Book Review:A bank for the buck

This is in continuation of my book review series (see here)

A bank for the buck” by Tamal Bandyopadhyay is a book on the birth and growth of HDFC Bank

I have admired Tamal for his incisive newspaper columns and he has covered the Indian financial industry for a long time (see this).

This book contains lots of interesting anecdotes (see this) which gives one a ringside view of the making of HDFC Bank.

One thing that stuck me while reading this book is how much “an old boy’s network” the Indian banking industry is.Everybody seems to know everybody else in the Indian banking sector.

Would strongly recommend this book to readers who want to know more about HDFC Bank and the Indian banking industry.

Anecdotes BookExcerpt

Aditya Puri of HDFC Bank: Where is the laddoo?

Am reading this book on HDFC Bank called “A Bank for the Buck” by Tamal Bandyopadhyay.

Came across this interesting snippet (Page 150 !) :

“This is a bank that does not know anything beyond business.When we make presentations to our MD Aditya Puri, he says, “Teri unchi English mere ko samajh me nahi aati hai;mere ko ye bata ki laddoo kidhar hai.” Everybody in HDFC Bank understands what laddoo stands for.

The presentations don’t last more than four to five slides.Aditya loves talking to the point.”Paise kidhar hai woh dikha,mujhe aur kuch nahi samajhta hai, seedha baat pe aa.Mujhe tu global gyan mat de.”


Am reminded of this famous movie scene from Jerry Maguire “Show me the money”



The disease HDFC Bank’s Aditya Puri is suffering from

Aditya Puri is one of India’s best known bankers-hugely respected for setting up HDFC Bank.

He has written a piece in ET today where he makes some ridiculous suggestions for reducing CAD.Some of his suggestions include:

1.Ban import of gold (Mumbai underworld will start recruiting straightaway)

2.Hike import duty rates (haven’t we seen this story before?)

3.Allow agricultural exports (try explaining why higher veggies prices are necessary to reduce CAD  to your wife)

4.Boost exports to China (er…How?)

The political tone deaf and impracticality of the suggestions makes it is clear that he is suffering from a disease called the “Shoe Button Complex.”

This phrase comes from my guru Charlie Munger. Munger’s grandfather had managed to corner the market on shoe buttons back around 1900. The grandfather exercised a virtual monopoly over their production and sale. Emboldened by his business acumen, the old man grew to believe that he not only knew more than anyone about shoe buttons but that he knew more than anyone about anything—and he preached and proclaimed at length on such. Munger and Buffett named the syndrome the Shoe Button Complex, and they encountered it frequently in their dealings with successful business practitioners.

Maybe Aditya Puri should stick to his knitting, and if he has more time on his hands, he can start reading Munger  !


Sellside Research

Kotak Report on HDFC Bank

This report is for informational purposes only.Not a recommendation to buy or sell.