HDFC Bank to ride growth opportunities in emerging "Bharat"

Mumbai, Feb 13 (PTI) Private sector HDFC Bank aims toride the growth opportunities thrown up by the increasingaffluence of "Bharat" (rural India) and expects to growhigher-than-industry over the next few years, a top bankofficial said.

The bank will also focus on organic growth, havingcompleted the acquisition of CBoP a couple of years ago whichhas given it a strong footprint pan-India, he said.

"There is a tremendous opportunity in rural India andwith the country''s GDP poised to grow at 8 per cent-plus overthe next few years, HDFC Bank is well-positioned to tap thisopportunity for its rapid growth," the bank''s ManagingDirector, Aditya Puri, told PTI here.

Describing rural India as "Bharat", Puri said that HDFCBank is well-poised to exploit the growth opportunities herein terms of both products and branches.

"Bharat is growing rapidly -- there are agriculturalreforms taking place, supply-chains are being developed andimproved, per capita income is increasing and ancillary unitsare growing around manufacturing. All this makes HDFC Bankoptimistic about its, and the country''s financial sector''sgrowth going forward," Puri said.

The bank constantly innovates and comes up with newofferings, he said, citing as an example its loans againstgold jewellery facility.

"Now we give loans against gold jewellery which helps ustap business from small shop-keepers, small businesses andothers in rural areas. This business is a good one in theinteriors of the country," the HDFC Bank chief said. (MORE)PTI JJ KRK

HDFC Bank''s strategy presently is to grow organically and "we have the ability to achieve our future growth targetsorganically," Puri said.

"There is no necessity for any acquisition now," he saidin reply to a specific question on the issue.

The bank has a healthy footprint across the countrythanks to its past acquisitions beginning with Times Bank inthe late-1990s.

"The acquisition of Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP) givesus a footprint in the south as well as the north. We are,anyway, strong in the west," he said.

CBoP itself is an amalgamation of Lord Krishna Bank(south) and Bank of Punjab (north).

"Besides, we have laid a great deal of emphasis on ourasset quality -- it has never been in distress and our NPAlevels are very low," Puri said.

On fund-raising, he said it is not on the immediatehorizon. "We have a capital adequacy ratio of over 16 percent -- there is no need for us to raise funds immediately,"Puri said.

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