Mumbai: Top private lender ICICI Bank plans to open nearly 600 branches this year, but will not hire as part of the current workforce would be redeployed to manage the expanded network of 2,000 branches.
“We will set up 580 new branches this year ... one and half years ago we had 750 branches and one year from now, once we open these 580 branches, we will have 2,000 branches,” ICICI Bank managing director and CEO Chanda Kochhar said.
Kochhar, however, noted that the bank might not increase the headcount, currently at about 36,000, as it would be “re-skilling and re-training” some people in accordance with the needs of the expanded branch network.
Asked whether the employees could expect some kind of reward in the form of salary hike or other monetary benefits, Kochhar said, “Well, what we have done is (we have) already announced a moderate hike for the year. But, it’s a moderate hike ... it’s kind of moderate increase in salaries and that’s about it.”
Kochhar took over as ICICI Bank MD & CEO this month from her predecessor K.V. Kamath, who has become non-executive chairman.
Asked whether ICICI Bank was reducing its ATM network, Kochhar said the matter needed to be seen in a context.
“In the past there were very few branch licences that we had. In fact, our reliance on ATMs was much more. Now, we have sufficient branch licences. ... [W]e are sitting on a base of quite a large number of ATMs and ... are also able to implement the large set of branches.”
To a question whether the bank would look at fresh recruitments, especially in the backdrop of massive hirings by public sector banks, Kochhar said, “We may not increase headcount... as of now, our approach is we will be re-skilling some people, re-training some (others) because our character is changing as a bank.
“In the past, we had (fewer) branches and we were relying more on outside agencies to sell our products. We had taken (a) lot more people for sale, but as we are moving now, we are expanding branches substantially.
“That also means that we can do selling of our products through our branches, rather than relying on outside agencies. That also means that we have to re-skill people,” Kochhar said, adding that more people would be required at branches, but not many would be needed for supervising selling agencies.