ICICI Bank has teamed with telco Vodafone Essar on a joint venture offering mobile financial services to India's vast unbanked population.
The partners say they will offer savings accounts, pre-paid instruments and credit products through a mobile phone based platform, tapping Vodafone's 1.5 million retail points throughout the country to acquire and service customers.
India's government and central bank have championed the use of mobile phones, hugely popular in the country, as tools for increasing financial inclusion. Earlier this month State Bank of India, the country's largest commercial bank, and bharti airtel entered into a similar joint venture.
Chanda Kochhar, CEO, ICICI Bank, says: "Mobile penetration is growing exponentially in the country of which the rural market forms a major contributor. There is a huge potential for offering mobile banking in these regions, which will facilitate access to the financially excluded parts of the society and ensure that benefits from various welfare and growth programs of the government reach them along with other financial services and products."