Meet the BS Banker of the year 2015-16: HDFC Bank’s Aditya Puri

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Aditya Puri, managing director of HDFC Bank is the Business 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.

In the first screening proposed by Business Standard, two filters were used: asset size of over Rs 50,000 crore and a growth in net profit in 2015-16. The result was a dominance of new private sector banks and small public sector banks.

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.

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