Exclusive: COVID is Ushering Digital Gallop to Co-operative Banks: Vishal Rathod, CIO, NKGSB Co-op Bank

This is an era of co-operative banks and we have a huge scope of improvement. The public and private banks have already saturated their limits because they have been investing in technology for a long time.  We have a set range of customers who are loyal to us. So, the co-operative banks are the next in line. We have put customers at the centre prior to making any deployments and keep that in mind how the technology can make their lives easier, said Vishal Rathod, Chief Information Officer, NKGSB Co-op Bank Ltd.

 Vishal Rathod
Vishal Rathod, Chief Information Officer, NKGSB Co-op Bank Ltd.

During an exclusive conversation with Elets News Network (ENN) during a virtual roundtable, Rathod said, “Co-operative Banks were initially started to cater to the needs of a community but now there is hardly any difference between co-operative banks or any other public and private bank. People want service. Any millennial or a 30-40-year-old wants services such as internet banking, mobile banking, services that any other private banks offers.  People’s expectations on co-operative banks have gone up. We have to offer the services at par with the private banks. “

Commenting on the usage of digital payments by Co-op Bank customers, he said, “The trend has been good for us. Especially in the last few months, we have reported a huge surge on the new payments channels and which is where the trend is going towards, as stated by all the panelists.  Percentage of transactions happening online towards these newer channels is increasing which is good in many terms such as from the customers’ point of view.”

Also read: Co-operative Banks: A Vital Lifeline for Indian Economy

“There are several disruptive channels that have come-up and we are trying to partner with them.  We should look at innovative partnerships with the new emerging channels and explore the complimentary services. It also helps in cost savings. For eg, one cheque dropped at by bank in a remote area and the amount of work on it in terms of bringing the cheque , scanning it and taking it to the clearing house  involves a big cost and hassle.  E-Commerce, in particular has increased a lot and that trend after 2014-15, especially after demonetisation, is definitely picking up and that’s the future,” he added.

Sharing his views on the outbreak of COVID-19, the deadly virus and the need for preparedness against the crisis, he stated, “This is an era of co-operative banks and we have a huge scope of improvement. The public and private banks have already saturated their limits because they have been investing in technology for a long time.  We have a set range of customers who are loyal to us. So, the co-operative banks are the next in line. We have put customers at the centre prior to making any deployments and keep that in mind how the technology can make their lives easier.”

“Services should be provided to them at a faster and cheaper manner.  Customer experience is going to play a big role. Secondly, Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) are going to become a huge challenge after covid because a lot of businesses are not going to do well. So, forecasting those NPAs upfront and helping our Business Recovery Teams to come up with right strategy to deal with the account in terms of measures and strategies that we are working on. So we need strong data and analytics. Thirdly, creating a good and secured infrastructure is our priority. We have to be ready with situation where our employees are working from home and we all know that covid scare is not going to evade so soon so infrastructure and security services to deal with the situation should be ready.  So, cybersecurity is significant for us.

Blurb: Co-operative Banks were initially started to cater to the needs of a community but now there is hardly any difference between co-operative banks or any other public and private bank. People want service.

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