ING Group buoyant on India story
Dutch financial conglomerate, the ING Group said it’s bullish in its outlook on India. While addressing a press meet on March 16, 2006, ING Group’s chairman Michel Tilmant said India is an important growth destination and the group is keeping a long-term view in sight.
There exists, he said, three waves of growth for this part of the world, namely huge potential for banking and insurance products due to increase in population, substantial amount of wealth moving from the West towards fast-growing markets of the East and increasing number of distribution channels to provide value-added services to customers.
Direct banking, retirement services and life insurance would be the key business areas for ING. In India, ING group caters to retail banking, life insurance and asset management services.
Mr Tilmant further said they would like to grow organically and also to build partnerships. In the banking space in India, ING would like to focus on retail banking activities and would further consider SME services, for which it’s known globally.
Recently, ING bank has introduced the concept of automated branches, which is very popular in Europe. It has launched 12 automated ones in Bangalore as an attempt to provide value-added services to its customers.
Speaking on the interest rates scenario and returns from the fast-growing market, Mr Tilmant said: “Gradual upward movement in interest rates would not affect the fast-growing markets.” Elaborating on the strategy for Indian operations, Mr Tilmant said he had asked his management team in India to present the plan growth in three months. “The main motive of the visit to India is revitalise the teams in India,” he added.
On its life insurance business in India, ING Vysya Life Insurance company’s managing director and CEO Frank Koster said they expect an healthy expansion in 2006. “We would like to focus only on the life insurance business in the near term.