Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ICICI Bank & Aircel Tying Knot For Financial Inclusion

ICICI Bank Ltd, India’s largest private sector bank and Aircel, one of the leading Mobile Network Operators in India, today announced a joint initiative to drive financial inclusion in the country. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ICICI Bank will offer, in partnership with Aircel, various financial products including savings accounts, pre-paid instruments and credit products.
This partnership is expected to bring the un-banked and under-banked population into the organised financial services framework and assist in furthering the electronic payments market in India. ICICI Bank will leverage the distribution strength of Aircel, which has the required reach to drive the initiative.
The Government of India and the Reserve bank of India have been working towards ensuring that financial products and services are within reach of the entire population. The partnership between ICICI Bank and Aircel sets out to achieve the goal of financial inclusion in the country. With the use of the mobile phone, ICICI Bank and Aircel will target the unbanked and under-banked population by bringing a cost effective solution to this space. 
Speaking on the alliance, Mr. Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank, said, “We are excited about this partnership with Aircel, which will help ICICI Bank in deepening its base within the country. Mobile penetration currently stands at 60% in the country of which the rural market forms a major contributor. There is a huge potential for offering mobile banking in these regions, which will facilitate access to the financially excluded parts of the society and ensure that benefits from various welfare and growth programs of the government reach them along with other financial services and products. ”
Talking about the joint initiative, Mr. Gurdeep Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Aircel    said: "We are very pleased to partner with ICICI bank in their endeavor towards financial inclusion. The partnership would enable the companies to unleash exciting products and services that will empower enterprise and retail customers across rural and urban India. The partnership will leverage on Aircel's rich experience and infrastructure in IT, customer services and extensive sales and distribution network which will facilitate the delivery of financial products and services. Aircel also brings to the partnership proven capability of providing differentiated products, focus on non-voice services and vision to connect people to their world of possibilities.”   
Both parties will work out the specific arrangements in the coming few weeks and chart out a go-to-market plan.
About ICICI Bank: 
ICICI Bank Limited (NYSE:IBN) is India's largest private sector bank and the second largest bank in the country, with consolidated total assets of over $115 billion at December 31, 2010. ICICI Bank’s subsidiaries include India’s leading private sector insurance companies and among its largest securities brokerage firms, mutual funds and private equity firms. ICICI Bank’s global presence currently spans across 18 countries.

About Aircel: 
Aircel, a part of Maxis Communications Berhad, Malaysia, is India’s fifth largest GSM mobile service provider with a subscriber base of over 50 million and is the fastest growing mobile operator in the country. It is the market leader in Tamil Nadu, Assam, North-East and Chennai. . Aircel is now present in 23 Telecom Circles and is a Pan India operator (Mumbai, Pune, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Assam, Bihar, Chennai, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, North-East , Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, MP & Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat & Rajasthan).For more information, please log on to www.aircel.com
Except for the historical information contained herein, statements in this release, which contain words or phrases such as 'will', 'would', etc., and similar expressions or variations of such expressions may constitute 'forward-looking statements'. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to our ability to obtain statutory and regulatory approvals and to successfully implement our strategy, future levels of non-performing loans, our growth and expansion in business, the adequacy of our allowance for credit losses, technological implementation and changes, the actual growth in demand for banking products and services, investment income, cash flow projections, our exposure to market risks as well as other risks detailed in the reports filed by us with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. ICICI Bank undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date thereof. source

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