On Thursday, ICICI Bank announced that it has launched India’s first comprehensive digital ecosystem for all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, including customers of other banks. This is a shift from the existing industry practice of banks offering services only to their customers.
Anup Bagchi, executive director, ICICI Bank, said, “We believe that the MSME segment forms the backbone of the Indian economy. It has been our philosophy to enhance ‘ease of doing business’ for MSMEs and become partners in their growth.” He added that they are keen to adopt digital solutions to simplify their way of doing business, so that they can focus more on growth. “We believe that the benefits of our products and services should not be restricted only to our customers; those who bank with others should also have the choice to experience them,” he said.
The open architecture digital ecosystem bundles banking services with value-added offerings for MSMEs, which are estimated to be around 60 million in number.
The services include instant and paperless over draft facility up to Rs 25 lakh. The ‘InstaOD Plus’ is for customers of any bank and can be used via the new version of the InstaBIZ app or the bank’s corporate internet banking platform. Customers of ICICI Bank can activate the OD feature in their current account instantly while customers of other banks can do so after opening of a current account with the bank digitally through video KYC.
Another facility on offer is instant opening of a current account digitally. The end-to-end paperless process leverages the bank’s Application Programming Interface (API) that auto-fills the opening form and validates PAN/Aadhaar number instantly; KYC is through video.
The bank has also tied up with various partners to eliminate the need of MSMEs to coordinate with multiple experts. These partners include India Filings (for business compliances and registrations), IndiaMART (listing of business), Airtel (connectivity and business communications), ClearTax (tax filing and advisory), Zoho Books (accounting solutions), Global Linker (business networking and digital store management) and Sherlock.ai (digital marketing and data analytics).
The bank’s digital platform, Trade Emerge, will offer comprehensive trade services such as letter of credit, bank guarantee, trade credit, trade transactions and others.
Additionally, through InstaBIZ, merchants, retailers and professionals like doctors and lawyers can instantly accept payments through UPI and cards. They can generate QR code and even digitally apply for Point of Sale (POS) device. Value-added services such as instant settlement of payments and an online store version are also available.
Existing customers of the bank can make use of platforms for trade and foreign exchange transactions, pay GST digitally and apply for POS device, among others. Armed with embedded analytics, the InstaBIZ app gives a variety of reminders based on the customer’s profile.