YES BANK, founded in 2003 and highly successful, has consistently been profitable meeting the Indian government's Priority Sector Lending (PSL) requirements, unlike virtually all other private sector banks, which view PSL activity as a necessary but loss-making part of their portfolio. To do this, YES BANK created a distinct Development Banking practice, under the purview of the Corporate Finance division. But now, the Development Banking team is contemplating going to the Board to take the concept one step further: pro-actively investing in PSL-qualifying activities not as a matter of regulatory compliance but as business. Should the bank devote significant financial and human resources into an ambitious Financial Inclusion Program to serve previously unbanked rural populations through a rapid expansion of its branch network and the use of nonbank business correspondents? In addition, should the bank commit part of its scarce capital to Tatva Capital, a private equity venture focused on renewable energy, clean technology, waste management, water & sanitation, food & agribusiness, affordable housing, healthcare, education & livelihood creation? Is the Board ready to incorporate development banking into the mainstream of the bank, or will this turn out to be a major error in judgment?
- 2010 HBS
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