I am a social banker, says TMB chairman and CEO R Natarajan

Starting his banking career as a clerk in State Bank of India (SBI), Natarajan rose up to the level of deputy general manager there. In 1997 he joined Bharat Overseas Bank (BOBL), a Chennai-based private bank, as its general manager.

After three years, he retired and went to the US and stayed there for a year. He used that time to write a travelogue. Natarajan has written two more books — a collection of his poems and his father's biography.

In October 2002, he was selected from a panel of three to head TMB, which was embroiled in a takeover drama and the Nadar retrieval movement, and which hasn't held its annual general meeting for almost seven years.

Soon after assuming office he presented his roadmap for the bank — Vision 2005 — to the board. Today, despite the entire hullabaloo around him, he wants to expand the branch network and sign up bancassurance deals with life and non-life insurers. "I want to compete with India's public sector banks," he says.

Terming himself as a 'social banker', Natarajan recently spoke to domain-b about the ways and means to achieve his Vision 2005 plan, among other aspects. Excerpts from the interview: