How Small Finance Banks paved way for new age banking in 2017?

Small Savings

Small-Finance-BanksSmall Finance Banks are differentiated banks of the new age. They are formed with the objective of furthering financial inclusion by (i) provision of savings vehicles primarily to unserved and underserved sections of the population, and (ii) supply of credit to small business units; small and marginal farmers; micro and small industries; and other unorganised sector entities. Navi Mumbai-based Suryoday Small Finance Bank Ltd. started operations on 23 January 2017 as Small Finance Bank and has opened 23 bank branches till date and is on its way to convert its the existing 200+microfinance offices into banking outlets.From the beginning, when Suryoday Microfinance was set up in 2008, the intent was to enable customers in building sustainable financial capability. Though we were in the business of microfinance, we invested in financial literacy and encouraged customers to save small sums of money every day and even open their bank accounts with neighborhood banks.However, commercial banks at that time were not geared to handle small ticket accounts and customers felt unwelcome and never fully adopted banking services.

With the conversion to a Small Finance Bank, our vision for our customers is now becoming a reality. Simplicity, Customer Experience, and Compliance are at the helm of everything that we do at Suryoday Small Finance Bank. We are now better placed to meaningfully engage with our customers in providing them with the full suite of financial services. Having served the unbanked and underbanked segment for almost a decade we have incorporated key insights in designing banking products which are simple, effective, convenient and secure.

Apart from the traditional group loans in microfinance, we now offer basic banking solutions to our customers, including savings bank accounts, current accounts, fixed deposits, recurring deposits, and have expanded our span of coverage to offer solutions such as secured and unsecured business loans and affordable housing loans. The bank is in the process of rolling out several other offerings such as investment and insurance on a digital platform, with an aim to cater to all the financial needs of our customers under one umbrella.

In our chosen customer segment, where there is little or no credit history to go by, it becomes imperative for the bank to build a long-term relationship with customers to maximize value. We want to leverage our digital platform with a human touch to deliver our products and services that create a positive customer experience and encourage our customers to adopt banking as a way of life. The combined effects of regulatory and technology changes are bringing about tectonic shifts in the Indian banking sector and to survive and thrive in this ever-changing landscape, organizations will need to be highly adaptive.

We have put a Customer Relationship Management application at the forefront of all on-boarding and servicing transactions thereby enabling us to have a 360-Degree view of the customer in a seamless manner.

Our system architecture has been designed to be able to easily integrate with any future applications we implement and utilizes the latest methods of API and services calls, enabling modular integration with service partners.

This will enable us to have future partnerships to provide innovative services to our customers and explore new business opportunities. We have also developed front-end/field-force mobility solutions that integrate real-time for credit decisioning, e-kyc validation, etc. and would eliminate the need for paper based processes and improve turn-around times.

As we keep looking for newer ways to leverage technology, we use technology not only to connect with customers and partners, but also our employees. We are developing a full-fledged Learning Management System to facilitate “anytime, anywhere” learning by our employees. As a precursor to this system, a mobile learning platform is being launched this year. We believe that the future for financial services is in digital and analytics and have invested in both and shall continue to do so to stay in tune with the changing scenarios.

A technology enabled customer centric approach will be critical as we grow and help us in creating a niche and become a trusted partner to our customers, employees and partners.

(Disclaimer: This article has been contributed by Suryoday Small Finance Bank.The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banking & Finance Post.

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