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Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005

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ICICI, IndusInd launch NRI remittance products

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(From right) Mr Bhaskar Ghose, Managing Director & CEO, IndusInd Bank; Mr Moses Harding, ED; and Mr Aneish Kumar, Country Manager, The Bank of New York; at a press conference in Mumbai to launch the remittance products for NRIs on Tuesday. - Paul Noronha

Mumbai , March 29

BANKS are launching new forex remittance products to tap NRI funds.

Two banks — ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank — have launched remittance products with foreign tie-ups.

Mr Bhaskar Ghose, Managing Director and CEO, IndusInd Bank, said banks are focusing on such products to take advantage of the tax exemption on NRE accounts as provided in the Budget. About 10 per cent of the IndusInd Bank's deposits come from NRIs. The bank plans to increase it to about 15 per cent by next year.

The US is one of the major countries from which remittances come into India, said Mr Bhargav Dasgupta, Senior General Manager and Head-International Banking Group, ICICI Bank. He said that 35-40 per cent of remittances into India are from the US.

One of the two products launched by IndusInd Bank is Indus Fast-Remit. This is in tie up with The Bank of New York, which has offered its Automated Clearing House. This allows the remitter in the US to remit funds from his bank account in the US to India, either to a beneficiary or to himself, online through IndusInd Bank. The remitter can hold any other bank account, but needs to register himself on IndusInd Fast Remit through the bank's Web site. The minimum amount that can be remitted is $500 and maximum is $4000, at a time. The number of transactions is restricted to three in a month. The charge is between $2 and $5, depending on the amount. The transaction will be completed in less than 24 hours.

ICICI Bank's India Remittance Account is in association with Wells Fargo Bank. Using this product, Indians in the US can send money directly from their Wells Fargo Bank accounts to their beneficiaries' ICICI Bank accounts.

Unlike IndusInd's Fast-Remit, this can be used only by account holders of Wells Fargo and ICICI Bank. To remit money, the customer will have to open a remittance account with Wells Fargo Bank. The maximum amount that can be transferred in a day is $3000, and the charge is $8 per transaction. The transfer time is 24 hours.

IndusInd Bank also launched Indus Speed Remit, a product for NRIs in the UAE. This allows NRIs to remit funds online on a real-time basis through exchange houses where IndusInd Bank has tie-ups.

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