Initiatives in Financial Inclusion

P K Sharma,
Deputy General Manager, Financial Inclusion, UCO Bank

In India the ambit of Institutional Financial Sector has been restricted to limited area with presence of Brick & Mortar Branch. This exclusion has not only kept our masses away from mainstream of economic activities, but also deprived them of organised credit environment. Financial inclusion Project is an initiative towards delivery of financial services at an affordable cost to the vast sections of the disadvantaged and low-income groups. Financial services include Savings, Credit, Payments, Insurance, and Remittance facilities. The objective of financial inclusion is to extend the scope of activities of the organized financial system to include within its ambit people with low incomes. Technology has transformed banking from the traditional brick-and-mortar infrastructure like staffed branches to a system supplemented by Alternate Delivery Channel like Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Credit/Debit Cards, Internet Banking, Online money transfers etc.

Salient Features of the Mobile Van SolutionThe mobile Van is viewed as the real-time solution for the financial inclusion in the unbanked areas with following unique features:
1. Total Banking solution at the doorstep with the real-time CBS terminals. The customer can be provided with every type of banking transactions including A/C opening, DD purchasing, Statement printing , Cash deposit /withdrawal , Transfer of Funds, Passbook updating etc.
2. With the support of the Biometric ATM, the illiterate customers can make a secured banking transaction. The ATM provided supports :
a) Registration of the Finger prints (Scanning the finger print images in the presence of the Bank officials and storing the same in a centralized server.)
b) Centralised fingerprint authorisation to validate the transaction initiated by the customer.
c) Audio visual support for the illiterate customers ( Flash screens , Different colour band for different withdrawal amount ,multilingual ( including regional language ) audio support in screen flows )
d) Audio visual support and Brielle enabled keypads and buttons provided to support the transactions made by the physically challenged customers.
3. The ATM supports both PIN bases as well as Biometric transactions.


Other Modes of Implementation of Financial Inclusion
UCO Bank has played a key role in shaping IBA/IDRBT standards for Smart Card based Financial Inclusion technology model. Adopting to the same technology framework our Bank has implemented unique Smart Card Based FI Solution with 6 different Corporate BC Partners. This model has its unique feature across the industry. Some of salient feature of this solution is:1. Since commencement of project entire accounts of FI Customers have been opened in CBS. All the demographic as well biometric data is in servers installed at Bank’s DC/DR.
2. Right from the day one we have done real time online transaction only, even from the remotest village by authenticating customers biometric credentials stored in the Smart Card. As a result, there has not been a single case of reconciliation problem so far.
3. The Smart Card Technology implemented by the Bank has its innovative Key Management System as result of which our solution is interoperable among our Corporate BCs. In simple terms a customer enrolled by one BC can work with others Hand Held Terminal.
4. Leaping on the real time online transaction with CBS; we have opened multiple channels like HHD, ATM, and Branch for the FI Customer. It gives a FI Customer, in line with all other customers to use any channel for their Banking needs as per their convenience.

In UCO Bank, we learnt this transformation well in time along with its moot point, i.e., is that access to such technology restricted only to certain segments of the society. Envisaging the future technology we have launched the very innovative state-of-art technology for ensuring all round Financial Inclusion through “UCO Bank On Wheels“. In this project a fully technology enabled mobile van roam around the villages on a pre-specified date and time to provide full banking services at the doorstep of the villagers. In fact this widely applause model has bridged the gap between branch and the village.
Two models have been set up one of them is equipped with a biometric ATM along with two laptops (one each for the maker and the checker of transactions) that would connect to the centralized CBS database using CDMA technology on real time basis for transaction processing. The other model is complete with all CBS functionality, but without an ATM on-board the Mobile Van. The mobile van is helping the bank in reaching out to a banking audience that is out of the banking fold so far and is a major step in the financial inclusion initiative of the bank

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