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Banks in India have traditionally offered mass banking products. Most common deposit products being Savings Bank, Current Account, Term deposit Account and lending products being Cash Credit and Term Loans. Due to Reserve Bank of India guidelines, Banks have had little to do besides accepting deposits at rates fixed by Reserve Bank of India and lend amount arrived by the formula stipulated by Reserve Bank of India at rates prescribed by the latter. PLR (Prime lending rate) was the benchmark for interest on the lending products. But PLR itself was, more often than not, dictated by RBI. Further, remittance products were limited to issuance of Drafts, Telegraphic Transfers, Bankers Cheque and Internal Transfer of funds. 

In view of several developments in the 1990s, the entire banking products structure has undergone a major change. As part of the economic reforms, banking industry has been deregulated and made competitive. New players have added to the competition. IT revolution has made it possible to provide ease and flexibility in operations to customers. Rapid strides in information technology have, in fact, redefined the role and structure of banking in India. Further, due to exposure to global trends after Information explosion led by Internet, customers - both Individuals and Corporates - are now demanding better services with more products from their banks. Financial market has turned into a buyer's market. Banks are also changing with time and are trying to become one-stop financial supermarkets. Market focus is shifting from mass banking products to class banking with introduction of value added and customised products.

A few foreign & private sector banks have already introduced customised banking products like Investment Advisory Services, SGL II accounts, Photo-credit cards, Cash Management services, Investment products and Tax Advisory services. A few banks have gone in to market mutual fund schemes. Eventually, the Banks plan to market bonds and debentures, when allowed. Insurance peddling by Banks will be a reality soon. The recent Credit Policy of RBI announced on 27.4.2000 has further facilitated the entry of banks in this sector. Banks also offer advisory services termed as 'private banking' - to "high relationship - value" clients.

The bank of the future has to be essentially a marketing organisation that also sells banking products. New distribution channels are being used; more & more banks are outsourcing services like disbursement and servicing of consumer loans, Credit card business. Direct Selling Agents (DSAs) of various Banks go out and sell their products. They make house calls to get the application form filled in properly and also take your passport-sized photo. Home banking has already become common, where you can order a draft or cash over phone/internet and have it delivered home. ICICI bank was the first among the new private banks to launch its net banking service, called Infinity. It allows the user to access account information over a secure line, request cheque books and stop payment, and even transfer funds between ICICI Bank accounts. Citibank has been offering net banking to its Suvidha program to customers.

Products like debit cards, flexi deposits, ATM cards, personal loans including consumer loans, housing loans and vehicle loans have been introduced by a number of banks. 

Corporates are also deriving benefit from the increased variety of products and competition among the banks. Certificates of deposit, Commercial papers, Non-convertible Debentures (NCDs) that can be traded in the secondary market are gaining popularity. Recently, market has also seen major developments in treasury advisory services. With the introduction of Rupee floating rates for deposits as well as advances, products like interest rate swaps and forward rate agreements for foreign exchange, risk management products like forward contract, option contract, currency swap are offered by almost every authorised dealer bank in the market. The list is growing. 

Public Sector Banks like SBI have also started focusing on this area. SBI plans to open 100 new branches called Personal Banking Branches (PBB) this year. The PBBs will also market SBI's entire spectrum of loan products: housing loans, car loans, personal loans, consumer durable loans, education loans, loans against share, financing against gold.

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