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Daily briefing - 22 July 2019

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India's bellwether bank HDFC has announced a slowdown in growth and a hit to asset quality in a sign of troubles in the economy. "The lender's quarterly profit rose slightly lower than expected on Saturday, while its asset quality worsened and loan growth eased, in signs that the slowdown in economic growth was hurting some of the biggest companies in the country. 'Even the bellwether isn't immune to the economic slowdown,' Macquarie Research said in a note. Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd, HDFC Bank's biggest shareholder, dropped 4.1% in its sharpest intraday fall since October and was the top percentage loser on the indexes," reports Reuters. "Shares of HDFC Bank's smaller rival Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd fell as much as 2.2% ahead of quarterly results." Pictured is founder and managing director of HDFC Bank, Aditya Puri.

And it turns out that India's payments banks idea has been overtaken by events, with licences being returned and now Vodafone's operation calling a halt as newer and faster players have entered the market with credit offerings. "Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank (ABIPBL) has decided to close down only 17 months into operations. The bank said the closure was prompted by "unanticipated developments in the business landscape that have made the economic model unviable". A payments bank can take deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh but cannot give loans or issue credit cards. They can issue debit cards and facilitate mobile banking," reports Business-Standard.com. "Vodafone Idea, the promoter of ABIPBL, said in a notification to the exchanges late on Friday that the board of the bank approved winding up the business, subject to approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)." This leaves the existing licences led by telcos and Paytm. It also puts a question, says our Asian correspondent, over the biggest of them all, India Post.

The FT has been taking a great deal of delight in Deutsche Bank's travails. "Deutsche had been ruled by investment bankers in London and New York for 20 years," one person told the FT. "It required a lot of courage to say the party is over." Today the FT looks back at the moment when chief executive Christian Sewing has his decisions made for him when police raided the Deutsche HQ in Frankfurt as he was lunching with a US regulator. Sewing came up with a new plan to rescue the bank, cobbled together from leftover bits of previous plans. "A week before Christmas 2018, Mr Sewing summoned half-a-dozen of his closest confidants to a morning meeting. In a conference room overlooking the city's historic opera building he outlined a project code-named Cairo, his vision for axing vast lossmaking swaths of Deutsche's investment bank. In a confusing twist, parts of the project were later dubbed 'Dublin', a decision that left people in some meetings unsure what they were actually discussing." The move to axe the investment bank was halted, it appears, by Paul Achleitner, who had championed the investment bank and then the abortive merger with Commerzbank. Is Achleitner finally being pushed out? Of this there is little doubt: Germany's cosy corporate world needs a massive makeover.

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