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Another bank, another country.
HDFC Bank Limited(HDB - Get Report) is one of India's largest non-government-owned banks, with more than $60 billion in assets and 2,500 branches spread across the BRIC country. Fisher Investments picked up 1.59 million shares of HDB in the last quarter, building a $54.3 billion stake in the Indian bank.
In a very real way, HDB is a play on the burgeoning middle and upper class in India. HDFC Bank primarily lends to consumers (around 60% of its loans are retail), and then mainly to those in the higher echelons of economic status. That niche focus on borrowers with more means gives the bank higher lending standards, and has resulted in a very low level of nonperforming loans. As growth within India's borders continues to grow the number of Indians who meet the middle class threshold, HDB's business should find plenty of room for organic growth.
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Government regulation on who constitutes a "priority borrower" and currency fluctuations are two of the biggest concerns for HDB right now -- especially with the dollar continuing to be a safety net for investors. But there's reason to believe that risk currencies will get more attention in the latter half of 2012.
If they do, HDB's business should continue to thrive. The firm remains one of the most interesting ways to get exposure to emerging market growth.