ICICI Bank Launches MNC Portal As Indian Lenders Bolster Digital Outreach
People exit the ICICI Bank Towers, in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg News)

ICICI Bank Launches MNC Portal As Indian Lenders Bolster Digital Outreach

ICICI Bank Ltd. will launch a portal to help offer banking and non-banking services to multinational companies seeking to enter India as the private lender joins peers to create a digital ecosystem for better customer outreach.

ICICI Bank's ‘Infinite India’ portal will offer services such as opening current accounts, availing non-funded products such as letters of comfort and bank guarantees and digital banking services for salary and merchant invoice payments, the bank said on Tuesday. It will also offer non-banking services for incorporation, licensing, registration, taxation, compliance and human resources through tie-ups with third parties.

This will help the bank deepen its offerings to MNCs which have emerged as a “focus segment” for the bank, Vishakha Mulye, executive director, ICICI Bank, told reporters in a conference call. Without focusing on lending to these companies, the bank will try to develop a better suit of services which could earn it a higher fee, she said.

“We may not go and take large exposures, as probably we have done in the past, with standalone, international corporates, even if they are AAA rated," she said. "Our strategy will be to do everything which is India and India-linked (with international clients).”

The strategy is part of ICICI Bank’s efforts to build ICICIStack that offers digital products and services to retail and corporate customers. In March, the bank launched it for retail clients, offering 500 services and products such as bank accounts, deposits, loans, insurance and investment on one portal. It even allowed people who are not ICICI Bank bank customers to open an instant savings account online and access the stack.

Banks are creating a one-stop shop for customers to develop more sticky relationships, according to Gautam Chhugani, director-financials and fintech at research firm Bernstein. “Banks are focusing on stacks as a way of building comprehensive value-added services beyond core banking. It is a segment specific proposition where the technology stack is customised and the data from interaction helps in a holistic view of the customer.”

While it is difficult to ascertain additional fee income banks will earn, it does give them an advantage over other banking relationships the customer might have, he said.

HDFC Bank Ltd., India’s largest private sector lender, is also looking at developing a similar ecosystem. This will turn the bank into a financial sector powerhouse, allowing it to cross-sell and monetise its large digital ecosystem, Sashidhar Jagdishan, managing director and chief executive officer, had told Macquarie analysts in August.

It's plans, however, may be delayed as the Reserve Bank of India asked it to stop launching any new digital initiatives till it resolves problems with its digital infrastructure that resulted in multiple services outages in the last two years.

Axis Bank Ltd., another large private lender, has also been implementing its 'One Axis' strategy for corporate clients to build a broader relationship beyond loans.

According to Vivek Belgavi, partner at PwC India, banks in India are looking to create moats around their retail and corporate customer base to ensure that all their financial and non-financial needs are met within this ecosystem of services.

“The ecosystem approach is also beneficial to customers because banks will have access to transaction data across third-party plugins on the stack," he said. "This would allow the bank to provide more customised banking solutions to the customer.”

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.