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October 10, 1997


Infinity-Internet Banking launched

The Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India's ICICI Bank today launched the 'Infinity-Internet Banking' service, the first of its kind in the country. It will allow the bank to offer Internet as a banking channel for retail and corporate customers.

The Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies Limited has provided the bank with the software - Bankaway - for establishing Infinity-Internet banking.

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The Software is a complete online and Internet banking solution. Addressing a press conference in Bombay this afternoon, P V Maiya, Chairman of ICICI Banking Corporation Limited, said, Infinity will be of immense benefit to both, corporate and retail customers.

Through Infinity, customers can access their accounts 24 hours a day throughout the year. They can bank anytime throughout the day from the home or office and can access the account from anywhere in the world. The software is user-friendly and provides extensive online help, he said.

A G Prabhu, executive vice-president, information technology, ICICI Banking Corporation, said, the software is completely customisable and effectively addresses issues like security, one-to-one relationship banking, cross-selling and direct marketing.

N R Narayana Murthy, chairman and managing director of Infosys Technologies, said, the introduction of Infinity banking will be a giant leap as far as remote banking in India is concerned.

The product will make banking, time and location independent.

He informed that, as of January 1997, there were 1,240 retail banking sites on the Internet. Of these there are about 151 in the Asia-Pacific-Japan region. Nearly 7 per cent provide advanced functionality on the Internet. Now ICICI Bank will be joining this select group.

Infinity will be implemented in three phases. The first phase, operational from the date of launch, will show a demo version of the software on the Bank's Web site. This demo contains a guided tour through the features of Infinity. Apart from being a warm-up for the next two phases, it will enable users to give suggestions for improvements, which will be incorporated in later versions, wherever feasible, Prabhu said.

The second phase will provide services such as account information and balances, statement of account, transaction tracking, mail box, cheque book issue, stop payment, financial and customised information.

The third phase will provide additional services, such as fund transfers, DD issue, standing instructions, opening fixed deposits, intimation of loss of ATM cards, etc.

Future enhancements planned include advanced corporate banking services like third-party payments, utility bill payments, cash management services etc.

Infinity is secured through a multilayered security architecture comprising firewalls, encryption, filtering routers and digital certification which prevent unauthorised access.

Reserve Bank Governor Dr C Rangarajan has called upon the banking sector to adopt modern technologies to service the needs of customers best and face the emerging challenges of next millennium.

Addressing a gathering of bankers here this evening after inaugurating Infinity-Internet Banking, Rangarajan said "We cannot wait for customers. We will have to seek customers and this is only possible when we service their needs best."

He bemoaned that the customers are dissatisfied with the very fact that there are delays on part of the banks. Customers have to face problems while encashing their cheques, he said and added that information technology and automation will help servicing the needs of the customers.

Rangarajan said, banks to be more competitive, will have to accept the needs of computerisation. Quicker service will be a keyword of business, he said and added that in India an extensive computerisation of banking industry is required, as the customer base is very wide.

"In rural areas the banks may loan a few hundred rupees while in the metropolis it funds in millions," he said. The challenges would be more in near future and for this the industry will have to gear up from now.

Complimenting the ICICI Bank and Infosys for making pioneering effort in introducing Internet banking the governor said secrecy and security should be the buzzword in the success of Internet banking.


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