Eknath Thakur, Chairman of the country’s largest co-operative sector lender, Saraswat Bank, died after a prolonged fight with cancer.
Thakur, who also represented Shiv Sena in the Rajya Sabha, was 72.
After quitting the job as an officer with State Bank of India to protest the emergency in 1976, Thakur started the National School of Banking (NSB) to train graduates, which has been instrumental in getting placements for 80,000 such youngsters.
He took over as Chairman of Saraswat Bank in 2001 and continued being at the helm till his demise.
The 13-year-period has seen the bank’s total business grow nearly nine times to Rs 36,000 crore and expansion in presence outside Maharashtra to states like Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Madhya Pradesh.
With most of its peers from the cooperative sector in bad shape due to multitude of reasons including poor governance, Saraswat Bank continued doing good business and also acquired seven ailing banks to expand its reach.
The bank is now contemplating changing its character and becoming a private sector bank.