The strategy is part of ICICI Bank’s efforts to build ICICIStack that offers digital products and services to retail and corporate customers. In March, the bank launched it for retail clients, offering 500 services and products such as bank accounts, deposits, loans, insurance and investment on one portal. It even allowed people who are not ICICI Bank bank customers to open an instant savings account online and access the stack.
Banks are creating a one-stop shop for customers to develop more sticky relationships, according to Gautam Chhugani, director-financials and fintech at research firm Bernstein. “Banks are focusing on stacks as a way of building comprehensive value-added services beyond core banking. It is a segment specific proposition where the technology stack is customised and the data from interaction helps in a holistic view of the customer.”
While it is difficult to ascertain additional fee income banks will earn, it does give them an advantage over other banking relationships the customer might have, he said.
HDFC Bank Ltd., India’s largest private sector lender, is also looking at developing a similar ecosystem. This will turn the bank into a financial sector powerhouse, allowing it to cross-sell and monetise its large digital ecosystem, Sashidhar Jagdishan, managing director and chief executive officer, had told Macquarie analysts in August.
It’s plans, however, may be delayed as the Reserve Bank of India asked it to stop launching any new digital initiatives till it resolves problems with its digital infrastructure that resulted in multiple services outages in the last two years.
Axis Bank Ltd., another large private lender, has also been implementing its ‘One Axis’ strategy for corporate clients to build a broader relationship beyond loans.
According to Vivek Belgavi, partner at PwC India, banks in India are looking to create moats around their retail and corporate customer base to ensure that all their financial and non-financial needs are met within this ecosystem of services.
“The ecosystem approach is also beneficial to customers because banks will have access to transaction data across third-party plugins on the stack,” he said. “This would allow the bank to provide more customised banking solutions to the customer.”