Digital inclusion to revolutionise banking services for customers: Suresh Ranganathan, Aspire Systems

Aspire is aiming to introduce digital inclusion for banks across the global landscape. There are several global locations, where digital banks have just set in, and there are several banks that can do a lot more for their customers, including several banks in the Indian subcontinent says, Suresh Ranganathan, Head of Banking and Financial Services at Aspire Systems, in conversation with Rashi Aditi Ghosh of Elets News Network (ENN).

Suresh Ranganathan

You have been appointed as the Head of Banking and Financial Services at Aspire Systems. What innovations are you planning to incorporate?

Innovation at a bank or in a services-based company should always be at the forefront. This stems from the fact that customers are yearning for banks to indulge in customer intelligence and data. Customers are willing to give their personal data for pure, enriching experiences. Apart from this, we’re also aiming to bring about digital inclusion for banks across the global landscape.

There are several global locations, where digital banks have just set in, and there are several banks that can do a lot more for their customers, including several banks in the Indian subcontinent. In the next couple of months, we’ll be focusing on helping banks use their data in a better manner as well as better usability and extensive functionalities on the bank’s dashboard.

Technology is changing banking in India. What positive changes do you see in this regard?

In India, we’re seeing the digital transformation to a larger extent than what is currently present in the West. Several banks have adopted more pleasant looking UIs and open, agile and flexible digital solutions. Apart from this, several solutions are coming in terms of wealth management, lending, customer service and insurance. In this way, if banks adopt AI and ML frameworks, that would help banks in detecting patterns of particular customers, understanding their salary, savings and expenditures and can help in possibly helping them buy their dream car or house.

A bigger populace in India resides in rural areas. Do you think digitization has touched the underbanked?

The problems and solutions with regard to rural banking have been studied and researched in depth. However, where banks have yet to meet the mark is in terms of helping the rural areas access to credit and funding. Approximately 20% of India is still unbanked and banks need to bring about financial inclusion so that everyone has access to credit, loans, savings and other basic banking services.

This is highly urgent as integration between the rural and urban areas is increasing, with the commercialization of agriculture. There is the mobility of labour, capital and other services and aspects between rural and urban areas. However, there is a huge chasm between the transaction costs for urban and rural banks. Furthermore, only 10% of Indians have access to formal credit.

That means more than 1 billion people cannot obtain a loan. Moreover, only 13% of farmers have availed loans and more than 54% of farmers have used non-institutional or other forms of lending. Hence there is a huge gap between where banks are, and where banks want to be. However, said that banks are disrupting the financial world and financial inclusion is becoming a terminology that is being used frequently. Digitization for Rural Banking is taking place but at a slow pace. This is because banks want to ensure that consumers from rural areas feel comfortable with the level of technology, usability and CX.

What are your views on Neobanks?

 Neobanks are the latest trending topic in the financial and banking space. Customers are looking for faster and highly creative user experiences and neobanks are able to provide for them. This stems from the fact that neobanks, unlike traditional banks do not have the heavy legacy architectures handicapping them from moving forward. Neobanks are feeling the millennial’s pulse and are understanding their preferences and tastes. They’re able to provide customer onboarding and closure processes within minutes. Loan origination, submission and verification are now a hassle-free process. Likewise, there are so many other use-cases. In short, Neobanks are here to stay for the gig economy and traditional banks do really have to up their game to compete efficiently.

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