As a storm of rumours — that the global financial meltdown had caused a liquidity crunch in India’s largest private bank — raged around ICICI Bank, it sent an SMS to depositors on Saturday, assuring them that their money was secure.
“Your deposits with ICICI Bank are safe. Your bank is well capitalised, with good liquidity. Please do not listen to baseless rumours. Happy festive season,” read the message.
Call it “micro assurance”.
A senior ICICI official told Hindustan Times: “It’s a simple confidence-building measure to reassure investors.”
Depositors, many of whom had been on edge as the rumours gained ground, had a mixed response.
“I think my money is safe. Also, I have a home loan with the bank, so I am adequately leveraged,” said an investor in Bhopal, who works as a consultant on process equipment. Another investor, who has over Rs 1 lakh in his account, said: “I think my money is safe as, ultimately, the government will protect depositors.”
Others were concerned and were turning to experts. “I have been receiving calls, even from well-informed investors, about their deposits with private sector banks. There is no panic yet, though,” said Surya Bhatia, a Delhi-based financial planner.
Amit Pandit, a Mumbai-based financial planner, added: “I am getting calls from clients asking whether to continue holding deposits with private sector banks.”
This is not the bank’s first firefighting measure. The Reserve Bank of India and Finance Minister P Chidambaram had assured depositors that the bank had enough money and was well-placed to tide over the crisis.