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‘Smart Goals’ by HDFC Bank – Enabling customers to achieve their aspirations

‘Smart Goals’ – the new savings product launched by HDFC Bank at the beginning of this year – is proving to be a great success. This is due to its innovative approach enabling customers to realize their medium-term goals. Unique features include a higher interest rate and total flexibility and convenience.

‘Smart Goals’ enables customers to target their goals at the end of three years. At that point, they can fulfil their aspirations in life, be it purchasing a new car, getting married or sending their children overseas for education.

“This product is ideal for those who want to achieve their aspirations in a relatively short period,” said General Manager/CEO of HDFC Bank, Palitha Gamage. He noted that the response from their customers so far has been very encouraging. He expected an average of 200 new accounts to be opened daily across the country.

“We expect the demand to continue because of its unique features,” said Mr. Gamage. He was confident that it will prove to be a highly popular and successful product even in the long term.

Among the notable features of ‘Smart Goals’ is the incentive to save. The more customers save, the higher the interest rate. The interest offered will be above the average market rate across all slabs. It will be calculated on a daily basis and credited to one’s deposit account monthly. Another noteworthy feature is the flexibility offered. Customers can plan ahead to achieve their targets in three years by depositing any amount of money at any time. This is in contrast to other investment plans, which are generally longer in duration and have a fixed amount to be deposited monthly. At the end of three years, customers can withdraw their deposits with the accumulated interest. This can then be used for various purposes, be it launching a new business, purchasing a vehicle, pursuing an academic qualification or embarking on a pilgrimage.

Customers can also opt not to withdraw their money at the end of three years. This will entitle them to an additional interest rate of 0.5% if no withdrawals are made during the relevant month. This incentive is offered to encourage longer-term savings.

Assistant General Manager (Business Development & Marketing), HDFC Bank, Himali Gunathilake said that ‘Smart Goals’ is being offered through all their 39 branches. She added that this is a great opportunity for customers across the country to achieve their medium-term goals with utmost flexibility highest returns and convenience. According to her, this will be further facilitated with the HDFC palmtop banking service. Through this doorstep banking service, customers can request the assigned staff equipped with mobile devices to visit their premises to collect deposits. The amount collected is updated to their accounts instantly. Besides the convenience factor, this offers customers a sense of security and peace of mind.

At present, 12,000 HDFC customers use their palmtop banking service, and the number is constantly growing. It is hassle-free and doesn’t require any documentation. It also saves much time, and even a very minimal amount can be deposited. The service has proved quite beneficial for small-time business people and the self-employed. It can be obtained by simply calling the hotline (011) 2356888.

At present, HDFC Bank is a market leader in housing development finance. It has over three decades of experience and expertise in this field. Its core business is providing home loans for the low and middle income segments. In 2012, the bank began diversifying its product portfolio and entered new market segments. Among these new areas of business were leasing and SME loans including microfinance. The bank’s diversification strategy proved quite successful. It now caters to niche customer segments with innovative products that go beyond its core business of providing housing loans.

Today, the key activities of HDFC Bank, besides housing finance, are leasing, deposits, business loans, educational loans, pawning savings and deposits. It caters to various population segments with different financial requirements. They range from professionals, state sector employees and pensioners to SME entrepreneurs and micro entrepreneurs. In addition to the recently launched ‘Smart Goals,’ HDFC Bank offers a diverse portfolio of loan and savings products.Among their loan products are Kedella (home loan scheme on primary mortgage of the property), Shrama Udana (home loan for EPF members against the EPF balance), Lifestyle Loan (for purchasing home appliances through nominated suppliers), Situ Sevana (a value-added home loan to fit one’s lifestyle), Professionals’ Loan (for qualified professionals for housing purposes) and Gold Loan (which is granted against the value of gold to meet urgent financial requirements).

The bank’s savings products include Prathilaba (a regular savings account with special benefits and facilities), Thilina (minors’ savings account with an attractive gift scheme based on increasing savings balance), Vishrama Rekewarana (a pension plan that comes with unique benefits including a flexible deposit option and the highest possible interest rate in the market), Vishrama Udana (a fixed deposit scheme for senior citizens that offers above market interest rates) and Set For Life (a wealth creation scheme for young people that enables them to plan for their future), Sri Ratnabhimani an insurance linked pension scheme which will cover the account holder as well as his family.

Today, HDFC Bank offers digital banking solutions including online payment and e-banking services. Its core banking system implemented in 2017 has facilitated the introduction of new diversified products and supported its growth strategy. This system has also greatly enhanced the bank’s efficiency as well as its ability to offer convenience to customers. HDFC Bank has a state-private ownership structure. The government holds a 51% controlling stake while private companies and individuals have a 49% share. It was initially a state-run institution, but in 2005 it was listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, resulting in private sector investment. Hence, the bank today benefits from a unique combination – the stability and security provided by the state coupled with private sector efficiency.