How did life come full circle for Deepak Parekh?

After turning the dream of owning a home into a reality for millions of Indians over its 45-year journey, Housing Development Finance Corporation has found a home within the family. Those were the words of HDFC chairman Deepak Shantilal Parekh, 77, as he announced the mortgage financier’s merger with HDFC Bank, creating a lending giant. The merger has been the subject of speculation for over two decades, but is now coming to fruition as regulatory changes have lowered the barrier to a merger. The proposed merger will allow for larger loans to be underwritten, including infrastructure loans – an urgent need in the country. India’s second-biggest lender will swell further, narrowing its gap with the State Bank of India, whose total advances at the end of December 2021 stood at 26.66 trillion rupees. Meanwhile, on a pro forma basis, the combined HDFC Bank’s total advances amount to almost Rs 17.9 trillion. Deepak Parekh joined HDFC as Deputy General Manager in 1978, a year after it was established by his uncle Hasmukhbhai Parekh. Not only did he quit a plum job at Chase Manhattan Bank, but he also took a 50% pay cut. Parekh has made HDFC one of the leading housing finance companies. Under his leadership, HDFC has made inroads into areas such as banking, asset management, life and general insurance, education finance and real estate venture capital. HDFC Bank was born in 1994 and Parekh joined Aditya Puri to run it.

Puri retired as Managing Director and CEO of the bank in October 2020. Known for his outspokenness, Parekh has become the trusted man of political decision-makers. He has been outspoken in his opinions, whether on the policies of the government or the Reserve Bank of India. Parekh has also become India’s most authoritative voice on ethics and best banking practices, making clean business the cornerstone of how the HDFC Group operates. Deepak Parekh’s reign as head of HDFC is set to end soon. He would not be eligible to serve on the bank’s board after the merger, due to RBI rules on age limits. By bringing HDFC back under the fold of HDFC Bank in its final act, Parekh leaves a legacy that will likely be unmatchable in India’s financial services industry.

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