Money & Banking

Post lifting of embargo, HDFC Bank ready to return with a bang in cards segment

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 30, 2021


It continues to have the largest credit card customer base with 1.49 crore outstanding credit cards as on April 30, 2021

Private sector lender HDFC Bank, which is under an embargo by the Reserve Bank of India for credit card acquisitions and digital launches, is hoping to return with a “bang” and regain its incremental market share in cards.

“We have used the last six month period since December to introspect, reinvigorate and re-engineer for the future. We will use tech and digital to help us continue being dominant in the space and will get back to the market with a bang. We have the entire system ready and charged up,” said Parag Rao, Group Head – Payments, Consumer Finance, Digital Banking and IT, HDFC Bank.

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He expressed hope that the embargo on the bank would be lifted by the RBI soon and said the lender has been in continuous dialogue with the regulator.

“We have very aggressive plans to get back to the market with a big bang. You will see a significant correction in the incremental marketshare,” Rao told reporters at a virtual press conference.

Laying out future plans for when the embargo will be lifted, he said the bank has a much more wholesome strategy.

“It is not only to regain our (credit cards) number and value market share but also to forge new partnerships, build more scale, introduce newer products and services and continue on our journey of being the dominant payments bank player in the space,” he said.

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RBI data reveals that lenders such as ICICI Bank and State Bank of India have seen a sharp rise in acquisition of credit card customers since the embargo on HDFC Bank.

ICICI Bank added over 8.15 lakh new credit card customers between January and April this year.

However, HDFC Bank continues to have the largest credit card customer base with 1.49 crore outstanding credit cards as on April 30, 2021.

Rao said the bank has been using the six month period to work on its technology and digital processes and also has a base of pre-approved customers, who will be offered credit cards when the embargo is lifted.

“Our growth on the liability and asset side has continued. We have acquired a significant number on liability and asset side. Our strategy of 75 per cent to 80 per cent internal customer for card base still continues. We have a large database of customers who have one relationship with the bank. We have pre-approved them, we have primed our channels and have set milestones,” he said.

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In the interim, HDFC Bank has been working with its existing card customers and engaging them in deeper relationships.

“We saw very good results by refocussing on our customer base. We have a far more engaged portfolio, significant increase in activation,” he said, adding that the lender has also broadened the skills of its sales force and reskilled it.

Published on June 30, 2021

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