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Will be “back with a bang” on credit card rollout, says HDFC Bank

Private lender HDFC Bank on Tuesday said that all preparations are in place to be back with a on credit cards and new schemes will be rolled out soon. The bank had earlier stated that it has lined up a series of new card launches in anticipation of RBI lifting its ban.

Eight months after a ban was imposed, in a letter to the HDFC Bank board on Monday, the RBI communicated that it has decided to lift restrictions on launching new credit cards while the restrictions on launching new projects under digital 2.0 was still in place. Last month the lender’s chief Sashidhar Jagdishan had stated that the bank has complied with 85% of the requirements of RBI on the technology front.

“All the preparations and strategies that we have put in place to ‘come back with a bang’ on credit cards will be rolled out in the coming time,” the lender said in a press statement. “We would like to inform all that the Reserve Bank of India has lifted the restriction placed on sourcing of new credit cards. We thank the regulator for this. The board has taken note of the same and the bank is committed to full compliance of the regulatory directions.”

The bank added that it will continue to engage with the regulator and ensure compliance on all parameters, so that the restrictions imposed on new launches of the Digital Business generating activities planned under Digital 2.0 could be lifted soon.

The RBI has asked the bank to submit a board-approved letter indicating continued compliance with its IT examination report.

“The ban has come before the festive season which starts from September onwards in India, so the juggernaut can roll with full force and launch credit cards, attractive schemes within their ecosystem partners and be a force to reckon with,” said Suresh Ganapathy, associate director, Macquarie Capital.

As per Macquarie’s analysis, HDFC Bank lost nearly 180 basis points of market share as of May 2021 since end of November 2020 when the ban on launch of new credit cards came into effect. Their market share slipped to 24% while ICICI Bank and SBI Cards gained 130bps and 37bps to 17.4% and 19.2%, respectively.

The lender also has vast ground to gain and can easily capture back the space it lost after it added 36.5 lakh liability accounts from January to June 2021,1.5-2 lakh credit cards per month pre-Covid.

“Overall, lifting of RBI restrictions before the beginning of festive season is a positive development as HDFC Bank has usually been aggressive during festive season and offers various discounts on consumer products,” said Nitin Aggarwal, research analyst, Motilal Securities.

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