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The sub-Libor struggles of Minati Misra

The IFC's Minati Misra is not prone to giving the dealers on her MTN programme an easy time. With a reputation as one of the market's most sophisticated borrowers, she is far from passive. Steven Irvine spent two days by her desk in Washington listening as she charmed and cajoled her intermediaries.

She sleeps four hours a night and borrows at some of the most aggressive sub-Libor levels in the market. She keeps her bankers on the shortest of leashes.

Minati Misra spends her days in room 3-045 CTFTO on the third floor of the World Bank/IFC building in Washington. Her office is spartan: just a few files, a few books and a white board, displaying scrawled algebraic structures. But while the office is innocuous, she is not. She is one of the medium-term note market's liveliest and most sophisticated borrowers, sitting behind her desk at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) wearing her trademark telephone headset.

Reverse enquiry takes on a whole new meaning after a few hours in her presence. It means phoning up her bankers and asking what they've got for her and why they haven't got some more. Throughout the day. Every day.

Minati arrived at the World Bank's sister organization less than five years ago after a career in academia and at American Express. When she was offered the opportunity to head MTN issuance, few in the banking community imagined that this demure, middle-aged lady from Phulabani, a tiny town in southern India, would rise to the task with such aplomb.

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