The rating era

The rating era

Times are changing; for better or for worse, only time will tell! What was looked down upon as a forbidden act in the days of yore is today deemed a privilege of those aspiring to make it big in life. There was a time when people found it really embarrassing to borrow money from someone, they would probably die in penury than take a loan.

Gradually, the mindset changed with society accepting the system of giving and taking loans and in due course, we had institutions floated for lending. We have now reached a stage where the process of taking loans is simplified by getting our credit-worthiness assessed and rated. This new norm applies not only to individuals but to institutions as well.

As the coordinator for an international rating assignment carried out by a public sector bank, I found the task interesting. It was not just the credit portfolio the rating agencies were primarily looking at. Right from understanding the ‘Vision’ and ‘Mission’ statement, asset liability management to credit risk, they wanted to understand various areas of operation to assess and analyse past performance before giving their valued comments.

They looked at focus on technology to drive products, risk management and internal controls, and the emphasis on improving profitability and human capital empowerment. They also wanted to know whether there was a succession plan in place considering the average age of the employees at various positions in the organisational hierarchy and whether professionally qualified and experienced hands were being groomed to assume greater responsibility so that there was seamless transition to the top management position.

Rating today is sought after by all and sundry and for varied purposes. From e-commerce operators to the help-desk counters of mobile operators, all of them would like to be rated. It was while discussing these developments, especially concerning individuals, that my daughter shared her update on this subject.

As campus recruits, when she and her friends joined a software firm, they were promptly rated by their seniors and the outcome made public in no time. They had four grades, ‘E’, ‘A’, ‘F’ and ‘I’.

I listened in rapt attention, as she explained the grades awarded. Where a girl by her very presence could make heads turn, she was rated as ‘E’ for ‘exceptional beauty’. Grade ‘A’ was for those who were not naturally beautiful but with requisite make-up looked ‘attractive’. All the others were invariably rated as ‘F’ to be fair to the fairer sex except for those tagged ‘I’. They were ‘Ineligible’ being below the benchmark for consideration!

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