Managing Director & CEO
In fiscal 2021, ICICI Bank focussed on maintaining a strong balance sheet in the face of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic; ensuring the safety of our employees and care for those impacted by the virus; ensuring uninterrupted service delivery for our customers; and continuing to focus on our objective of risk-calibrated growth in the core operating profit. We created substantial provisioning buffers and also raised additional capital to further strengthen the balance sheet. Our digital solutions enabled us to meet all banking needs of our customers, whether individuals or businesses, remotely. We were not only able to serve our existing customers but also onboard new customers with ease. These strengths led to strong deposit growth, a return of loan growth as economic activities began to normalise and healthy growth in core operating profit.
Our employees are our biggest assets, and we are immensely proud of the commitment and dedication shown by them in these difficult circumstances. We are now engaged in a focussed programme for vaccinating all our employees. We have also worked with the Government authorities in their efforts to combat the pandemic and provide relief to those affected.
The Bank will continue to be guided by the twin principles of ‘One Bank, One ROE’ emphasising the need to maximise the Bank’s share of profitable growth opportunities, and 'Fair to Customer, Fair to Bank' emphasising the need to deliver fair value to customers while creating value for shareholders.
Digital initiatives are at the core of all activities at ICICI Bank. In fiscal 2021, we came out with a slew of innovative digital solutions to help our customers tide over the challenges posed by the pandemic. Our mantra – Banking with Care – was aimed at empowering our customers to undertake banking transactions from the comfort of their home/office, without visiting a branch. ICICI STACK played an important role as the backbone of our digital offering for retail customers. In addition, we offered a range of solutions for merchants and businesses to meet their requirements digitally. Our mobile application, iMobile Pay, took the lead in offering interoperability by allowing individuals, who are not our customers, to connect their bank account with the app, make payments and undertake banking transactions. It also gave them instant access to the entire range of services of ICICI Bank. During the year, we continued to focus on data analytics-led underwriting and digitising our mortgage and loan businesses.
Our employees showed extraordinary commitment and went beyond the call of their duties to serve our customers and take care of each other in the wake of the pandemic. The welfare and well-being of our employees and their families is of utmost importance to us. We have supported Covid-19 affected colleagues and their families with medical e-consultation, and assisted them in quarantine and hospitalisation. We have launched a focussed programme to vaccinate all our employees and their immediate family members. In order to facilitate seamless operations for non-branch colleagues, we rolled out a large work-from-home infrastructure within a few weeks from the onset of the pandemic. We continue to invest in technology to build a robust architecture for tomorrow. The four pillars of the architecture are a resilient and flexible backbone, deep understanding of customers, delivering delightful experience and a digitally native engagement with them.
Fiscal 2021 was the most challenging year in many ways. Safety of our employees, customers and all our stakeholders was of paramount importance. We deployed a robust business continuity plan to minimise service disruptions. Our branches were operational throughout the year and we offered digital services to our customers through our various platforms such as Corporate Internet Banking, Trade Online, FX Online and InstaBIZ. These platforms offer a wide range of banking services including payments, collections, trade finance and foreign exchange. Our strategy of focussing on the Corporate Ecosystem helped our customers to manage their businesses efficiently, and also created new opportunities for the Bank in both Retail and Wholesale businesses. We stay committed to our goal of creating value for our customers.