Is ICICI an Indian Bank… do xenophobic overtones hurt its custom

ICICI is a massive Indian bank, but on this site we’re only ever referring to its fully UK owned and regulated UK savings subsidiary that has exactly the same protection as any other UK savings institution (see savings safety). Yet this is what I wrote in this week’s e-mail…

New top fixed savings. Lock-in at 4.35% for 2 yrs or 4.07% for 18 mths. Updated Article
Fixed savings rates are on the up, with the best 2-yr fixes beating instant access by over 1% point; though you sacrifice access to the cash. 2-yr Fixes. UK subsidiary of Indian bank ICICI* (min. £1,000) is now joined by private bank Rothschild* at 4.35% AER (min. £20,000) Shorter Fixes: Building soc. Stroud & Swindon pays 4.07% AER until Nov 2010 if (min. £2k), while for a year National Counties is 3.91% (min. £20k) and ICICI* 3.75% (min. £1k). How safe? ALL these accounts have the full UK protection for up to £50,000 per person, per financial institution. Is it worth it? Most economists predict rates will stay very low into 2010, but after that who knows. If rates rise, fixed money is locked away, so you could lose out especially on longer fixes. FULL info, more options and instant access best buys in the Updated Guide: Top Savings Related: Savings Safety, Fixed Savings, Cash ISAs

Fascinatingly, I’ve just learned the link to Rothschild bank was massively more popular than the one to ICICI. Now some of this may be because Rothschild is a new product and therefore some people will already be up to their safe savings limit in ICICI, but I suspect the majority is due to the phrase “UK subsidiary of Indian bank”, even though later we explain that it has the same protection.

This has made me question whether it’s fair to mention ICICI’s Indian origins. When we write about Abbey or Alliance and Leicester we don’t write “UK subsidiary of Spanish Bank…” Actually the only other time I can think we currently mention it is for ING Direct which is Dutch, but then it does matter, as unlike ICICI it is not part of the UK compensation scheme.

While ICICI has had some worry over its stability (thankfully it seems to have diminished), it’s not its ‘Indianess’ that causes worry, no more than those Building Societies with stability worries have them because they’re British. And in all cases the protection is the same.

So I’d love your views, is it time to drop ICICI’s Indianess… as it unfairly puts people off?

Comment and Discuss

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