The Indian economy is on a robust growth trajectory and boasts of a stable annual growth rate, with rising foreign exchange reserves and flourishing capital markets among other factors. World Bank estimates the Indian economy to be amongst the top 3 economies in the world by 2050.
One community whose contribution in this change stands out is the NRIs / PIOs who have migrated to various parts of the world, starting 1960s. Over the last decade NRIs have aggressively started looking at India as one of the safest and viable places for their investments, along with their existing needs, to support the financial requirements of their loved ones back home.
Over the years GCC countries have turned into an extended neighborhood for India. With about 6 million Indians residing in GCC countries, no bank can afford to ignore the size and capacity of the Indian Diaspora. Here again migration of Indians have evolved over years. What started as migration of blue collar labor class has evolved to skilled manpower to managerial talent to entrepreneurs. This has also resulted in the shift in demand for banking requirements where every Public, Private and Multinational bank has upgraded its presence and product suites to meet these changing demands. Today the products offered to NRIs broadly consists of:
- Basic Banking services
- Investment products like Mutual Funds, Insurance etc.,
- Secure & Speedy Funds Transfer with multi currency options
It all starts with different types of banking accounts which a NRI customer can open. There are 3 basic types of accounts for banking services:
- NRE (Non Resident External) account
- NRO (Non Resident Ordinary) account and
- FCNR (Foreign Currency Non- Resident) accounts
The NRE Accounts which are opened to park overseas income earned in foreign currency is converted in Indian rupees and can be deposited in the form of Savings, Current or Fixed Deposits and are freely repatriable & interest earned is tax free in nature. To park income earned in India, NRIs can open NRO Account in the form of Savings, Current or Fixed Deposits in Indian Rupees. As the money parked in this account is earned in India, it is repatriable after meeting certain conditions and the said income is taxable in nature. As an NRI you can even hold money in foreign currency through Foreign Currency Non-Resident Accounts (FCNR) deposits. To facilitate the ease of opening of these accounts for NRIs staying abroad, Kotak Mahindra Bank is one of the very few banks which has launched the online account opening facility which enables them to complete the account opening formalities online while they are still overseas. This is a seamless facility wherein the account opening form can be filled up online and courier the printed and signed copy of the form along with KYC documents to India and the account is opened thereafter. (subject to submission of all the prescribed documents).
Sending money back to India as remittance is another important need for NRIs. Today, India is the largest remittance receiving country in the world and last year alone India received USD 58 billion in the form of remittances from NRI¡¦s globally. Being able to send money back home to your family quickly and safely is a big advantage and a necessity while living abroad. What's equally important is the fact that irrespective of where you send the money from, the recipient should receive the money in Indian currency. This saves them the trouble of converting money in times of emergencies. We have launched our online remittance portal Click2Remit.com to cater to this need. This portal offers Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, Bank transfers, Wire transfer and Check Lock box transfers at extremely competitive rates. Also, you can transfer funds to India through our Exchange house tie-ups across the GCC region.
In spite of the recent global meltdown, the India story has remained intact and solid. As every NRI faces the dilemma of where to park his hard earned money for safety and growth, financial advisory services offered by Private and Multinational banks have become a big attraction for NRIs in GCC countries. Today a person living in Gulf has a choice to invest directly in Indian Equities, Mutual Funds, Insurance and Gold. Through our Trinity account which links the bank, demat and broking account, customers can invest in the secondary market online ensuring a hassle free investment option. We also offer online investment account which is a unique single window account that enables customers to keep track of their mutual fund portfolio online. The Privy League offering, which aims at HNIs living abroad, is a unique program aimed at comprehensive financial planning with investment options across varied asset classes (onshore & off shore).
Non-Resident Indians can also avail home loans to buy property in India (provided that the amount is not invested in the purchase of agricultural land, plantation property or a farm house). Kotak Mahindra bank has recently launched customized products for NRIs with attractive rates for this festive season.
Along with the products that an Indian bank offers to NRIs, it is equally important to ensure that these facilities are made available to them in the most convenient and accessible manner. We realize the importance of this and have specially tailored a wide range of value added products and services to make customers¡¦ money work for them. This coupled with the highest standard of customer care makes life simpler and easier for them.
To name a few services offered by Kotak Mahindra Bank that are a convenience factor for NRIs are:
- Speedy funds transfer facilities from GCC to India through our online remittance portal www.click2remit.com and exchange house tie-ups.
- Dedicated Relationship Manager
- Net Banking is the primary offering which allows them to view details across accounts, Term Deposits, and Demat Accounts - 24x7.
- Also, the NRI customer can shop, make payments and refill mobile prepaid cards through the Kotak Payment Gateway which enables instant, convenient and secure way of shopping.
- Mobile Banking, SMS Banking and the Phone banking facilities are also available to the NRIs for remote engagement.
- All these services are assisted with state of the art customer service available 24x7, through various modes such as the call centre number and click2call. The other modes which the customer can use are online chat and SMS2Call.
NRI banking services is an invaluable link that helps Indians living abroad to manage their financial needs back home in India seamlessly. For NRIs looking at India for their financial requirements choosing the right bank as a financial partner is most critical aspect of consideration.
Executive Vice President & Head ¡V Branch Banking, Business Assets & NRI Banking
Kotak Mahindra Bank