The 300-year-old bank of British origin Barclays Plc. has brought the aspirational value to Indian customers with the launch of its English Premier League card—a credit card that will set the Indian soccer fans a class apart from their other plastic counterparts. The bank on Thursday announced the launch of its retail operations in India with an investment of $70 million (Rs287 crore) as initial capital requirement.
Barclays brings to the Indian customer a kitty of three credit cards; personal loans and business instalment loans, which target the small and medium enterprises; premier investment services like wealth management; and access to global funds and real estate funds that the bank runs in the UK and the rest of Europe.
Samir Bhatia, managing director, Barclays India, said: “India is one of the world’s most exciting markets for retail financial services. The country offers significant potential across customer and market segments which Barclays is well placed to maximize. We are developing products for the very affluent, the mass affluent, and the aspirational customer across market segments.”
Barclays wants to be among India’s fastest-growing banks and become one of the top foreign banks in terms of incremental business within the next three years. To achieve this, the bank claims to “put the customer in control of his finances.”
In addition to the English Premier League card, Barclays will offer Barclaycard Gold, which is meant for the high-end urban customer to allow him/her to choose the setting of the billing date, minimum amount due and the credit limit to be allocated.
For the middle and lower end of the urban clientele, the bank has Barclaycard Smart Budget, which lets customers decide how much they can afford to pay each month.
Among loan products, Barclays will offer personal loans up to a maximum of Rs17 lakh that are repayable over a period of seven years, instead of the market average of four to five years.
“This is to bring down the burden of equated monthly instalments from the wallet of the customer,” Bhatia said.
The bank is also targeting small and medium entrepreneurs through Barclaysbusiness instalment loans. These are unsecured business loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The funds can be used for various purposes, from purchasing equipment to meeting day-to-day working capital needs.
The maximum loan being offered in this segment is Rs35 lakh. The bank also plans to enter the rural market.
The British parent has so far invested $300 million (Rs1,230 crore) in its investment banking arm—Barclays Capital—in India. Barclays Capital has been operating in India since 1979.
Barclays started offering corporate banking services to Indian customers in November 2006 with products ranging from deposits, trade finance and cash management services. For its retail operations, it has branch licences for three branches: Mumbai, Kanchipuram (outside Chennai) and Nelamangala (outside Bangalore).
The bank believes that a limited number of branches will not cap its growth as it can use technology to reach customers across the country.
“We have applied for more branches, but there are other channels like Internet and telephone for us to get customers,” said Bhatia.
Reuters contributed to this story.