In the mid-1990s, India wasgaining momentum, walking away from a socialist past, but banking still meantcorporate banking with little focus on retail lending. It was as if the retailcustomer did not exist and little attention was paid to investing in technologyor creating a branch infrastructure. But, a lender with a hoary past, ICICI -short for Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India - changed thiswith aggression in marketing, competitive pricing and doses of innovations.There were compelling reasons: a fast changing demographic profile and fallingcost of money.
"The only way to make a mark in the consumer banking businesswas to attain scale," says Chanda Kochhar, CEO, ICICI Bank. Some of its firstswere 8 to 8 banking, online savings bank account opening facility, hub andspoke model for auto and home loans, and the concept of floating rate for homeloans. It set up 3,000 ATMs over two years at a time India had just 200 to 300 ATMs.Today, Indian banks have more than a quarter of their lending portfolio inretail assets; ICICI Bank is ranked second among banks.
By Anusha Subramanian, Anand Adhikari, K.R. Balasubramanyam, Rajiv Bhuva, Josey Puliyenthuruthel,G. Seetharaman and Sunny Sen