It is the story of the most valued Indian bank that disrupted itself to avoid being disrupted. The book narrates the story warts and all and the author has not taken any stance. I appreciate the author for his deep research and excellent story telling ability.
I was a guest invitee at the book launch. The launch took place at Indian International Center, New Delhi, on July 16, in the presence of many renowned personalities.

Rishabh Surana and Tamal Bandyopadhyay

As we all are aware digital banking in India is moving fast with the banks adopting newer technologies to cut cost and raise the quality of services offered to customers both in terms of speed and array of products. Digital banking has resulted in reducing costs drastically and has helped generate revenue through various channels. 

The story of HDFC Bank is the story of modern India. This book narrates its transformation from being a start-up in 1994 to striding like a colossus across the Indian banking sector in two and a half decades.

The Trip that decided Digital Disruptions:

The story of transformation started in September 2014, when Aditya Puri took a trip to California, to get a first-hand experience of how fintech companies were changing the face of banking with fund transfers, mobile banking and shopping. Mr. Puri decided that they would rather disrupt themselves then be disrupted. He realized that digitization will help them in reducing the cost and bring in efficiency in making decisions. In order to minimize errors and speed up the process, the bank needs technology without compromising on quality of service.

HDFC Bank first tied up with Chillr, an app that sends money over the phone using UPI platform. Bharat QR – a code based payments service named PayZapp is very popular in stores. In a couple of branches, indigenously built IRA robots were deployed to answer client queries. In 2015, the bank introduced a marketplace platform called SmartBuy, making everything available at one place and customers have the advantage of discounts and reward points. It started transforming itself from a “Life Cycle” bank to a “Lifestyle” bank as they made it possible. When the customers want to do anything related to money HDFC Bank should be the default option.

Mr. Puri wanted a free hand to run the bank. The others were permitted to express their opinions but he was clear that there could be only one boss and that was him. Under his strong leadership the team made it possible that it could offer most of the things that a foreign bank could offer in the Indian market at lower cost.

Work Life Balance Lesson from Puri’s legacy:

The key to Mr. Puri’s legendary work- life balance is that he just does not let his life get complicated by the things that are not important. He has shown his distinct ability and proved that work and life can be balanced easily. Action is the duty, reward is not the concern. This is the genesis of his working style.

About the book:

Tamal Bandyopadhyay’s latest book, HDFC Bank 2.0: From Dawn to Digital is published by Jaico Publishing House. The book was launched by Dr. Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor Government of India at Indian International Centre, New Delhi. Aditya Puri, Managing Director, HDFC Bank Ltd and many key leaders in the financial services industry were present at the launch. Tamal Banyopadhyay has been a bestselling author, award-winning columnist and a keen observer of the Indian banking sector, for over two decades.

“Tamal combines his financial knowledge, eye for detail, and an excellent storytelling style to create a vivid portrait of India’s most valued bank and its path to the future,” says

~ NANDAN NILEKANI, Co-founder and Chairman of Infosys and Founding Chairman of UIDAI (Aadhaar), in his foreward to the book.

Bottom Line:

This book is not a sponsored project. While highlighting the distinctive characteristics of the bank, Tamal also criticizes the unforgivable mistakes made by HDFC Bank during this journey through his excellent storytelling. At the age of 69, Puri is the longest serving head of a bank of this size gloabally. It is difficult to imagine HDFC Bank without Mr. Puri, but next year he is set to retire. Will HDFC Bank’s growth lose steam without him? To know the journey and prospects of HDFC Bank, I recommend the book of Tamal Bandyopadhyay. After reading of the book, you will be able to analyse the potential of HDFC Bank and also get the larger perspective of Indian banking.  The flow of language is marvelous. You will not be able to leave the book in your study after reading a few pages. You will be finish it reading the whole book probably at go. I can vouch for this. The book is available for order at all leading book store and also on Amazon and Flipkart.

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