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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Book Review: A Bank For The Buck: The Story Of HDFC Bank

Tamal Bandyopadhyay's A Bank For The Buck: The Story Of HDFC Bank informs as well as entertains. To his credit, the author has made a serious topic like banking and setting up of a bank read like a piece of fiction. The background information for the characters and plots in the story also tell the story of contemporary India. Packed with facts, anecdotes and trivia, the book is engaging. Sample these -

By one estimate, the value of gold with Indian households could be as much as Rs28 trillion, 50% of fixed deposits in the Indian banking system in June 2012
...before founding HDFC, his (Deepak Parekh's) uncle, Hasmukh-bhai, had headed ICICI, the development finance institution that spawned ICICI Bank.
HDFC Bank learns patiently from the experiences of others before it steps into a new business, whereas ICICI Bank loves playing the pioneer. The ICICI Bank stock is volatile; HDFC shares are range-bound. The same applies to earnings. ICICI Bank is often unpredictable, both surprisingly and shockingly. HDFC Bank is monotonously predictable on most financial parameters.
C.N.Ram, the bank's technology head, showed off the automated teller machines (ATMs) to (Finance Minister, Manmohan) Singh and (then RBI Governor C.) Rangarajan, who had been his professors at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
Both (Nandan Nilekani, then head of marketing and sales at Infosys and Vinod Yennemadi) are from the same community -  Chitrapur Saraswat, a community that originally hailed from Kashmir and moved south. There are only about 25,000 of them across the world.
Deepak loves Beck's and Heineken beer with his Sunday lunches. His evening preference is Johnnie Walker's Blue Label.
..Amrita (Aditya Puri's daughter) would act in Anil Kapoor's Aisha along with Sonam Kapoor, Mukesh Bhatt's crime thriller Blood Money and UTV's Kai Po Che!

HDFC Bank is currently the fifth largest bank in India by assets. It is the largest bank in India by market capitalization (as of 24 February 2014) and it has scaled these heights in a relatively shorter time than its competitors.  The book starts with how Deepak Parekh convinces Aditya Puri, then the CEO of Citibank, Malaysia to start a bank from scratch. Giving up a better paying job, Aditya Puri took up the Managing Director role and utilized his wide network of relationships to build a strong core team which was instrumental in the success of HDFC Bank. He is now the longest-serving head of any bank in the country.

I found it annoying that the author uses first names after the initial reference to a person. There were several times when I had to find the first reference to understand which person he was talking about.

I hope there are more books like these written for people who don't regularly read the financial newspapers and magazines.

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