ICICI Bank UK was established in 2003 as a wholly owned subsidiary of ICICI Bank Limited, India. It recently celebrated 15 years of its commercial, retail and corporate banking success. Over the one-and-half decade it has emerged as a preferred bank for Asian community in the UK by combining its branch network, relationship and service approach with advanced digital platform. Mr. Lok Nath Mishra, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank UK, is optimistic about the Bank's pivotal role in facilitating stronger UK-India ties.
“British Asian owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are a significant part of the local economy. Our focus is to enable the SMEs to smoothly carryout their regular banking needs which include handling their trade and foreign exchange transactions. We combine our technology and online services with a 24X7 customer support via a phone banking call centre and the support of a Relationship Manager (RM). We find that having a RM handholding and supporting our clients through their transaction journey is a big positive and much appreciated by our clients. We have recently initiated a programme to finance the business requirements of SMEs ranging from GBP 1 million to 5 million. We will scale it up over a period of time,” says Mr. Mishra.
Apart from facilitating the SMEs and India UK trade and investment corridor, the bank is also trying to facilitate a stronger India-UK people to people relationship by focusing on professionals and students from India who come to work and study in the UK. There were approximately 1.8 million Indians which includes about 1.5 million people of Indian origin and 300000 Indian passport holders working and studying in UK.
“We have a very successful product for the Indian professionals and students which helps them open their UK bank account before they even travel to the UK. This is combined with a robust product on remittance to help them seamlessly transact through their India and UK bank account. The Bank also offers competitive rates on deposits” he says.
The Bank has six branches in the UK at Tower Hill, Wembley, East Ham and Southall in London and Manchester and Birmingham in midlands. ICICI Bank continues to focus and grow its UK franchise and has recently opened six new business centres to provide local relationship coverage. This is a good initiative to support business through local presence without a full branch presence at a time when several high street banks are closing their branches across UK. The new business centres are in Croydon, Milton Keynes, Reading, Coventry, Leicester and Leeds (opening shortly).
The Bank also has a branch in Germany which is focused on Bank’s European business. Earlier as a bank in the UK, conducting business across the European Union was allowed as a part of European Union. Now, a separate license is required for doing business in the European market, post Brexit.
“The Bank is well placed by already obtaining a third country branch license in Germany which becomes effective upon Brexit. While, currently it is a pass ported branch, under EU rules, post-Brexit it would operate as a third country branch.” explains Mr. Mishra.
In addition to its branches and business centres, the Bank also has a very robust digital channel and online services, including internet banking, mobile app and phone banking. The customers are able to transact at will through the Bank’s versatile mobile app. The Bank also offers a 24/7 customer support through a phone banking call centre to all its customers. The digital channels are duly supported by our branches and relationship managers whenever required to provide a holistic experience to the customers.