ICICI Bank’s credo of ‘One bank, one RoE, one team’, emphasised in its Analyst Meet on December 3, is the acknowledgement of a watershed moment in Indian banking. As customer-data depth and richness step up through digital adoption, the bank now has a vivid, dynamic and granular assessment of best customer-product fit at any point in time.
We think the newly minted micro-market focus approach — heads for specific small geographies to understand the texture of opportunities for its sub-clusters — should naturally lead to the effective deployment of targeted product initiatives and cross sell.
In these circumstances, top-down product-specific targets can miss the woods for the trees as it is a contrary incentive to the cooperation needed between product teams to make the most of this customer intelligence.
For better or for worse, the last two decades of market-share gain for private banks has been driven by a direct-incentive fostered sales culture.
The bank was very clear that tech investments remain a strategic priority and they feel no need to rationalise away from the 9-10 per cent of opex, the global benchmark for investments.
With no credit clouds on the horizon, ample liability strength protected margins and capitalisation that prepares it well for a growth spurt, ICICI Bank remains one of our top-2 banking Buy.