Plans more credit card products

Our Bureau

Mumbai, April 4

ICICI Bank's retail credit disbursement has been robust despite hike in lending rates, said Ms Chanda Kochhar, Executive Director, ICICI Bank. According to her, there is no liquidity crisis for the banking system.

Speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of a meeting to launch a new card product, Ms Kochhar said that in the last two months customers had become more interest rate sensitive and expected a hike in deposit rates. In order to meet the increased cost of funds, banks had then raised their lending rates, Ms Kochhar said.

ICICI Bank has increased its home loan rates by half a per cent since January 2006. Any further movement in interest rates would depend on factors such as inflation and impact of oil prices being passed on to the customer, she added.

The bank is also planning to launch more card products, including a private label card called Shakti in league with Big Bazaar. The card will be launched in Mumbai and is suitable for customers to whom banks don't give credit otherwise, said Mr B. Madhivanan, General Manager, Retail Asset Products Group. In this case, the target could be the homemaker, and the credit limit could be as small as Rs 2,000-3,000.

"This will give an indirect entry to shopping giants into the credit card space. It will also help us expand our credit card customers," he said.

The bank will also launch a white label multiple brand credit card with Airtel, Lifestyle, and HPCL. It will be launched by a company called "Loyalty Services and Research Ltd", which would be floated by a venture capital company. ICICI Bank is also one of the promoters, Mr Madhivanan said. Customers will get reward points and these can be redeemed against the products of any of these brands.

The bank has so far put up 1.5 lakh Point of Sale terminals and wants to expand in smaller towns and cities. So far, the bank has covered 100 towns and hopes to extend it to about 270 towns, where it has a presence.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 5, 2006)
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