Millennium Post

Banking the unbanked

Technology, in tandem with financial inclusion, will usher the next banking revolution in India and events like the IBEX-India 2015 – held recently in the country’s economic hub of Mumbai – will act as a catalyst in the ongoing transformation of the banking sector by providing a platform for integrating needs and expectations of the service providers and users, according to Arun Tiwari, Chairman and Managing Director, Union Bank. The event, which witnessed all stakeholders in the BFSI sector coming together to explore, understand and deliberate on the challenges and opportunities in adapting innovative banking technologies, highlighted the theme “Innovative Technologies to Deliver Seamless Banking Services to the Banked and Unbanked.”

In his keynote address, Tiwari further emphasised, “As per time, there are new challenges in every field and so is also the case with banking sector. Due to advancement in technology and improving trends, the need of hour is to work on the development of such software programmes and other effective tools which can help customer to experience convenience and easy banking at large.”

“Even child between the age of 10 to 15 years need to be helped by the banking industry, while banks have to leverage technology to stay in the competition amidst security issues that remain a barrier in improvement of this industry,” said Trishna Guha, Chairperson, National Advisory Committee, IBEX India 2015 and Executive Director, Dena Bank, while earlier kick-starting the event on its three day course. “Bankers participating in the event needed to look at new value propositions that would benefit the banking industry,” she said.

Guha said the government’s focus is on financial inclusion in order to bring the masses into the banking ambit. “ICT plays a very important role in financial inclusion and the banks have adopted technology in a big way to achieve this objective,” she said while expressing happiness over an event like IBEX India being organised to enable organisations of different profiles to display their innovations and help banks understand technologies that could take banking to the next level while also facilitating their need to implement the government’s latest programmes and projects.

Highlighting “Digital Banking in the New Digital India,” Puneet Gupta, Managing Director, Enterprise & Public Sector Sales, Cisco India and SAARC said, “We are at the cusp of revolutionising the banking industry. In 2012, more data was generated than ever done in the history of the world and it is expected that over 15 million devices will get connected by 2020. Video will dominate 62 per cent of graphics on wires and India’s mobile use is opening up huge opportunities for the banking industry. The low Internet usage is expected to touch 526 million users by 2018.”

“About 85 per cent of Gen Y (18 to 34 years) will move their money to seek greater degree of digital interaction, while 54 per cent of customers are seeking to meet with remote users, and mobile banking will be able to reach 894 million people by 2015. Digital, social and other trends are disrupting the retail banking scene today with the result that the emerging challenges in this evolving financial services industry include: changing customer expectations; drive to Digital and Cost and Risk (cyber security and regularity compliance where Banking and Government get targeted most – indicating the need to spend more time in this regard); growth versus cost reduction.”

Mohan V Tanksale, Chief Executive, Indian Bank Association, while dwelling on “New Dimension of Customer centric banking; is customer loyalty still relevant?” said definition of loyalty changes over time and over different age profiles due to their needs. “The measurement of customer loyalty is defined by “moments of truth” (customer experience) and value proposition for customers defined customer loyalty.  Evolution of banking has seen all banks using core banking solutions and good analytics that was needed by customers,” he said.

“The Barometer of loyalty is when the customer is with you, and not because of the number of footfalls in the bank. Customer awareness is still very much lacking and customer literacy is greatly needed, for the customer to treat you as the preferred banker. Have we ensured that customer protection is taken care of? The Reserve Bank of India has come out with a Draft Customer Charter that provides customer with five basic rights. With reformation of technology, we have created customer expectations and we have to fulfill this.” Effective use of modern, user-friendly and safe technology will create loyalty and banks many win new customers especially through referrals which is the backbone of any bank,” he said.

Highlighting the pivotal role of banking in shaping the economy and development of the country, Sanjeev Sehgal, Chairman, Security Promotion Group of India (SPGI), said that with such a crucial role, the banking sector’s security aspect – both physical and otherwise – became a significant area of concern. The banking industry today has emerged as one of the strongest markets for security solution providers in an atmosphere where the banking sector is growing at a rapid rate with its requirements also multiplying and widening.

“Security, being an integral part of the banking industry, an event like IBEX provides a valuable platform for all members of the security industry to interact, display and discuss the latest technologies, solution, best practices, enriching the security industry as a whole. To further explore the synergy between the industries, the SPGI has associated with PDA Trade Fairs for IBEX-India 2015 and would also like to take forward the “Make in India” mission of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to evaluate and procure Indian surveillance equipment and solutions,” he said.

Sehgal noted that the SPGI was founded with the motive of promotion of Indian security industry by aligning industry, government and the user. As an industry body, the SPGI would be working closely with the government of India to promote Indian manufacturers in government and private banks, he said, adding that the SPGI and IBEX both played a collaborative role in addressing one of the largest industry verticals requiring security products and solutions and bringing the banking industry closer to the wide range of security equipment and solutions. “The demand for security equipment and services in the banking industry vertical is poised to take quantum leaps in the coming years,” he pointed out.

“The new government at the Centre has brought the spotlight back on inclusion of the ‘unbanked’ millions of Indians spread across the hinterland of the country, this is also essential, given that, as time goes by, all government doles and beneficiary funds will be channeled through bank accounts related to the national registry, under the ambitious Unique Identity Authority of India,” said Pradeep Devaiah, Chairman and CEO, PDA Trade Fairs.

“How to expand and deliver banking and related services of such magnitude? How to tap and galvanise the domestic, agricultural and small trade segments that are still largely out of the ambit of banking? How do we identify and fund micro-finance projects? How does the banking sector ensure sustainability in economic development? How does it contribute to nation-building and employment generation in semi-urban and rural areas?,” he said while describing these questions as some of the pressing challenges that banking experts, technology and service providers are already addressing. Bringing them all on one platform – IBEX-India 2015 which is in its fourth edition – would ensure that this event continued to strive to sound out thought leaders in the Indian banking sector and correlate it to product and technical innovations in the field, he added.

“Are our banks VUCA-ready (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity)? Securing physical assets against criminal trespass and fraud; Re-orienting the Indian banking structure in the need for dynamism in the economy; Removing India’s financial unreachability through the opportunity for one and all through ATM and Mobile Banking; Inculcating a tradition of technology in the banking DNA; and Going Green through responsible banking with environmental concerns” were some of the issues that were discussed threadbare over the three-day event.

The expo showcased the best technology for banking sector from India, United Kingdom, Taiwan, USA, Russia, Japan, Italy, Canada, Brazil and China to help the industry in getting better transformed and contribute to the ongoing transformation from conventional banking to convenience banking and from class banking to mass banking. Participation of bankers from South and South-East Asian countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines was also witnessed at the Show. Over 150 leading technology vendors from around the world participated in the exhibition to offer the banking community cutting edge technologies which can transform the customers’ banking experience and help catalyse the financial inclusion agenda.

A hi-level Conference at IBEX India 2015 was designed to offer scope for meaningful deliberations on providing better customer experience for the new age customer and innovative technologies to deliver banking to the unbanked and underserved, besides being an ideal platform for bank officials from all levels to understand the needs, discuss with the experts and find a solution which could help them deliver best results and satisfaction to customers.

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