When reports surfaced in July that newspaper publisher Deccan Chronicle Holdings was struggling for survival, several of its creditors were caught off-guard.
Not HDFC Bank.
Even as Deccan, which also owned a glitzy cricket team, sought to reassure markets that it held enough assets to stave off a crisis, HDFC Bank was busy getting rid of the loans extended to the group, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
That agility paid off: Deccan has since lost its cricket franchise and its lenders, including heavyweight ICICI Bank , Axis Bank and a dozen others, have been left with bad loans totalling $750 million.
"Alertness and the ability to pick early signs of problems have helped," Paresh Sukthankar, executive director at HDFC Bank, said in an interview, pointing to the bank's low bad loans of 0.9 percent of its book compared with 4.2 percent expected for the industry by March.
Text: Swati Pandey, Reuters
Cartoon: Satish Acharya