Consumers have ranked it India’s second best bank. HDFC Bank, the country’s second largest private sector bank, has emerged just one rank below the pick of the pack, Axis Bank, in overall customer satisfaction in the Hindustan Times-MaRS survey of banks.
It scored consistently on all the parameters of customer satisfaction and also had consistent scores across most of the 18 cities surveyed.
“What I really like about HDFC Bank is the helpful attitude of its staff. They aren’t pushy as in some other banks, but they are just as effective,” says S. Shankar, a Kolkata-based chartered accountant with a leading multinational audit firm, who has dealings with several banks both in his personal and professional capacities.
But where it really scored high is in users’ satisfaction with its automated teller machine (ATM) network. Though it has a smaller ATM network than its private sector rival ICICI Bank, it ranks higher in satisfaction levels. In fact, it ranked second, losing out by a whisker — one point — to State Bank of India, which occupies the top slot on this count.
With 1,725 branches across 771 cities and a network of over 4,000 ATMs, the bank has a good reach.
HDFC Bank spread its wings significantly over the past few years, especially after acquiring Centurion Bank of Punjab in 2008. The effects of the acquisition are reflected in its strong presence in Punjab — top ranks in the state capital Chandigarh, and major business centre Ludhiana.
The bank’s consistency across the service delivery fronts and across geographies puts it at the second place in overall ratings. But its presence and performance in the capitals of not-so-developed states can be improved further.
For instance, HDFC Bank’s performance in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Bhubaneswar in Orissa, Ranchi in Jharkhand and Raipur in Chhattisgarh is not too impressive. It could not score enough to be among the top 10 banks in these cities.
“After ICICI Bank, it was probably the second bank in the country to realise the importance of technology and invested aggressively on this front,” says Shankar.
Then, it also has a richly deserved reputation as an ethical lender. “It doesn’t send goons to recover money
from defaulters,” says a Delhi-based financial planner who deals with several banks.
This gives customers a comfort that translates into long-term relationships and good referral business.
There is very little separating HDFC Bank from the leaders on the individual parameters surveyed. Can it leapfrog ahead of the competition?
The next Hindustan Times-MaRS survey will tell.