In 2018, ICICI Bank appointed Sandeep Bakhshi as the MD & CEO. In just three years, he has got the bank back on its firm footing. He’s focusing more on retail clients than corporate clients (2.4% of loan mix). Bakhshi’s mantra is simple – make products that can be sold to your family members. Retail banking is a big focus area for the lender. The share of retail in total advances has gone from 57% to 61% ever since Bakhshi joined. In December 2020, it opened its mobile banking app, iMobile, which has seen 5.3 million activations from non-ICICI Bank account holders as of December 2021.
Under Bakhshi’s leadership, the bank has shown tremendous growth. In the July-September quarter of 2018, the bank’s corporate loan share was 25%, average CASA was 47%, net interest margin was 3.5%, and net NPAs was at 3.65%. After three years, in the October-December quarter of 2021, the bank’s corporate loan share was 23%, average CASA 45%, net interest margin 3.9% and net NPAs at 0.85%. Moreover, the bank’s stock has delivered 27% returns, more than the Sensex returns of 13%.
Prabhudas Lilladher said to Business Today, “ICICI made rapid strides in simplifying systems and processes, and implemented a 360-degree customer approach, a high level of digital-based solutions ecosystem and frictionless digital lending which improved growth and customer experience.”
Should You Be Worried?
Deterioration in the macro environment and slowdown of currently aggressive growth are the only two risks for the bank. The rest is under control. Bakhshi has a clean track record as opposed to the previous leaders. He has cut down its international books and corporate lending to not repeat history and any corporate governance issue.
What Lies Ahead?
At the current speed, ICICI Bank is inching slowly towards taking HDFC Bank’s crown as the ‘biggest lender’ of the country. The appointment of Bakhshi has brought back the good image of the bank. The bank has genuinely cast its net far and wide.