ICICI Bank helps Indian Americans do charity back home

Tuesday, 19 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW YORK: ICICI Bank has started an initiative for Indian expatriates in the U.S. to identify and invest in charitable causes in their native land.

It has also launched a 24-hour money transfer service to over 670 locations.

"The main feature of our Charitable Trust Project is to help our customers monitor the flow of money to social causes and ensure that it is used only for the purposes it is intended for," Gopakumar P., head of ICICI's NRI Business Unit, told IANS at the bank's office here.

"For this we have a tie-up with Give Foundation Inc. of California and all this can be done online," said Gopakumar, who functions from the bank's head office in Mumbai.

According to him, the bank first helps people identify suitable areas for charity such as childcare, education, micro-finance and healthcare with the help of Give Foundation and then enters into a tripartite agreement.

"The money endowed by the customer is then deposited into an escrow account. The funds are released in stages -- only when progress is seen in the earlier stage. This way 100 percent of the donor's money will be used precisely for the purpose it is intended," said Gopakumar, on a visit here.

Deloitte, Haskins and Sells, one of the 'big five' auditing firms in the world, are the statutory auditors for the initiative, he said, adding that ICICI Bank underwrites the entire transaction.

On the new money transfer initiative, called PowerTransfer, Gopakumar said the scheme has been introduced in addition to the existing traditional routes to send money to India under the collective Money2India brand.

In the new scheme, money can be wired to the recipient in India through the Internet and the transaction is concluded by the close of the next working day. The sender also has the option to track the status of the remittance online, he said.

The existing schemes allowed the customer to deposit a check in the bank's post box in New Jersey, which can take up to five days, or electronically transfer the amount, which can take up to four days, Gopakumar said.

Source: IANS
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