HDFC Bank hopes to return with a ‘bang’ and regain lost market share

Laying out future plans, once the embargo is lifted, he said the bank had a much more wholesome strategy.

HDFC Bank expects to regain the lost market share and make a strong comeback once the regulator lifts the embargo on issuing new credit cards, Parag Rao- head of consumer finance, digital banking and information technology said on Wednesday.

Without sharing details over when he expected the ban to be lifted, Rao said within three-four months of the ban getting lifted, one should expect incremental market share back to the pre-ban levels. The bank has been in constant discussion with RBI ever since the ban was imposed, and has upgraded its systems as per the indications from the regulator, Rao said. He added that it had now presented a plan that focuses on the immediate, short-term, mid-term and long-term to the central bank.

According to the RBI data, in the period between December 2020 and April 2021, HDFC Bank’s credit card base contracted by 3.89 lakh. While ICICI Bank’s credit card portfolio increased by 8.15 lakh, SBI Card and Axis Bank added 4.37 lakh and 3.29 lakh cards, respectively. However, HDFC Bank continues to have the largest customer base in the segment with 1.49 crore outstanding credit cards as on April 30, 2021.

In December, RBI a had stopped HDFC Bank from issuing fresh credit cards and announcing new digital initiatives following multiple outages the bank witnessed over the past few years. The regulator also called for a third-party audit of the bank’s IT infrastructure.

“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.

Laying out future plans, once the embargo is lifted, he said the bank had 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.

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

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