A recent agreement between ICICI Bank and Indian mobile phone company Vodafone Essar highlights the increasing number of partnerships among mainstream companies to bring products and services to lower-income populations. Through the partnership, ICICI Bank hopes to leverage Vodafone’s 1.5 million retail points to offer India’s under-banked population with financial products including savings accounts and pre-paid instruments.NEW DELHI: In order to take advantage of the mobile teledensity in India, private sector lender ICICI Bank today entered into an agreement with mobile service provider Vodafone Essar to offer financial products such as savings accounts and pre-paid instruments.

This partnership is expected to bring the unbanked and under-banked population into the organised financial services framework and assist in furthering the electronic payments market in India, both the companies said in a joint statement.

ICICI Bank will leverage the distribution strength of Vodafone, which manages over 1.5 million retail points for acquiring customers and servicing them.

“We are very excited about the partnership with Vodafone which will help ICICI Bank in deepening its base within the country. Mobile penetration is growing exponentially in the country of which the rural market forms a major contributor,” ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar said.

Both parties will work out the specific arrangements in the coming few weeks and chart out a go-to-market plan, the statement added.

As per the Reserve Bank’s guideline, banks are allowed to engage retired employees, ex-servicemen and retired government employees and other entities, as prescribed by the central bank, as business correspondents.http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/banking/finance/banking/icici-bank-vodafone-join-hands-to-offer-mobile-banking/articleshow/7269731.cms