Citibank Sees Card Spends At Pre-Covid Levels On Festive Schemes, Economic Revival
Vehicles pass by Citibank branch at Peddar Road, Mumbai, India. (Photographer Anirudh Saligrama/BloombergQuint)

Citibank Sees Card Spends At Pre-Covid Levels On Festive Schemes, Economic Revival

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Citibank expects debit and credit card spending by its customers in November to be at par with the performance in the year-ago period, a senior official said on Thursday.

The increase in spends, which have been affected across the industry because of the pandemic, will happen on revival in economic conditions and also festive schemes launched by the bank, its head of credit cards, payments and unsecured lending, Arjun Chowdhry, Head of Credit Cards, Payments and Unsecured Lending Citibank India, told PTI.

It can be noted that local lenders, led by HDFC Bank Ltd. and its peer ICICI Bank Ltd., have been reporting a return back to pre-Covid levels starting with the steps undertaken for opening up the economy after the stringent lockdowns.

Over half of the country's GDP is driven by consumption expenditure and hence, revival becomes an important metric to track.

Chowdhry said in October, spends on bank's cards were at 80% of the year-ago period and have been on an upward trajectory.

"In November, we expect the spends to be at par with the same in the year-ago period," he said, pointing out that categories like e-commerce and groceries are very active, while airlines and travel are slow as the sectors are yet to open up fully.

The bank has introduced over 100 offers through brand tie-ups as part of its festive offers, which will continue till late December, and has already seen an over three-fold jump in sales in the initial days of the campaign.

"We are prioritising offers for products and services that we have found are of most relevance to our customers and are also giving them special rates to support their aspirations," the bank's chief executive for India, Ashu Khullar, said in a statement.

Also read: ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Gains Currency In Pandemic Times

The purpose of the tie-ups is to get value to customers for their association with the bank and also increase the engagement, Chowdhry said.

This is a different year, he said, adding that some people had been holding back spending due to the lockdowns because of a cautious attitude, while for others there were fewer opportunities to spend.

"We believe there are recoveries now, on both aspects, which lead to growth in consumer spending," he said, adding that electronics like mobile phones, laptops and consumer goods like washing machines are seeing higher spending as people spend more time home.

Also read: Bankers Guide Towards Lower-Than-Feared Post-Covid Restructuring

Meanwhile, on the broader lending side, he said October and November have been encouraging from a loan pick-up perspective.

In the statement, the bank said its home loan offerings will now come at rates starting from 6.75%, which is among the lowest in the industry. Its customers will not be charged any processing fees till December end.

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