Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Catholic Syrian: God\'s own bank

A community bank in Kerala finds the church, a rival and a tycoon from Thailand all interested in its future.

The tropical district of Thrissur in the heartland of Kerala has always attracted outsiders. It was here that Christianity and Islam entered India within years of their founding. But sitting right in the middle of this melting pot of cultures and heading a community bank that represents one of Indias oldest Christian denominations, V.P. Iswardas is in no mood to entertain outsiders.

�My job is to focus on my customers, the man who took charge as the managing director of Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) last December, says. He is in the middle of a multi-pronged battle for the control of this community bank. Backed by little more than the benign presence of Jesus Christ in a portrait in his office, he is trying to ward off takeover attempts and protect the bank�s independence.

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