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dear friends The recent ICICI bank crisis has brought forth some lessons.

After the US Financial crisis, in India, ICICI bank has started facing lot of crisis. In some of the states, people rushed to the ATM to draw the money and the Bank managed the crisis situation well by providing adequate funds at ATM centres. Also they quickly, brought Finance Minister and Reserve Bank of India in the loop. They also gave a testimonial in favour of ICICI Bank to reduce the panic situation. In the market, their shares have come down to the lowest in the past one year. The business deal by ICICI bank with Lehman Brothers was only a business transaction and not involving any ulterior motive. All along Lehman Brothers was a giant and when they fail, ICICI bank is getting affected. In spite of all the PR exercises, the perception of the people have not improved. I see lot of messages circulating in groups and blogs against ICICI Bank. Though, ICICI Bank has done PR to fire fight the crisis, the perception of the customers or stakeholders are not that good. Even their share prices have gone to the bottom. As an ex-banker, i personally agree that ICICI is one of the stronger banks in India (even better than some of the nationalised banks). Still they are not able to develop the trust and faith in them. A similar incident happened to Indian Bank in 2000. Indian Bank is a public sector Bank. During 2000, the Bank was suffering huge loss on account of indiscreet loans granted. There was a CBI enquiry and some of the senior management officials (including the retired chairman) were arrested. It was a big news then. At that time, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) submitted a report to the then Finance Minister, recommending closure of Indian Bank. When the news got flashed on the TVs, there were big queue infront of all the Branches of the Bank for withdrawal of the cash. At that time also RBI came for rescue and the staff members were working round the clock to pay the cash. The story does not end here. The entire customers, spontaneously, got angry against CII and they supported the Bank fully. (though the bank was running under huge loss). All the media started reporting about how Indian Bank had helped to develop the agricultural sector and middle class for housing loans. The MPs in Parliament stalled the proceedings, in favour of Indian Bank. Ultimately, CII has to come openly and apologise for their report and withdrew their report. Today, ICICI Bank is the second largest bank in India, next to SBI with large number of customer base.

Why inspite of all their PR efforts, they are not able to mobilise the public support, like Indian Bank. To my knowledge, Indian Bank was never doing any good PR. But when they were facing crisis, the people came for their support spontaneously and forced the media also to write editorials in favour of the Bank. Even Indian Bank Management at that time, got surpirsed over the spontaneous response of the public in their favour. In other words, the customers of Indian Bank and even general public, felt that any damage done to the bank was affecting them. Over a period of time, Indian Bank had institutionlised the 'faith and trust' of their customers. Why the new generation Banks like ICICI are not able to muster the public sympathy. Is the PR or the so called 'relationship banking' done by them only superflous? I personally feel that any organisation, should touch the life of the people and the people should perceive the organisation as part of their life. Then they will come for the support of the organisation at the time of crisis. Without any professional communication or PR what Indian Bank could achieve in 2000, why ICICI Bank is not able to achieve with all the PR and communication professionals around them? Has ICICI Bank failed to 'touch' the life of their well wishers and customers? At the time of crisis, we need some thing more than PR and Communication, to develop trust and confidence?