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Posts Tagged ‘ICICI bank’

Disclaimer: The Indian regulatory framework ensures that Indian insurance companies are well protected. India has to a large extent has been insulated from the fallouts of the global financial meltdown. Policyholders and depositors are safe from problems that may arise outside the country. This article is not a comment on any Indian financial insitution’s financial position.

When the ICICI Bank foreign exposure of 8 per cent on Leehman Brothers became news, I was wondering about the IDBI Fortis Life Insurance Company. With more news coming forth on Fortis and BNP Paribas, I wanted to know if it will have any impact on the Indian JV.

And true to expectations, the next insurance company in line to reassure policyholders is IDBI Fortis’s MD & CEO Nageswara Rao saying, “It (global crisis) not going to have any impact on IDBI Fortis.”

So in a statement identical to those issued by Tata AIG Life and General Insurance Companies and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, IDBI Fortis Life says its solvency margin is above the regulatory requirement of 150 per cent and has a capital base of 2 billion rupees.

Ironically, a high solvency margin while meaning a good safety net, also means less profitability; company not realising its full potential through investments.

Cute Ad campaign on www.bosskaboss.com.:

IDBI Fortis Life has come up with ad campaign, starring a comic hero Rajinikanth for one of its insurance products. Its all about how Rajinikanth doesn’t need cigarettes or his muscles to defeat his enemies anymore. He just needs insurance from IDBI Fortis.

The person, who forwarded the mail to me on the ad,  very rightly pointed out that while it was a nice initiative it might not work. Rajinikanth being a mass hero, such an ad campaign aired on TV channels might work, but on the net it becomes very Tamil Nadu specific and would be appreciated only by the small minority who are Rajinikanth fans and are net savvy people eligible for insurance.

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Disclaimer: The Indian regulatory framework ensures that Indian insurance companies are well protected. India has to a large extent has been insulated from the fallouts of the global financial meltdown. Policyholders and depositors are safe from problems that may arise outside the country. This article is not a comment on any Indian financial insitution’s financial position.

After ICICI Bank started campaigning that it’s financially sound, it’s next the turn of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company to reassure its policyholders that their money is safe and sound.

The buzz was: British Prudential Plc was going to pull out of its joint venture with India’s ICICI.

Prudential Group CEO Mr Mark Tucker immediately came out with the refutation. Tucker firmly stated, “India is one of the cornerstones of our Asian growth strategy. Our JV with ICICI is highly productive and value enhancing. We are in India for the long term. Our commitment to India and to our partner remains immense.”

But I was surprised at their mastery of damage-control exercises. Practice makes perfect. While ICICI Bank took a few days to get into the act, ICICI Prudential Life swung into action barely 10 hours after the first speculations were reported.

Im predicting the next guys to issue statements will be IDBI Fortis Life Insurance Company; coz of the Fortis connection. Meanwhile Tata AIG seems to maintain absolute silence on the status report, which IRDA asked for three weeks ago.

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Disclaimer: The Indian regulatory framework ensures that Indian insurance companies and banks are well protected. India has to a large extent has been insulated from the fallouts of the global financial meltdown. Policyholders and depositors are safe from problems that may arise outside the country. This article is not a comment on any Indian financial insitution’s financial position.

Being a business correspondent, I have a hazy (but better) view of what is going on and has been labelled as “the global financial meltdown.”

The amount of misinformation doing the rounds is phenomenal.

Vernacular newspapers headlines scream, “The world’s worst crisis” “ICICI Bank down and under.” While the fringe Left groups as usual blame it squarely on capitalism. It was quite amusing to note that they blamed the crisis “On capitalists who borrow and borrow money and never repay. Banks are using the depositers hard-earned money to gamble away. Market speculations and the greediness of capitalists have brought us down to this. A $ 700 billion bailout is being given to a private capitalist company from the tax payers hard-earned money.”

Playing True or False:

a) “The world’s worst crisis” – False

Just like all other economic cycles or fluctuations like the Great Depressesion or the stag flation of the 70s, this crisis is also going to tide over at some point. What goes down always comes up. And so this bearish trend in the market will have to turn bullish.

How long it will take? How many people will lose jobs before the upturn in the market? How politicians try to instill investors’ confidence? These questions only time can answer.

The International International Monetary Fund (IMF) says, “worldwide losses stemming from the US subprime mortgage crisis could run to $945 billion.”

