BHUBANESWAR, FEBRUARY 23, 2022
Country’s leading private sector bank ICICI Bank on Wednesday announced that it continues to strengthen its retail franchise in Odisha through a host of digital initiatives and customer-centric approach. These initiatives are likely to grow the bank’s retail loan disbursement in the state by 25 per cent to over Rs. 5,200 crore at the end of the current financial year (FY2021-22), compared to the previous fiscal.
In an interaction with the media here today, Anup Bagchi, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said, “Odisha is an important market for us. That Bhubaneswar is the headquarters of our retail banking operations in the four adjoining states is a testimony of its importance. We continue to strengthen our franchise, delivery and servicing capabilities with a range of digital initiatives in Odisha. Our endeavour is to create holistic value propositions for our customers through 360-degree customer-centric approach and focus on opportunities across client and segment ecosystems, and micro-markets. We have created cross-functional teams to bring the benefit of the entire bank to all customers.”
The bank is leveraging its technological prowess to expand its retail loan business at a rapid pace in the state this financial year. The home loan disbursement in the state is likely to grow by 30 per cent to Rs. 1,250 crore while the consumer loans, which mainly comprise of personal loan and vehicle loan, are expected to rise by over 40 per cent to Rs. 1,800 crore. The bank is also aiming to grow business loans and overdrafts disbursement by 35 per cent to over Rs. 1300 crore.
Talking about home loans, Bagchi said, “The drivers of our home loans in Odisha are digital and instant sanctions of loans, and expansion in micro markets. Our instant home loan facility — the country’s first — helps lakh of our pre-approved customers to get the sanction letter immediately. This digital process helped our customers, especially in the past two years, as they could avail of the facility without visiting any branch. Additionally, we are offering home loans to new segments. The list includes funding for land and development for factories, building nursing homes and medical clinics as well as senior secondary schools. Further, we have expanded our geographical reach by making all branches, including those in rural areas, equipped with home loans. We are focusing on key upcoming locations such as Rourkela, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Cuttack, Jharsuguda, Angul, Bargarh, Balangir and Jajpur among others. All these initiatives are expected to help the home loan disbursement grow in Odisha by nearly 30 per cent to Rs. 1,250 crore in the financial year 2022, compared to the last year.”
Talking about business loans and overdrafts, Bagchi said, “We believe, businesses and self-employed individuals are the backbone of our society. We have digitised an array of services for businesses at every stage of their lives. The list includes instant current accounts, instant overdraft facility, overdraft on fixed deposits, business loans based on GST returns, digital platforms like ‘InstaBIZ’ app for businesses, internet banking for businesses and corporates, and Trade Online, a platform to carry out export-import transactions, among others. Further, we have expanded to a new segment of providing business loans to contractors for building roads, bridges and dams in order to support growth of infrastructure in the state. We believe all our digital facilities enable businesses to transact seamlessly and help them grow to their maximum potential.”
The bank’s expansion focus is on micro markets like industrial hub in Jharsuguda, iron and steel hub in Sundargarh district, agri commodities trading hub in Ganjam, mines hub in Keonjhar, agricultural commodities like food grains and pulses hub in Sambalpur, Koraput, Berhampur, Kalahandi, Bhawanipatna, Mayurbhanj and Bargarh. To drive this growth, the bank has equipped majority of its branches with business loans, opened two new credit hubs and expanded its team three fold in the last two years.
On consumer loans, Bagchi said, “We offer customers digital and instant consumer loans. Our instant personal loan solution enables lakhs of pre-approved customers to get money in their account instantaneously after applying through internet / mobile banking platform. Currently, 95 per cent of our personal loan disbursement in the state is through digital channels. We have set up two new credit processing centers at Sambalpur and Berhampur, taking the total number to four. Earlier, the Bank had two centres — one each at Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. We have seen good uptick for personal loans from both salaried as well as self-employed individuals. We have also introduced instant car loan disbursement to empower lakhs of our pre-approved customers with final sanction and disbursement of car loans instantly, in a fully digital manner. The product comes with hassle-free process with minimal documentation.”
ICICI Bank also collaborates with various government departments to facilitate digital services for the citizens of the state. These include digital solutions for collection of trade license, holding tax, tender fees, property allotment fees, utility (like electricity, water) bills, online booking of tickets and passes for transit services, and payment gateway for a web portal of e-governance applications of various departments.
The Bank runs a retail network of 450 touch points — comprising 160 branches and 290 ATMs — in the state. Of the 160 branches, nearly 70 per cent are located in semi-urban and rural areas.
ICICI Bank has undertaken several initiatives to empower the rural population of the state. Through its Self Help Group (SHG) programme, a major initiative among private sector lenders in the state, the bank is supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of rural women. The bank has cumulatively disbursed loans to over 4,200 SHGs comprising about 50,000 women across the state. The SGHs are engaged in an array of activities such as horticulture, goat & cow rearing, sarees, mushroom cultivation, handicrafts, incense sticks, food products and processing. The bank has tied-up with Mission Shakti and Department of Women & Child Development in Odisha to appoint SHG members as Business Correspondents (BCs) to provide banking services in rural areas. The Bank services around 570 remote locations, which were hitherto unbanked, through its network of BCs, called ‘Bank Sakhi’. The bank has also opened nearly 21 lakh zero balance accounts for the underprivileged in the state.
In rural segment, the bank offers loans to farmers for their crops, procuring tractor and other farm equipment to facilitate farming and allied activities, and SHGs. Additionally, the bank has expanded its ambit of lending solutions to farmers engaged in agriculture, fisheries and poultry. The Bank has special focus on Balasore, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur coastal regions of the state for prawn & shrimp farming. The bank is focusing on farm equipment loans by expanding its tie-ups with tractor dealers. The lending in rural areas is done 100 per cent digitally with the TAB based ‘Express Agri’ application. It ensures faster turnaround time as it reduces re-work and movement of physical documents. Additionally, the bank conducts financial literacy programme for rural customers in the state for enhancing financial inclusion.
ICICI Bank undertakes activities, which are beyond business, through ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth, the CSR arm of ICICI Group. ICICI Foundation’s Rural Livelihood Programme has been providing sustainable livelihood to the lesser privileged through locally relevant trainings and giving market linkages in some districts of Odisha such as Keonjhar, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi, Kandhamal and Rayagada. So far, the initiative has enabled over 6,000 rural beneficiaries through activities like goat farming, backyard poultry & kitchen gardens, mustard & mushroom cultivation, millet & pulses processing among others.
Additionally, ICICI Foundation, through its ICICI Academy for Skills, has been imparting free-of-cost vocational training. Since inception, ICICI Academy’s centre in Bhubaneswar has imparted vocational training to over 2,900 underprivileged youth and provided placement to all those students who sought it.