ICICI Bank to use satellite data to power credit assessment of farmers


ICICI BankICICI Bank has announced the usage of satellite data imagery from Earth observation satellites in a bid to assess the credit worthiness of its customers from the agriculture sector.

The lender is the first in India and among few global names to use satellite data for measuring a range of parameters pertaining to the land, irrigation and crop patterns and use it in combination with demographic and financial parameters for making quick lending decisions for the farmers.

This use of innovative technology will help the farmers with existing credit and enhance their eligibility, while new-to-credit farmers will now be able to get better access to credit.

Besides, since the land verification is performed in a contactless manner with the assistance of satellite data, credit assessments are being done within a few days as against the industry practice of upto 15 days.

The Bank has been using satellite data for the past few months in over 500 villages in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and plans to scale up the initiative to over 63,000 villages shortly across the country.

Commenting on this new initiative, Anup Bagchi, Executive Director, ICICI Bank, said, “ICICI Bank has a legacy of pioneering innovations in technology to create propositions that provide increased convenience to customers. We have created new paradigms in the financial services industry by taking the lead in introducing path-breaking innovations including firsts like internet banking in 1998, mobile banking (2008), Tab banking (2012), 24×7 Touch Banking branches (2012), Software Robotics (2016) and Blockchain deployment (2016).

We are bringing forth yet another futuristic technology of using satellite data and analysis to provide key inputs for credit assessments for lending to farmers. Earlier, one had to visit remote locations to manually assess a host of parameters on the land location, irrigation levels and crop quality patterns to forecast future revenues of the farmers. Now, imagery from earth observation satellite gives us a ground-breaking ability to track many information across large areas in a contactless and highly reliable manner.”

This, combined with demographic and financial details, provides strong information on the land asset of the farmers. We believe that usage of this technology will enhance accessibility to credit as new-to-credit farmers will have easy access to formal credit, as well as farmers with existing credit lines will be able to securely expand their eligibility. With encouraging response to our pilot project in over 500 villages, we will shortly cover over 63,000 villages in the country for lending with this technology.”

The Bank has joined hands with agri–fintech companies specialising in harnessing space technology and weather information for commercial usage.

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