How do you think ICICI Bank Canada serves the banking requirements of the Indian community in Canada?
ICICI Bank Canada is a full-service bank offering services in retail, mortgage, commercial, corporate, and trade segments. The ICICI Group provides access to a full range of seamless banking and financial services in Canada and India. Some of our key services for the Indo-Canadian community include Student Guaranteed Investment Certificate (Student GIC), a specially designed programme for students aspiring to study in Canada; Unifee, a comprehensive payment solution that allows students/payers to pay their academic fees and tuition directly to their educational institutions; remittance service with quick and seamless money transfer to India at attractive rates; competitive forex rates for customers with cross-border businesses and truck & transport operators; and end-to-end banking services for customers looking to set up business in Canada.
We offer customers the benefit of strong and wide reach in India along with our presence in Canada to provide a seamless banking experience to our customers and their families for all their financial needs. For instance, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions globally, many of our Indo-Canadian customers’ parents living in India were unable to travel to bank branches for availing of banking services. We reached out to them, and delivered cash at their doorsteps in India.
To what extent does an Indian bank operating overseas help in attracting investments for India, and for transacting Indian import and export businesses?
While we are a preferred banker for Indian companies which are increasingly looking to set up base in Canada, we also play a critical role in helping Canadian businesses set up their footprint in India. Many Canadian Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are investing in India to tap the large market of consumers and setting up Global Innovation Centres (GICs) to benefit from the skilled and talented workforce in India. These companies are interested in banking with a partner present in both geographies, offering the necessary continuity. On the trade front, our presence in both geographies helps companies efficiently carry on their business. We offer the following solutions for companies having trade relations with India:
Customised trade finance solutions depending on the customer’s requirement to facilitate trade in the Canada-India corridor; and support of Canadian exporters with export letters of credit, discounting, collection documents, standby LCs, export financing, and other trade instruments including FX and remittances. Key benefits include risk management, payment security, working capital finance, reduced cost, better turnaround time, and fulfilment of contractual obligations. We advise customers on different innovative structures to facilitate their transactions effectively and efficiently. We provide access to the Indian market by leveraging the India presence and connecting Canadian SMEs and corporates with trade bodies, industry associations, and potential customers/buyers. Lastly, we also assist Canadian funds, from large pension funds to small family offices, to develop their India strategy and generate a strong return for their investors from the vibrant Indian economy.
Who are the major clients of ICICI Bank Canada?
On the retail banking side, students, non-resident Indians, and customers looking for international money transfers and mortgages constitute a significant portion of our customer base. On the corporate and commercial banking side, we play a key role in helping customers who have business interests in both Canada and India or in Canadian business houses exploring opportunities in India. We play a key role in providing banking services in both Canada and India.
Does ICICI Bank Canada provide any special benefit to Indian students in Canada?
ICICI Bank Canada is the market leader in terms of servicing the banking needs of Indian students coming to Canada. We offer a variety of products and services to meet the financial needs of international students in Canada, including students from India. They include our most widely used service, the Student GIC offering under the Student Direct Stream programme. To issue a study permit to students coming to colleges for undergraduate programmes, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) requires them to have funds in Canada in the form of a GIC. We were the first Indian bank to offer this facility six years ago. Since then, over 150,000 students have used our banking services to avail of a GIC, which helped them obtain a study permit for Canada. Students also have access to our chequing account which is free for them. Our ‘Hello Canada’ service allows them to open the chequing account while they are still in India. They can, therefore, open a chequing account and put funds into it even before they get on a flight to Canada. This ensures that they do not have to carry large sums of money with them while travelling, which can be a risky affair. We offer them a no-cost credit card for their regular expenditure and to help them build a credit history in Canada. We have a unique product called ‘Unifee’ for college fee payments. This is a fully integrated, end-to-end platform that helps students and parents pay the college fees. In addition to providing best-in-class forex rates, this platform also helps them track the fee payment until the college receives it and gives them a confirmation.
We understand the difficulties faced by a student who has left his/her country for the first time for higher education. We are constantly looking for ways to support them through their journey in Canada.
What is the expansion plan of ICICI Bank in Canada?
ICICI Bank Canada has presence across three provinces – Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. We have recently opened an iLounge in Malton, Ontario. iLounge centres serve all banking needs of the customer except teller and cash facility while focusing on NRI banking. We believe in being able to serve our customers throughout their banking journey. We are constantly looking for ways to support our customers by introducing digital products and services in line with the future requirements of our Indo-Canadian customers. For any banking requirements, customers can reach us from any location in Canada through our website and can start banking with us through our vast array of digital banking services.