Exclusive | Airtel Payments Bank was amongst first few to launch ‘Covid Inclusive’ floating insurance for Business Correspondents: Anubrata Biswas, MD&CEO

In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the frequency of communications from leadership to management, which used to be quarterly to 45 days has now become fortnightly and monthly, says Anubrata Biswas, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Payments Bank.

Anubrata Biswas

Amid the outbreak of the pandemic, Airtel Payments Bank were one of the first companies to launch a floater insurance for its Business Correspondents which covers the cost of medical care if the person is hospitalized or needs treatment for corona, said Anubrata Biswas, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Payments Bank.

Sharing his views during the Elets BFSI NextGen Virtual Summit, Biswas spoke about the priorities set by the bank’s board in a bid to combat the corona crisis.

He said: Our board is also very clear about the top three priorities. The first priority would be employees, secondly Service and the third priority are the opportunities and I would like to add a fourth one that is resolute optimism. Resolute optimism is very different from romantic optimism. Romantic optimism will make you think that everything is going to be better one and makes you stay positive and hopeful.

Resolute optimism on the other hand is being pragmatic, acting in a very determined manner and articulatively executing day on day, so that you are able to see the green shots come out in a much more explicit detailed fashion than just purely hoping for it. In our mind, the priorities of the board we translated into three clear ways.

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“First, we were forced to choose more hard and rudely. When the entire team was working from home and prioritizing their day and nights, you have to be very clear about what you ask for and that can only happen when you are regularly taking feedback to explore what the market is wanting.  For example, we are keeping out of the largest business correspondent networks open today and we have got a quarter of active million points and on a daily basis on a lack of active billion points. One of the things we realised very quickly, in the first two weeks of the crisis, our Business Correspondents were reluctant to open the shutters because they were worried themselves that they will catch infection,” he added.

“To help them out during the crisis, we launched floater insurance for our Business Correspondents which cover the cost of medical care if they were hospitalized or they needed treatment for corona. And the section piece of action was to communicate more. We were one of the first companies to do so. People were anxious, insecure and they were also not sure whether they would indeed go through the long sustained period of job cuts.”

Talking about the leadership team’s fast track approach amid Corona, he said “Therefore, the frequency of communications from leadership to management, which used to be quarterly to 45 days became fortnightly and monthly.”

“The third pillar is once you have chosen and communicated, the cycle of execution needs to be much more fast and therefore you need to commit much more.  For example, we were one of the top three banks to enable the option to donate to PMCARE fund through the digital app actually within two days after PMCare fund was launched.”

“This needs continuous cycle of improvement and therefore what we observed is two dominant trends- a strong uptake on the rural side with 40 million migrants having gone home and on day-on-day basis we are onboarding more customers that were were onboarding before the Covid crisis,”

In between the crisis, our digital transactions simply doubled and the number is accelerating further.

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