But, we don’t need to think its the worst thing that ever hit us as: “The current credit crisis will come to an end when inventories of newly built homes is largely liquidated and home price deflation ends. That will stabilize home equity that acts as a buffer for all home mortgages. Very large losses will, no doubt, be taken as a consequence of the crisis. But after a period of adjustment, the U.S. economy, and the world economy more generally, will be able to get back to business.” says Mr Greenspan, ex-chairman, US Federal Reserve.

b) “ICICI Bank down and under” – False

ICICI Bank did make a statement on September 16 that they had exposure of Rs 375 crores in Leehman Brothers, which has filed for bankruptcy. But ICICI Bank’s exposure is only 8 percent; being the large company that it is, the loss would be absorped in the company. But there have been complaints that brokers have been engaging in short selling; ICICI Bank’s shares have fallen. I think ICICI Bank’s move to file a police complaint was a good counter to the rumours being sent through SMSes. Within two days I as an ICICI customer got two communications from the bank – one an SMS and another a detailed mail from its ED; and as a journalist one communication to allay the fears, prevailing in the market about ICICI Bank’s financial situation.

On why its selfish of me:

I can’t help thinking about the benefits to me because of the current liquidity crunch faced by the banking system. Banks have decreased the CRR and released Rs 60,000 crores; so as far as the comman man is concerned he might get a good deal. How? Well, the banks are trying to mobilise funds or they want your money. So banks might give lower home loan rates and increase the interest on your fixed deposits and savings to attract more depositors. Also with the fall in the stock market, this is the best time to buy stocks at the cheapest rate possible. For long-term investors in the equity market this is the best of times. For the short-termers this is the worst of times.

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Toll Free Numbers

Airlines
Indian Airlines – 1800 180 1407
Jet Airways – 1800 22 5522
SpiceJet – 1800 180 3333
Air India — 1800 22 7722
KingFisher – 1800 180 0101

Banks
ABN AMRO – 1800 11 2224
Canara Bank – 1800 44 6000
Citibank – 1800 44 2265
Corporatin Bank – 1800 443 555
Development Credit Bank – 1800 22 5769
HDFC Bank – 1800 227 227
ICICI Bank – 1800 333 499
ICICI Bank NRI – 1800 22 4848
IDBI Bank – 1800 11 6999
Indian Bank – 1800 425 1400
ING Vysya – 1800 44 9900
Kotak Mahindra Bank – 1800 22 6022
Lord Krishna Bank – 1800 11 2300
Punjab National Bank – 1800 122 222
State Bank of India – 1800 44 1955
Syndicate Bank – 1800 44 6655

Automobiles
Mahindra Scorpio – 1800 22 6006
Maruti – 1800 111 515
Tata Motors – 1800 22 5552
Windshield Experts – 1800 11 3636

Computers

Adrenalin – 1800 444 445
AMD – 1800 425 6664
Apple Computers – 1800 444 683
Canon – 1800 333 366
Cisco Systems – 1800 221 777
Compaq – HP – 1800 444 999
Data One Broadband – 1800 424 1800
Dell – 1800 444 026
Epson – 1800 44 0011
eSys – 3970 0011
Genesis Tally Academy – 1800 444 888
HCL – 1800 180 8080
IBM – 1800 443 333
Lexmark – 1800 22 4477
Marshal’s Point – 1800 33 4488
Microsoft – 1800 111 100
Microsoft Virus Update – 1901 333 334
Seagate – 1800 180 1104
Symantec – 1800 44 5533
TVS Electronics – 1800 444 566
WeP Peripherals – 1800 44 6446
Wipro – 1800 333 312
xerox – 1800 180 1225
Zenith – 1800 222 004

Indian Railway General Enquiry 131
Indian Railway Central Enquiry 131
Indian Railway Reservation 131
Indian Railway Railway Reservation Enquiry 1345,1335,1330
Indian Railway Centralised Railway Enquiry 1330/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

Couriers/Packers & Movers
ABT Courier – 1800 44 8585
AFL Wizz – 1800 22 9696
Agarwal Packers & Movers – 1800 11 4321
Associated Packers P Ltd – 1800 21 4560
DHL – 1800 111 345
FedEx – 1800 22 6161
Goel Packers & Movers – 1800 11 3456
UPS – 1800 22 7171

Home Appliances
Aiwa/Sony – 1800 11 1188
Anchor Switches – 1800 22 7979
Blue Star – 1800 22 2200
Bose Audio – 1800 11 2673
Bru Coffee Vending Machines – 1800 44 7171
Daikin Air Conditioners – 1800 444 222
DishTV – 1800 12 3474
Faber Chimneys – 1800 21 4595
Godrej – 1800 22 5511
Grundfos Pumps – 1800 33 4555
LG – 1901 180 9999
Philips – 1800 22 4422
Samsung – 1800 113 444
Sanyo – 1800 11 0101
Voltas – 1800 33 4546
WorldSpace Satellite Radio – 1800 44 5432

