A bank is a financial intermediary that accepts deposits and channels those deposits into lending activities, either directly or through capital markets. A bank connects customers with capital deficits to customers with capital surpluses.
Banking is generally a highly regulated industry, and government restrictions on financial activities by banks have varied over time and location. The current set of global bank capital standards are called Basel II. In some countries such as Germany, banks have historically owned major stakes in industrial corporations while in other countries such as the United States banks are prohibited from owning non-financial companies. In Japan, banks are usually the nexus of a cross-share holding entity known as the keiretsu. In Iceland banks had very light regulation prior to the 2008 collapse.
The oldest bank still in existence is Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy, which has been operating continuously since 1472.
The Housing DevelopmentFinance Corporation Limited (HDFC) was amongst the first to receive an 'in principle' approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up a bank in the private sector, as part of the RBI's liberalization of the Indian Banking Industry in 1994. The bank was incorporated in August 1994 in the name of 'HDFC Bank Limited', with its registered office in Mumbai, India. HDFC Bank commenced operations as a Scheduled Commercial Bank in January 1995.
HDFC Bank's mission is to be a World-Class Indian Bank. The objective is to build sound customer franchises across distinct businesses so as to be the preferred provider of banking services for target retail and wholesale customer segments, and to achieve healthy growth in profitability, consistent with the bank's risk appetite. The bank is committed to maintain the highest level of ethical standards, professional integrity, corporate governance and regulatory compliance. HDFC Bank's business philosophy is based on four core values – Operational Excellence, Customer Focus, Product Leadership and People.
HDFC Bank is headquartered in Mumbai. The Bank at present has an enviable network of over 1229 branches spread over 444 cities across India. All branches are linked on an online real-time basis. Customers in over 120 locations are also serviced through Telephone Banking. The Bank's expansion plans take into account the need to have a presence in all major industrial and commercial centers where its corporate customers are located as well as the need to build a strong retail customer base for both deposits and loan products. Being a clearing/settlement bank to various leading stock exchanges, the Bank has branches in the centers where the NSE/BSE has a strong and active member base.
The Bank also has a network of about over 2526 networked ATMs across these cities. Moreover,HDFC Bank's ATM network can be accessed by all domestic and international Visa/MasterCard,Visa Electron/Maestro, Plus/Cirrus and American Express Credit/Charge cardholders .
HDFC Bank operates in a highly automated environment in terms of information technology and communication systems. All the bank's branches have online connectivity, which enables the bank to offer speedy funds transfer facilities to its customers. Multi-branch access is also provided to retail customers through the branch network and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
The Bank has made substantial efforts and investments in acquiring the best technology available internationally, to build the infrastructure for a world class bank. The Bank's business is supported by scalable and robust systems which ensure that our clients always get the finest services we offer.
The Bank has prioritized its engagement in technology and the internet as one of its key goals and has already made significant progress in web-enabling its core businesses. In each of its businesses, the Bank has succeeded in leveraging its market position, expertise and technology to create a competitive advantage and build market share.
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Bank Mergers are taking place all over the world. The Banks are opting for Mergers at a rapid rate as the mergers are able to diversify risk, to reduce cost and to increase efficiency. Bank Mergers are happening in the world economy in a rapid rate for the past few years. Obviously there are reasons behind this numerous bank mergers.