ICICI to Open 450 Slimmer Branches, Bank to Hire Around 3,500 Employees.
Mumbai: The ongoing slump in the realty sector is helping ICICI Bank in its expansion drive as it is adding branches by nearly a tenth of its existing footprint, a top official said.
According to executive director Anup Bagchi, the branch expansion plan is not affected much by the ongoing slowdown, as the bank has only a small share of the overall activity and thus sees enough scope to grow its presence. The realty sector has been one of the worst affected in recent times due to events like demonetisation, GST and stricter regulations which is visible from the rising unsold inventory and falling rentals.
ICICI Bank is adding 450 branches to take its network to 5,300 by March 2020 and will be hiring around 3,500 personnel for the same, Bagchi told PTI.
About the slowdown, he said they are not much affected and claimed that the issues in the realty sector are helping it lower the cost of renting out space for new branches.
“We’ve a near double-digit market share and are focused to grow it. There’s no slowdown in demand and we are not seeing any pessimism as is being reported,” he claimed.
Underlining that growth is still happening and the economy is not in a contraction mode yet, he said the bank would not have planned expansion if it is not bullish. He said there may be difficulties in a few sectors like auto or real estate, or in a few pockets, but the bank continues to focus on other areas which are witnessing growth.
“We are not seeing any slowdown the way some people are seeing,” he said.
Whether the bank will continue to expand in FY21 as well, he answered in the affirmative saying expansion will take place till there is growth. The bank has shed the standardised branch approach and the size of a typical facility is much lower now. It has divided branches into ones which serve either the salaried, home loans, wealth segments and ensures adequately skilled
people being there, he said.
There is a higher reliance on technology and automation now, Bagchi said, adding a minimum of seven-eight employees will get hired for each branch as against the earlier practice of having over 70 per branch.