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'This merger will strengthen our network'

business Updated: May 23, 2010 22:42 IST
Sandeep Singh
Sandeep Singh
Hindustan Times
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After the board of directors of ICICI Bank approved the amalgamation of The Bank of Rajasthan with ICICI Bank on Sunday, Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO, ICICI Bank spoke to Hindustan Times about how this acquisition will help the bank grow. Excerpts:

Are you looking for acquisitions?
I think there are very limited opportunities for consolidation in the private sector banking space and therefore it is very good that we have been able to make this deal happen.

How do you think this will help you in growth?
It helps us grow in overall size and also in terms of branch network, which is the building block for a bank. Strategically, it increases our branch network 25 per cent and will take it close to 2,500 branches, thereby giving a clear lead among the private sector players. It gives us a three-year headstart, as it takes about a year to set up around 500 branches and two to three years to achieve these (in BoR) deposits.

Where will the growth happen?
It will strengthen our network in north and western India in some of the states where we did not have that larger network and give us the ability to in a way acquire 3 million customers and to sell various products to these customers.

What made you go for this bank despite several controversies?
Most of the regulatory issues are related to individual shareholders and so as far as the bank is concerned, we concentrated on the due diligence, which threw up a satisfactory report. They don't concern the bank.

By when will the synergy be in place for this acquisition?
I think it should take less than one year and we have to work like one organisation. For now we have to go through the shareholder approval and then the RBI approval. The integration starts after that but once it starts it will not take very long as we have experience of handling acquisitions in the past and we have been able to do that smoothly.