Twenty five years ago when Aditya Puri and Paresh Sukthankar sat with a band of bankers to tell potential investors in the initial public offering of HDFC Bank what they intended to do in their first three years, few knew what was possible. But regulations demanded they provide a business plan if they wanted capital from public markets. After weeks of deliberations, they concluded the safest bet would be to say HDFC Bank would have 300 branches in three years. Come 2019, it has 5,130 branches and plans to open 700 branches in a year. That’s the gap between how one visualises the future and what it actually turns out to be, if things go right. For HDFC Bank, which raised Rs 50 crore in an IPO in May 1995 at Rs 10 a share with a market capitalisation of Rs 5.98 lakh crore, and 8 others that started the journey in a fledgling free market for financial services, it was like heading into unchartered waters. It was a voyage that could end up like it did for Christopher Columbus or Ferdinand Magellan. Indian banking has its share of Columbuses and Magellans. A quarter of a century later, what is… Read full this story
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