Dinesh Unnikrishnan’s brief article is interesting because what is left unsaid in this article is even more interest than the specific contents of this article. Mr Unnikrishnan notes that India’s private sector bank CEOs have chosen discretion over valour when it comes to opening their mouths in the public. Why so?

““It’s better to keep silent rather than shooting your mouth off and inviting bad press,” said one senior corporate communication official who has spent decades at a well-known bank.

“The CEOs of banks now think: ‘let my numbers tell the story rather than my going out and talking to the press’,” said another PR industry executive…That’s a reason why many bankers who were approachable earlier have stopped talking after being promoted to a certain level. I know one bank CEO who was earlier rather eager to be quoted regularly, and even used to call reporters to offer his comments. All that changed after a certain point; the CEO is now invisible…This isn’t an isolated case.

The other reason is the fear of the mighty banking regulator. Banks are extremely cautious about what their top bosses say to the media on the record and what repercussions those comments may have on the institution. No one wants to be on the wrong side of the Reserve Bank of India….

In the digital age, when every spoken word is recorded and archived for future reference, backtracking from statements (a skilled art many bank CEOs used to practise in the past) is now nearly impossible. So, what’s the better alternative? Staying mum.”

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