A shoddy succession plan at HDFC Bank29 July 2020.In the annals of corporate history, leaders are measured both with what they build and what they leave behind. That moment of reckoning has come for Aditya Puri. HDFC Bank Ltd is scouting for a successor to Puri, 69, who has helmed the bank as managing director since its inception in the mid-1990s. Puri, under whose watch the company went on to become India’s largest private sector bank by assets, […]
How fit-and-proper is Sachin Bansal to run a bank?22 July 2020.In September 2019, the co-founder of India’s star e-commerce, Sachin Bansal, was not the first suitor of an insurance business that was on the block. Beleaguered home finance company DHFL’s parent WGC was selling its stake in its general insurance unit to bring down its liabilities and wanted to exit quickly. Another tech entrepreneur, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, was already at the door offering more money, but wouldn’t sign the dotted line until December.
But WGC could not wait and decided to exclusively deal with Bansal as he seemed a surer suitor. The due diligence prolonged and it was not until January that the deal was done for Rs 220 crore (most papers reported the deal was worth only Rs 100 crore). At the last minute, there was a serious hitch.
Authorities at the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India realized that Bansal’s company Navi Technologies could not be cleared “fit-and-proper” as its earlier application to be a non-banking financial company, or NBFC, was pending before the Reserve Bank of India. IRDA did not want to pre-empt the RBI.
In two years, Bansal had gone from a no-name in the financial services industry to be an applicant for a full-fledged banking licence—a notoriously difficult permit to obtain from RBI. For a tech entrepreneur with no banking experience to even apply would have been a ridiculous thought even five years earlier. The question remains, what are the odds of Bansal getting through?
RBI is trying to change payments in India, again13 February 2020.The past five years have seen dramatic shifts in the way money changes hands in India. Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of India signalled that the end is far from near. On Monday, RBI set the digital payments world abuzz with the announcement of a “Draft Framework for authorisation of a pan-India New Umbrella Entity (NUE) for Retail Payment Systems”. That is a bit of a mouthful, but in […]
We close publishing for the year this week, and return in January. It’s been 13 weeks since we launched on 23 September, and we are truly grateful to all of you who have been here with us.
These three months have been by turns exciting and humbling; we are proud of the journalism we have done, and at the same time have learned much. But we’re not here to plug our work today. Instead, we’re looking back at the year gone by through five long reads we have collated from across publications. These stories, we feel, represent some of the best journalism in India and elsewhere—and more importantly, together they give us excellent context to our three themes: Internet, Business and Chaos.