Federal Bank to enter credit card segment in a year, says official

Federal Bank is looking to enter the credit card segment in the next one year to complete its suite of lending products, a senior official said on Thursday.

The bank, which already has a co-branded card offering with SBI Cards, will focus on its existing customer base of over 1 crore to sell cards, its country head for deposit, cards and personal loans Nilufer Mullanfiroze told PTI.

All major banks have a credit card offering of their own for the customers, but the ongoing pandemic, which has resulted in job losses and salary cuts, has led to concerns over asset quality for unsecured products like credit cards and personal loans.

"In next 9-12 months we are looking at a launch of an independent credit card. There is an expectation that the new normal should settle down in India by then," Mullanfiroze said.

The bank will rely only on in-house customers and also deploy its analytics engine to choose customers in a bid to take care of concerns on book quality, she said, stressing that things will be better than what they are right now by then.

Already, there seems to be a pick-up in activity, with credit bureaus reporting enquiries to have touched two-third of pre-Covid levels, Mullanfiroze said, adding that the Chinese experience also points to an uptick in activity once Covid-19 infections wane.

Over two-third of cards will be sold to the under 35 segment, she said, adding that as cards are to be sold to existing customers, much of the sales will be in places where it has branches.

It will also have dedicated offerings for the diaspora.

The bank will announce the name of the network -- Visa, Mastercard or the home-grown Rupay -- on which the card will operate in a month, and will also complete the back-end work on technology and other aspects before the launch, she said.

The bank announced a tie-up with Fiserv on Thursday to support the launch of the card, and will start a digital and social media focused marketing campaign a month ahead of the launch.

She said one of the reasons for launching the independent offering is the bank's inability to achieve desired scale for the joint product with SBI Cards, and added that the bank can end the partnership with three-months' notice.


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