Some tales of success have been heard by us all. Whether it's the story of newspaper boy Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, chaiwala Modi Ji, bus conductor Rajnikanth, or the story of living legend Amitabh Bachchan, all such struggle revealing stories has been well-known and highly appreciated. But have you noticed that such popular early life stories are just of either politicians or the big stars of the entertainment industry, nothing else!
But there is one such personality of the banking sector who has gone through a lot of tussles and whose journey will be worth knowing. This is none other than the man behind HDFC, Aditya Puri; A name well recognized in the banking world. Well, let's just sneak into the journey of Aditya Puri which is halfway the journey of HDFC.
Who is Aditya Puri?
Aditya Puri was the managing director (MD) of India's largest private sector bank, HDFC. The guy held the position back in the year 1994, September. He had the vision to create the world-class Indian Bank. The most interesting thing about Aditya Puri is that he has been the longest-serving head of any of the private banks in the country. Isn't that fantastic?
The journey of Aditya Puri started in Punjab, Gurdaspur. He did his college at Punjab University and gained a degree in Bachelor of Commerce. Later he did Chartered Accountancy.
Aditya Puri has served his marvellous services in the banking sector for a tenure of 40 years both in India as well as other countries.
The Journey of Aditya Puri
As mentioned above, the journey of Aditya Puri is about the story of how he built India's largest private bank, HDFC.
In 1992, Aditya Puri became the CEO of the Citi Bank, Malaysia. Later in 1994, he returned back to India and headed HDFC. The decision to leave Malaysia was not an easy one. When Puri was asked what made him leave Citi and take the call to come to a startup, to this Puri said "There was a wonderful opportunity. The question was whether you would be able to execute the plan and make that a reality. The Public sector banks of India had the brand name, the money, and the distribution network, but they did not have the best of products.
Contrary to this, foreign banks had the products but did not have a universal brand and also did not have adequate money. We thought that if we can come out with a mixture of the two, then nobody could stop us."
What has been the hush-hush sauce for the HDFC? How was it different from the other counterparts? How had it squatted any consequence from the volley of extortions that hit India Inc in the last decade and spared none of its pals?
Well, these questions are something that has been the most curious among finance enthusiasts. Aditya Puri said that the mantra for this was simple but of course hard to enforce in an economy still chastised for its cronyism: banking and friendship are not related, and close friends depicting bad business risk get nothing but just a coffee.
Obviously, the above statements are highlighting the fraud of fugitive offenders, Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi.
Just Like other banks, HDFC began as a corporate-lending attentive organization but perhaps provoked by the ups and downs going on in the economy. However, it had witnessed itself becoming nothing but an acquainted one. It switched the emphasis to the retail segment for both the advances and low-cost deposits courtesy corporate salary accounts.
The manoeuvre or we could say the key that would take the HDFC to the seventh heaven was just the service. The well-traveled, well-heeled, and excavated to the best customers universally were inclined to pay the price for it.
The company climbed the stairs of success like anything. With a very fast pace, it grabbed the eyes of the whole banking sector. The loan books made twice as much every leap year. And in a record of sorts, the profits of the bank g grew by 30 percent every quarter record.
However, in the year 2014 the profits of this private sector bank fell down, the then MD Aditya Puri had a readymade explanation for this, "the bottom line is a reflection of the economic conditions".
Puri is not only a great mind behind this large bank but also a very flexible person to work with. He has his own charisma, and the peers around him also respect the honourable personality for his ticks and tricks. He is a man of eclectic taste. It has been noticed many times that he talks as per the needs of the situation; he would not only impress you with his English but also with the Hindi.
Many circumstances where the other officials of the rivalries would have knocked their knees down, Aditya Puri stood like the wall in defence of HDFC. Like when the RBI implored all the banks of India to contribute extra for a corporate account, HDFC was the only bank out there which bade against the regulator's diktats and sought for a review. When the stress was shown by an account, HDFC took the hit right away. Because of all such reasons the HDFC soon became the owner of its title, the largest private sector bank of India.
It was just the leadership of Aditya Puri which led to the long list of the achievements of HDFC. All those growth numbers; either of the HDFC or the Aditya Puri individually, were nothing but the fruit of organic efforts of the team of Puri.
Soon the day came when the guy was supposed to leave the bank which he had planted and watered. Yes, it was the day of retirement. Who will be the person fitting foot in the boot of Puri? This question was the talk of the town.
Obviously, it was not the deputy Paresh Sukthankar as he had already resigned. It was the 'change agent' and long-time head of finance, Sashidhar Jagdishan who was chosen as the replacement of Aditya Puri. With his control over the position, Puri said goodbye to the HDFC.
What were the achievements of Aditya Puri?
- In 2008, Aditya Puri won the title of CNN-IBN Indian Businessman of the Year.
- In 2013, Puri won various awards like; Best Executive in India – Asiamoney, Banker of the Year 2013 - Business Standard, Top Achiever - Sunday Standard Best Banker Awards, Best CEO - Institutional Investor, and Best Executive in India - Asia Money 2013Best Banker – FE.
- In 2015, he had his name among the world's 30 best CEOs.
- In 2016, again he had his name in the best 30 CEOs of World. Also, he won the FE Lifetime Achievement Award from Financial Express.
- In 2018, he was the best. Named one of the "Best CEOs in the World" by the CEOWORLD magazine.
- In 2019, he got the QIMPRO Platinum Standard Awards 2019 - National Statesman for Quality in Business. Also, "Corporate and Philanthropic leadership Award" by the American Indian Foundation. And again, "AIMA - JRD TATA Corporate Leadership Award" by the AIMA.
- Eventually, in 2020, most recently he received Induction in the Chartered Accountants Hall of Fame.
There are many more such achievements in the name of Aditya Puri.
Aditya Puri is truly a name that shows us that success with fame is not only limited to those few fields; it could be found anywhere, even in the banking sector. Who thought that a guy who initially started his career as a chartered accountant would become a banking giant.
The story of Aditya Puri could truly be recognized as an inspirational tale for those who are aspiring to make their names big in the world of banking and finance. By this journey, one would not hesitate to say that if Aditya Puri would not be there, probably HDFC would also have not been there.