of vulnerability triggered by such unprecedented times has changed our attitudes towards money and wealth too, and of the power and qualities we attribute towards the same. Where money, by its very nature, has always been a means to an end, the ends as we defined them, have evolved.

Three years ago, we became the first bank in India to be licensed by the Reserve Bank of India to operate as a universal banking company under the newly created Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) structure. This saw us, for all practical purposes, operating under the same guidelines as most of the Indian banks despite our foreign antecedents.

To leapfrog across decades and be counted as a serious banking entity among some of the big names, we needed to differentiate in our business model and services. In any case, as we opined the rules of engagement with customers had been reset post COVID-19.

Our strategy was therefore pivoted on the freshness of ideas and newer perspectives. Something, which owing to its novel nature, was predicated on being open minded, and seeking collaboration were deemed fit, because the task ahead would have proven to be herculean if done on our lonesome.

Our thinking was not limited by our size or our newness. Quite contrarily, we thought that this lack of baggage was our strength as we attempted to decode some of banking and finances’ real issues across the consumer strata.

While modern day business strategies are being re-written and peppered with highfalutin words such as Ecosystem, Collaboration and Partnership, they are invariably centered around the same age-old thinking. On the other hand, we are trying to weave these words into our very DNA. This has no doubt helped us accelerate our journey and amplify our reach across the consumer multiverse. A model that is based on leveraging technology to meet the evolving needs of consumerism yet balanced with a healthy dose of being socially conscious and relevant.

Much like Lego blocks we are today, through a variety of partnerships and collaborations, addressing these problems with never-thought-before solutions. Today, we work with the best and the brightest of FinTech partners who are jointly working with us to bring these new perspectives to life. We are resetting the rules of engagement in line with newer expectations from our customers.

Our wealth offering is a great example of this acceleration and amplification. We launched our wealth offering in our third year, much earlier than most had envisaged. Through a carefully curated bouquet of product offerings, services and solutions across banking and lifestyle needs, we have created a quiet splash in the wealth space.

This inaugural edition of “The Art of Wealth” is a showcase of this philosophy of collaboration. The contributors to these rich articles are not outsiders with no active interest in the unfolding of the SBM narrative. Instead, contributors to these articles are our stakeholders, from FinTech partners and customers to employees and experts - those who have an active interest in developing, collaborating with and helping us herald novel solutions. Eminent people, therefore, with a large circle of influence and who are well positioned to act as potent catalysts in shaping a better society and bringing about far-reaching societal impact.

I started off by saying that something has fundamentally changed. We can feel it and sense it. With each quarterly edition we will attempt to curate viewpoints from our contributors who will help us decipher and make sense of this change and changes to come. Contributors who will continue to be handpicked from our growing ecosystem of partners, stakeholders, customers and employees.

Come join the growing SBM family and witness as well as experience first-hand the thrill of change.

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