It is the foundation of a building that holds it together, ensures that it reaches its planned heights and protects the people inhabiting it. HDFC has followed this principle, building its success on the vision of its founder H.T. Parekh. In 1977, surrounded by scepticism, HDFC aimed to introduce the then alien concept of retail housing finance in a strongly socialistic environment, where credit was directed through public institutions and there was no comprehensive legal framework to govern institutional finance to households. But impossible was not a word we knew.
Being a pioneer is usually an advantage, but it comes with a large responsibility. In its first year of operations, HDFC sanctioned loans worth Rs 6.25 crore in six months. Innovation was the key, whether it was a business model that focused on the least painful and inexpensive delivery mechanism for retail housing loans, or the concept of customer counselling. Our concepts and goals got us funding from international agencies like USAID and World Bank and support from the central government, and contributed to our credibility in the market.
At HDFC, we believed that housing finance needed to take into account the manner in which resources are mobilised, the efficiency with which resources are disseminated and the effectiveness with which the process is managed. Today, these have become the defining constituents of delivery mechanisms for a variety of financial services.
There was also a need at this point to create an internal management style and value system that we would base our strategies on. We made a conscious effort to build our brand around service management as a tool and customer relationships as the objective. The words flexibility and response were the twin pillars of our philosophy of action.
With constant efforts and new products, like home improvement or...