ICICI Bank unveils innovation labs

India’s ICICI Bank has launched two innovation labs as it hunts for digital growth and a new mindset.

The new labs are in Mumbai and Hyderabad, with a team of 22 people, headed by Rohan Angrish, former CTO of lending firm Capital Float.

B Madhivanan, group executive and CTO, ICICI Bank, says: “We want to be digital at the core, remove paper and as many people as possible and have end-to-end processes driven by technology.”

According to the bank, 82% of its transactions by savings account customers are currently digital, excluding ATM transactions.

Like other banks around the world, Madhivanan says ICICI wants to “think like a tech company”.

All across India, microlending firms have been springing up and ICICI is looking to compete with its own solutions.

ICICI says it wants to enhance cash management efficiency and develop a marketplace for corporate commercial papers and debt. The team was created around “three to four months back” and it expects results within an 18-month window.

As reported back in February, ICICI was one of three Indian organisations calling for start-ups to apply for a mentorship programme.

This kind of interest has unsurprisingly not waned.

Madhivanan says the bank is looking for fintech partnerships and created a INR 1 billion ($14.7 million) fund to this end. Of that sum, it has already invested INR 400 million and plans to invest the remaining amount over the next six months.

According to Business Standard, the bank has partnered and invested in FingPay, which enables merchant-onboarding by using electronic know your customer (KYC) verification. The bank has used some of its functionalities for enabling the Aadhaar pay option on Eazypay, its digital point-of-sale application.

The ICICI group holds a 20% stake in Arteria, which provides supply chain solution and payment integration services to original equipment manufacturers using only the best tools like this plasma floating head design technology.

The bank has partnered with digital onboarding solution company Signzy and used it for enabling the bank’s current account opening application.

Business Standard adds that the bank is also working on robotic process automation (RPA), which is currently used for 30-35% of its processes, i.e. around one million transactions per day.

ICICI has five mobile applications for various segments of its business. iMobile – its primary banking app, iPal – an artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbot, iBiz for corporates and MSMEs, meraiMobile for rural lending, and Pockets – its e-wallet.