According to HDFC Bank’s chief financial officer Srinivasan Vaidyanathan, credit card outstanding shrank to Rs 60,429 crore in end-June from Rs 64,674 crore in end-March because of a drop in revolving credit. He said that the focus was on quality of credit and around three-fourths of the bank’s credit card customers have deposits that are on average five times the credit card outstanding. He was addressing analysts in a conference call after the bank’s results for the first quarter of the current fiscal.
Speaking in the same call, head (retail assets) Arvind Kapil said that the bank was now seeing buoyancy returning to the personal loan segment and expects good growth in future.
The bank, which is facing a freeze on issuing new cards, has completed an audit of its IT systems as required by the RBI and is now waiting to hear from the central bank. Even as it awaits the RBI’s nod for resuming card issuance, the bank is rapidly growing its card-acceptance business. Vaidyanathan said that the bank already has 2.3 million merchant-acceptance points and it has a 50% market share of merchants being on-boarded for card-acceptance as against 40% last year.
HDFC Bank’s chief credit officer Jimmy Tata said that, during the quarter, things had not been the most orderly because of the second wave. “We were pretty much back to pre-Covid level until March, till the second wave hit us in April. We found our staff getting infected rapidly and we stopped going out on recovery calls. Most of the work was work-from-home. It is only in the month of June that we had the ability to start going out,” he said. In the second quarter, there has been a high level of vaccinations in the bank and staff have returned to office for calling on borrowers.
According to Tata, the one product segment that has seen a non-Covid impact was diesel commercial vehicles (CVs), because they have not been able to pass on the sharp hike in fuel costs. He said that the bank was watching the portfolio as it would take two quarters for the price hike to be passed on. “We expect that by the festival season, things would have been brought back on an even keel, with cost increases passed on.”
On the cards business, Srinivasan said that HDFC Bank’s debit card issuance would not be hit because of the ban on Mastercard except for a couple of co-branded cards. He said that cards contribute between one-fourth to a third of the bank’s fee income in any quarter.
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