State Bank of India: Kohinoor Banjara Branch is a case that documents the development and execution of a novel, high-end branch by a public sector bank in India whose original mandate was to be a “banker to every Indian.” Specifically, it traces the development of the bank’s Kohinoor branch to serve the Ultra High Net-Worth Individuals (UHNIs) in Hyderabad, the capital city of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, and considers the question of whether a national rollout of the concept would be viable and successful. It describes the design and execution of the new branch from the twin perspectives of brand extension and new service operation, and raises questions related to the expansion of the idea on both dimensions, from a pilot level to a full-blown rollout. It also takes into account such factors as customer selection for the extension of a mass brand into the ultra-luxury end, the desired approach to serve such elite customers and the long-term prospects for a luxury extension of a mass service brand.
Following the success of the branch in Hyderabad, SBI’s associate bank, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) planned to launch a Kohinoor-type branch in Jaipur. However, there were important concerns that had to be addressed. On the one hand, SBI had to break free of its legacy image of being an archaic organization, and on the other, it did not want to send out the signal that it was no longer a common man’s bank. Given such challenges, SBI was faced with the question: Should it or should it not roll out Kohinoor-type branches across India?
To explore the complexity surrounding the extension of a financial services brand into the luxury end market. This extension decision requires the integration of multiple issues at the intersection of consumer behavior, market segmentation, service design and operations, and the coexistence of multiple operating systems within one brand in an emerging economy. The case is appropriate for MBA and executive audiences.