After a good look early on at how top-notch consultancies and banks abroad functioned, Deepak Parekh joined the newly-minted HDFC in 1978 and came to be its chairman in 1993, steering it to pole position with an expanding ambit—from housing finance to banking, insurance, mutual funds et al—tricky mergers like that with Times Bank in 2000, and assets totalling Rs 7,08,845 crore.