A Bank For The Buck – Book Review

This is one of the most fascinating stories of corporate India. A real life story of one of India’s most highly respected financial brand, HDFC Bank. I came across this book and by the time I was done reading the reviews on the back page, I was hooked.

Tamal Badyobadhyay is an engaging writer and he has successfully managed to make the book interesting to a wide array of audience. It is not easy to make a book about banking interesting for everyone to read. If not for his writing skills, the fact-filled book would’ve been boring as hell. The content of the book is formed by the author’s experience in financial journalism, taking series of interviews of industry leaders, banking competitors, hedge fund managers and senior core members within the organization. He reveals the fascinating story behind how the bank was started, the challenges they faced and how they managed to establish India’s most successful bank by many measures. He highlights how Deepak Parekh’s strategic decisions and his relationship with his peers at RBI, Citi Bank and other global institutions like BOA played a vital role in setting the foundation and building blocks of his banking ambitions. After roping in his closed circle of friends, Deepak Parekh chooses not to be on the board of Directors of the bank as he would have to resign as a director from other companies. Instead, he uses his reach and relationships with other companies to promote relations with HDFC Bank. The story revolves around his buddy, Aditya Puri who he appoints as Managing Director of the bank under conditions of full independence. Most of the book is Aditya Puri’s journey of setting up the most valuable bank in India. There are some historic facts mentioned about the evolution of our banking industry. The details about how banking licenses were issued, HDFC Bank’s acquisitions of Times Bank and Centurion BOP and their growth strategies are all very interesting to read. The comparisons made between HDFC & ICICI were all too interesting to read. I would recommend it to finance professionals, history buffs, financial entrepreneurs and investors.

All in all, definitely worth a read!