HDFC Bank in talks with Goldman Sachs Group's Harit Talwar for CEO role

Topics HDFC Bank | Goldman Sachs

Harit Talwar is now the head of Goldman Sachs Group’s consumer-banking business
Harit Talwar, the head of Goldman Sachs Group’s consumer-banking business, is in the running for one of India’s top banking jobs.

HDFC Bank, India’s largest private-sector lender, has held talks with Talwar for the top role, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The bank has been looking for a new leader to replace Aditya Puri, one of the longest-serving banking chiefs in India, whose term ends in October.

The Mumbai-based lender has a market capitalisation of about $86 billion, giving it a bigger standing than major US banks like Goldman and Morgan Stanley. A spokesman for HDFC Bank declined to comment and Goldman representatives didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Talwar joined Goldman in 2015 and was the face of its push into consumer banking. The Wall Street giant had eschewed business with Main Street for most of its more than 150 years in existence. That has changed as it seeks new business lines to help boost growth.

Before joining Goldman, Talwar led the US cards division for Discover Financial Services. He also spent 15 years at Citigroup, with roles tied to cards, loans, and retail banking.

HDFC Bank has had a panel in place to find a successor to Puri, who has said his replacement should be better than him and shouldn’t require 18 months of handholding for the job. The bank has largely skirted the crisis in India’s shadow lending sector that fueled bad loans and weighed on the fortunes of some of its peers. However, it’s vulnerable to weakening consumer demand as the nation’s economic growth slows.

Puri, 69, has led HDFC Bank since 1994 when it was incorporated in Mumbai. It is India's largest private-sector bank both by assets and market value, and has more than 5,000 branches across almost 2,800 cities. The lender’s profit rose 33 per cent to Rs 7420 crore ($1 billion) in the three months ended December 31.

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