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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

September 10, 2010

The bad lands of Hindukush and the Indian woman CFO.

The retail asset hub of CBoP in Andheri used to be a beehive of activity during 2007. Amidst the crowd and clamour Shweta Singh glided through her work almost effortlessly. The lady had an unusually broad face , a heavy build type that complimented it and usually accompanied by a serious demeanour that I felt was necessary for her job profile in the office. You cannot expect credit managers in Banks to be of the jovial friendly type, usually they come across with a ‘do-not-mess-with-me’ air hanging around them. Most of the time they are hounded by Sales guys to get their files passed and then pilloried by collections for asset book quality. Its a classic ‘middle of the chain’ job profile that gets grinded from both sides.

So when this lady announced on LinkedIn that she was taking up a banking job offer in Afghanistan I wondered whether things had gotten really that worse for a credit manager in India! While congratulating on her new role as ‘Chief finance officer’ of an Afghan Bank the curious’ier in me again got hold ‘You are a brave heart i must say...but Afghanistan of all places?’ I blurted. To which her typical gumption filled reply was

“I got married & my Husband was shifted to Kabul as he works for a company which is NATO allied. So I have to shift there...actually there are a lot of Indian's out here but they avoid keeping their families. But actually living in Kabul is not that dangerous as it may seem on TV. I feel pressure of being in Islamic country rather then Talibani's.”

She went to add “I am the first female to be approved by the central bank of afghanistan (RBI for this country), that's an achievement by it self. Its realy good to get such mails from old colleagues. Thanxs a lot & take care”

I really felt happy for her but something just dint seem right somewhere . And now, a couple of months later I read that ‘Kabul Bank’ the largest of Afghanistan’s 10 private bank is tethering on the verge of failure. The bank’s chairman & CEO - its 2 biggest shareholders have siphoned of millions of dollars in sometimes-clandestine loans to themselves and afghan govt insiders. The Bank also is alleged to have used one of afghanistan’s traditional money transfer outfit (hawala types) to move hundreds of millions of dollars out of the country to avoid detection.

Imagine the plight of a ‘chief finance officer’ in such a Bank. I am certainly hoping that she not only watches her back on the streets but also on her new job.
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