A Moneylife research compares three banks and finds out that HDFC Bank has come out at the top while Axis Bank has more work to do to get ahead of its key rivals
A comparison between Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank shows that Axis Bank leaves a lot to be desired while HDFC Bank has trumped both Axis Bank and ICICI Bank. The table below shows the comparison of the three banks, using key parameters. The green bars indicate the best in that category, while red indicates the opposite.
Axis Bank’s loan growth was slower than HDFC Bank, at 19% growth (Rs1,69,760 crore). ICICI Bank recorded the slowest credit growth, clocking only an increase of 17% (total advances at Rs2,53,728 crore) partly because it has the largest advances portfolio. From the table above we see that HDFC Bank is the healthiest of the lot, topping in three out of five categories, while Axis Bank was worse in four out of five categories.
HDFC on the other hand recorded the highest Current Account-Savings Account (CASA) ratio (48.4%) indicating that it continues to find ways to access low cost funds to ramp up its growth. Due to higher CASA ratio and a robust 22% increase in advances, it had consolidated net profit of Rs5247, which is higher by 31.4% over last year. It also had a higher net interest margin (for the March 2012 quarter) of 4.2%, compared with 3.55% and 3.01% for Axis Bank and ICICI Bank, respectively. Net interest margin is the difference between interest earned and interest expended and is considered a key measure of a bank’s profitability. Only ICICI had highest net profit (Rs7,643 crore) than the other two, but it came at an expense of higher bad debts.
ICICI Bank had the highest Net Non-Performing Assets (NNPA) of 0.62% compared with just 0.25% and 0.20% for Axis Bank and HDFC Bank, respectively. Despite this, its Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) was a healthy 18.52%, compared to a measly 13.66% for Axis Bank and 16.5% for HDFC Bank.
It is interesting to note that Axis Bank’s bottomline was boosted by a 153% rise in trading profits, signifying increased risk taken to earn profits. Indeed, despite this, Axis’ profits would have stagnated but for a 10% decline in provisions, from Rs1,280 crore to Rs1,143 crore which helped the bank’s bottomline. However, fees—the jam for a bank—has increased by 25% year-on-year, to Rs4,727 crore. On the other hand, ICICI Bank’s fee income had declined from Rs6,707 crore in FY10-11 to Rs6,419 crore in FY12, a decline of over 4%. While HDFC Bank’s fees are not known from the latest filings, its “non-interest” (or “other income”) income stood at Rs5,243 crore, up 21% year-on-year.
Axis Bank restructured loans on its books stood at Rs3,060 crore, much of it from large and mid-sized companies (79% of restructured assets). It also provided for higher provision coverage ratio of 80.91%, higher than ICICI (80.4%), but lower than HDFC Bank (82.4%). ICICI Bank’s net restructured assets stood at Rs4,256 crore which is higher than Axis Bank thanks to its larger base. In HDFC Bank’s case, the quantum of restructured assets stood at 0.4% of the gross advances.
The banking industry is perceived to be going through difficult times due to low credit off-take in face of high interest rates and inflation. However, this perception could be incorrect given the extremely robust performance of HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank. The message from Axis’ performance is less clear since it is undergoing a transformation under the current CEO.