Investments/ Finance
CAMS – 1800 44 2267
Chola Mutual Fund – 1800 22 2300
Easy IPO’s – 3030 5757
Fidelity Investments – 1800 180 8000
Franklin Templeton Fund – 1800 425 4255
J M Morgan Stanley – 1800 22 0004
Kotak Mutual Fund – 1800 222 626
LIC Housing Finance – 1800 44 0005
SBI Mutual Fund – 1800 22 3040
Sharekhan – 1800 22 7500
Tata Mutual Fund – 1800 22 0101

Travel
Club Mahindra Holidays – 1800 33 4539
Cox & Kings – 1800 22 1235
God TV Tours – 1800 442 777
Kerala Tourism – 1800 444 747
Kumarakom Lake Resort – 1800 44 5030
Raj Travels & Tours – 1800 22 9900
Sita Tours – 1800 111 911
SOTC Tours – 1800 22 3344 Healthcare
Best on Health – 1800 11 8899
Dr Batras – 1800 11 6767
GlaxoSmithKline – 1800 22 8797
Johnson & Johnson – 1800 22 8111
Kaya Skin Clinic – 1800 22 5292
LifeCell – 1800 44 5323
Manmar Technologies – 1800 33 4420
Pfizer – 1800 442 442
Roche Accu-Chek – 1800 11 45 46
Rudraksha – 1800 21 4708
Varilux Lenses – 1800 44 8383
VLCC – 1800 33 1262

Insurance
AMP Sanmar – 1800 44 2200
Aviva – 1800 33 2244
Bajaj Allianz – 1800 22 5858
Chola MS General Insurance – 1800 44 5544
HDFC Standard Life – 1800 227 227
LIC – 1800 33 4433
Max New York Life – 1800 33 5577
Royal Sundaram – 1800 33 8899
SBI Life Insurance – 1800 22 9090

Hotel Reservations
GRT Grand – 1800 44 5500
InterContinental Hotels Group – 1800 111 000
Marriott – 1800 22 0044
Sarovar Park Plaza – 1800 111 222
Taj Holidays – 1800 111 825

Tele Shopping
Asian Sky Shop – 1800 22 1800
Jaipan Teleshoppe – 1800 11 5225
Tele Brands – 1800 11 8000
VMI Teleshopping – 1800 447 777
WWS Teleshopping – 1800 220 777

Others
Domino’s Pizza – 1800 111 123

Cell Phones
BenQ – 1800 22 08 08
Bird CellPhones – 1800 11 7700
Motorola MotoAssist – 1800 11 1211
Nokia – 3030 3838
Sony Ericsson – 3901 1111

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No worrying! Everything is under control! No bank fraud. My money is still with me.

Ok now that I’ve reassured my friends – the vicious credit card circle I meant was not debts, but the running around in circles one has to do to get my credit card.

After a major excavation into the rubbish in our house, I finally managed to locate my ICICI bank statement for June 2008. Spreading it out on my desk and with the help of a magnifying glass I try locating the customer care number. No luck! Its not there.

So I next call our local search engine…….only to be regaled with loud garish music and a woman telling me to be patient and our officers will attend the call. I think all the local search engines are in collusion with the cellphone companies to raise the phonebill, by making all their customers wait….for an indecent amount of time.

Just before you lose all patience and are about to hang up, a cheery voice: “Good morning, How may I help you.”

Me: I’d like the ICICI customer care number.

Cheery voice: Which branch?

Me: I don’t know..like anyplace in Chennai.

Cheery voice: Where are you calling from?

Me: Chennai

Cheery voice: Can I have your mobile no and email ID?

I give them all details like my mobile no, email ID, my horoscope, etc, consoling myself with the thought that all good things come to an end.

But, I find they are not done with me. After a fast metallic statement that “you will receive an sms and email of this information.”

They next ask me if I have a business? Me: No

They: Are you interested in starting a business? Me: No

They: Are you interested in getting a loan to start a business? Me: Of course not

They: Are you interested in getting a credit card for a business loan? I just hang up.

Armed with the ICICI customer care number I call them. Only to meet another recording. The metallic cold voice tells me to Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Hindi, Press 3 for Tamil…In haste I Press 1. MCV: If your calls relates to information on your account Press 1 for knowing account balance, Press 2 for debit card, Press 3 for credit card….( I don’t wait…I think they might have 10 other options)

Bingo! Credit card! I hit three.

Only to meet another voice: “For credit complaints Press 1, for credit card loss Press 2, for new credit card Press 3…Heavens now I’m in a dilemma I badly want to call 1 and yell at someone @ complaints but forbearance wins and I press 3 (keeping my fingers crossed that this is destination credit card). ……The ring goes (I keep hoping). Another metallic cold voice tells me to Press 1 if I want to open an account with a credit card, Press 2 for upgradation of debit card to credit. I press 2 only to get another voice.

I hang up.

I go back to the local search engine. Maybe I can get a credit card, If I express interest in starting a business.

So I take a deep breath and plunge into the circle by dialing 04426444444

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