Investment In Technology Yielding Rich Dividends
Established in 1994, ICICI Bank is today the second largest bank in India and among the top 150 in the world. In less than a decade, the bank has become a universal bank offering a well diversified portfolio of financial services. It currently has assets of over US$ 79 billion and a market capitalization of US$ 9 billion and services over 14 million customers through a network of about 950 branches, 3300 ATM's and a 3200 seat call center (as of 2007). The hallmark of this exponential growth is ICICI Bank’s unwavering focus on technology.
Key Business Drivers
ICICI Bank was set up when the process of deregulation and liberalization had just begun in India and the Reserve Bank of India (India’s central bank) had paved the way for private players in the banking sector, which at that time was dominated by state-owned and foreign banks. Serving the majority of the country’s populace, state owned banks had a large branch network, with minimal or no automation and little focus on service. Foreign banks, on the other hand, deployed high-end technology, had innovative product offerings, but had a very small branch network that serviced only corporate's and individuals with high net-worth. Sensing an untapped opportunity, ICICI Bank decided to target India’s burgeoning middle class and corporate's by offering a high level of customer service and efficiency that rivaled the foreign banks, on a much larger scale, at a lower cost. A crucial aspect of this strategy was the emphasis on technology. ICICI Bank positioned itself as technology-savvy customer friendly bank.
To support its technology focused strategy, ICICI Bank needed a robust technology platform that would help it achieve its business goals. After an intense evaluation of several global vendors, ICICI Bank identified Infosys as its technology partner and selected Finacle, the universal banking solution from Infosys, as its core banking platform. An open systems approach and low TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) were some of the key benefits Finacle offered the bank. Unlike most banks of that era, ICICI Bank was automated from day one, when its first branch opened in the city of Chennai. Some of the reasons cited by the bank for its decision to select Finacle include Finacle’s future-proof technology, best-of-breed retail and corporate banking features, scalable architecture and proven implementation track record.
One of the biggest challenges for Finacle was ensuring straight through processing (STP) of most of the financial transactions. With the ICICI group having several companies under its umbrella, Finacle needed to seamlessly integrate with multiple applications such as credit cards, mutual funds, brokerage, call center and data warehousing systems. Another key challenge was managing transaction volumes. ICICI Bank underwent a phase of organic and inorganic growth, first by acquiring Bank of Madura followed by a reverse merger of the bank with its parent organization, ICICI Limited. The scalable and open systems based architecture, enabled Finacle to successfully manage the resultant increase in transaction levels from 400,000 transactions a day in 2000 to nearly 2.1 million by 2005 with an associated growth in peak volumes by 5.5 times. With Finacle, the bank currently has the ability to process 0.27 million cheques per day and manage 7000 concurrent users.
Over the years, the strategic partnership between ICICI Bank and Infosys that started in 1994 has grown stronger and the close collaboration has resulted in many innovations. For instance, in 1997, it was the first bank in India to offer Internet banking with Finacle’s e-banking solution and established itself as a leader in the Internet and eCommerce space. The bank followed it up with offering several e-Commerce services like Bill Payments, Funds Transfers and Corporate Banking over the net. The internet is a critical element of ICICI Bank’s award winning multi-channel strategy that is one of the main engines of growth for the bank. Between 2000 and 2004, the bank has been able to successfully move over 70 percent of routine banking transactions from the branch to the other delivery channels, thus increasing overall efficiency. Currently, only 25 percent of all transactions take place through branches and 75 percent through other delivery channels. This reduction in routine transactions through the branch has enabled ICICI Bank to aggressively use its branch network as customer acquisition units. On an average, ICICI Bank adds 300,000 customers a month, which is among the highest in the world.
|Channels||Share of Transactions March 2000||Share of Transactions March 2004|
Branches||94 %||25 %|
ATM's||3 %||43 %|
Internet & Mobile||2 %||21 %|
Call Centers||1 %||11 %|
Reaping The Benefits
A powerful, scalable and flexible technology platform is essential for banks to manage growth and compete successfully. And Finacle provides just the right platform to ICICI Bank thus fueling its growth.
The bank has successfully leveraged the power of Finacle and has deployed the solution in the areas of core banking, consumer e-banking, corporate e-banking and CRM. With Finacle, ICICI Bank has also gained the flexibility to easily develop new products targeted at specific segments such as ICICI Bank Young Stars- a product targeting children, Women's Account addressing working women and Bank@campus targeting students.
ICICI Bank is today recognized as a clear leader in the region and has won numerous accolades worldwide for its technology-driven initiatives. In 2003, the bank received the best multi-channel strategy award from The Banker magazine and this year it was rated as the 2nd best retail bank in Asia by The Asian Banker Journal. The bank has effectively used technology as a strategic differentiator, thus not only redefining the rules of banking in India, but also showcasing how technology can help in transforming a bank’s business.
View From the Top
“Our objective of creating a universal bank providing end to end financial services clearly required solutions which were based on new generation technology, offered end to end functionality and were highly flexible and scalable. Finacle offered all this and much more.”
Executive Director, ICICI Bank