German banking major Deutsche Bank has signed on India's tennis sensation Sania Mirza to enhance its visibility in the retail segment. Roping in a sports personality as brand ambassador marks an increasing trend among banks, both foreign and private sector ones, to cash in on the popularity of sports personalities to further their brand image.
The German bank has decided on a graded structure for the tennis star. According to industry sources, the bank could well pay close to Rs 1.5-2 crore as base fees for Sania for two years. She would be eligible for bonus payments if she breaks in to the higher league. Sania is currently ranked 32nd according to the latest WTA Tour rankings.
Bank of Baroda, which went in for a image makeover last year, had roped in Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid for three years. The bank is reported to be spending around Rs 5 crore for the three-year contract with Dravid.
Many other banks have been using Bollywood stars. ICICI Bank has in recent times roped in Shah Rukh Khan. Earlier it was Amitabh Bachchan, while Dena Bank has opted for Juhi Chawla, while Bank of Rajasthan roped in Hema Malini.
Deustche Bank's entry into retail in the country comes at a time when several banks are focusing on the fast growing retail market. The bank faces competition from some of the local private sector banks, like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and UTI Bank, and also from other foreign banks, like ABN Amro, Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered. Public sector banks, like SBI and BOB, are also focusing on the retail space.
Currently, Deustche Bank has eight branches. Sources said that the bank is likely to spend around Rs 40 crore on marketing this year.
For banks like BoB roping in Dravid had given them an initial boost. In the initial one and a half months the bank was able to rope in around 12.6 lakh customers and also mobilised around Rs 650 crore in savings accounts.