Aditya Puri, managing director of HDFC Bank is theBusiness Standard Banker of the Year for 2015-16.
He was selected by a six-member jury headed by former Economic Affairs Secretary C M Vasudev, for the bank’s commendable contribution in the digital banking space as well as the lender’s deep reach in rural and semi-urban India. At the same time, the bank maintained its healthy profits over the years and also kept a leash on its asset quality.
The other jury members were former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Deputy Governors Anand Sinha and H R Khan, Edelweiss Group Chairman Rashesh Shah, Ican Investment Advisors Chairman Anil Singhvi, and Ambit Capital CEO — Institutional Equities Saurabh Mukherjea.
The jury decided to modify the filters and went on to do a more rigorous analysis to rise above “cold statistics”. Statistics, the jury argued, could be made favourable by pursuing narrow banking.
Thereby, a need was felt to emphasise the risk taking ability of the bank and its leader at a time when a slowing economy meant more bad asset accretion in proportion to the rate of expansion of the lending book.
“We are trying to select the best banker. Should we give the award to someone who is completely risk averse and decided to not contribute much towards industrial development and rural penetration? I think not,” Vasudev set the standard for the rest of the jury.
The jury gave importance to profitability, asset quality health and how the bank chief had made the organisation stronger over the years.
Based on the criteria, 13 banks and their chiefs were shortlisted. The jury then narrowed the scope to three individuals. All three had numbers in favour of them so the jury opted for a subjective assessment.
Vasudev, who is also a former chairman of HDFC Bank said, he would be guided by other jury members, without compromising on the objective evaluation of the task at hand.
After a lengthy discussion, the other members of the jury unanimously chose HDFC Bank’s managing director Aditya Puri as their winner for maintaining a balance between shareholder returns, the bank’s responsibility towards society and furthering technological innovation in the financial domain, and the chairman of the jury agreed.
The Business Standard Banking Annual, a special 52-page magazine being distributed with Monday’s edition, carries a detailed profile of and interview with Puri.
Puri joined HDFC Bank as a founding member and managing director in 1994. Since then, he has taken the bank to great heights and is third most valuable company on the bourses.
Puri grew HDFC Bank through both organic and inorganic route by acquiring Times Bank in 2000 and Centurion Bank of Punjab in 2008. Puri is the longest-serving CEO of an Indian bank, and is the only bank chief to win the BS Banker of the Year award for the second time.
The bank’s net interest income grew at 23.2 per cent and its net profit growth was 22.3 per cent in 2015-16.