ICICI has evolved from corporate to day-to-day bank: Kochhar
New Delhi: Having been largely focussed on corporate banking and big-ticket deals in the past, ICICI has now evolved into a day-to-day banking business, the bank's chief Chanda Kochhar has said.
"There have been two big changes on the corporate side of our business. In the past, we were mainly focused on large-ticket deals, whereas today we are in the day-to-day banking business and a lot of this is executed through branches," Kochhar said.
"On the retail side, our focus was through the outside structure but now business is done through the branches. Over and above that deposit taking and regular servicing is conducted through branches. Basically, we have transitioned," Kochhar said in an interview published by global investment banking major Morgan Stanley.
Asked about the criticism that ICICI has not been a branch bank, but mostly a main office or corporate bank, Kochhar said: "We have made a lot of progress. We now have 2,750 branches. The perspective of our branches has also changed.
"Several branches are now equipped to do basic transaction banking as well as commercial banking with SMEs and large corporates. They are not just deposit-taking branches. Branches are also doing sales and cross selling. In the past, we were doing sales through the DSA structure."
After Kochhar took charge as CEO in 2009, ICICI Bank had outlined a strategic path for its growth. At that time, she had targetted to rebalance the bank's funding mix, grow retail deposit base, improve asset quality and enhance profitability.
Talking about this transition process, Kochhar said: "I think the transition was with the intent to give us the strong foundation, which would then allow us to grow in a sustainable, profitable manner for a longer period.
"It was not an easy thing to do and it was not one of the happy moments to sit in industry forums and lag industry growth rates when you have been used to being a leader in terms of growth."
Kochhar, who has been with the ICICI group for 28 years and had started as a management trainee, further said that what she was saying "that for a year or two, we were not growing the balance sheet but growth is not just balance sheet growth.
"We were growing the branch network. In three years, we have doubled the branch network. We grew network in excess of 35 percent per annum.
"We were growing some of the very mundane banking businesses like working capital lending and transaction banking, even to the extent of 50 percent. We were growing savings deposits by more than 25 percent per annum," she said.