Helped by control over operational costs and wholesale advances, HDFC Bank today reported 25.1 per cent jump in net profit at Rs 2,325.7 crore for the third quarter of 2013-14 fiscal.
This is, however, the second consecutive quarter when the bank's profit growth has come in below the 30 per cent mark.
The country's second largest private lender, which had posted 30 per cent jump in net profit for every quarter for over a decade, had reported post-tax net of Rs 1,859.07 crore in the third quarter of 2012-13 fiscal.
HDFC Bank's Deputy Managing Director Paresh Sukthankar said however that the lender does not have any fixation for the 30 per cent growth number and stressed that its profits are a function of conditions in the economy.
During the October-December quarter of 2013-14, the bank's operating expenses grew only by 3.8 per cent to Rs 2,895.1 crore, which helped compress the cost-to-income ratio to 42.7 per cent as against 47.2 per cent in the year-ago period.
Sukthankar said this could be achieved largely on the back of productivity gains and some "short-term tactical" moves, not at the cost of branch expansion. The bank has opened 274 branches in the past nine months.
He said, however, the number of employees has declined over the last 12 months in spite of the network expansion.
HDFC Bank's net interest income - the gap between interest earned and paid out - grew 16.4 per cent to Rs 4,634.8 crore in Q3, while the non-interest income was up 11.4 per cent to Rs 2,48.3 crore.
Net interest margin compressed by 0.1 per cent to 4.2 per cent. Sukthankar said it suffered 0.16-0.17 per cent impact as a result of the USD 3.4 billion of fresh foreign currency deposits and then swapped them using the concessions offered by the RBI.
He said the bank will strive to protect margins in the 4.1-4.4 per cent range going forward.
The lender's share of the low-cost current and savings account (CASA) deposits came down to 41 per cent as a result of the overseas deposit raising.