Indiabulls enabled online loan application processing to 24*7 over various platforms, allowing customers to take loans anytime anywhere. It is first of its kind in today’s financial market, says Nafees Ahmed, CIO, Indiabulls in conversation with Anupama Mehra of Elets News Network (ENN).
Indiabulls is known as the key ‘change instigator’. Give us an overview of your products and services?
We started our digital journey in 2016 with our e-home loan product, which was one of its kind and no one has launched it even today in the Indian market. One and a half years back we launched our personal loan mobile app called Dhani. Before the Supreme Court’s order, we were allowed to do e-KYC and e-sign using the Aadhar facility. So, the customer was able to get personal loan at the end of the journey on a real-time basis.
It was without any physical contact with the customer. It was a three-minute journey where the loan amount would get transferred to the customer’s account as soon as they complete their loan application on smart phone.
I have seen people taking a loan at 2 am in the morning, on weekends, on holidays, we made it very convenient for the customers to get loans as and when they required. We focused mainly on digital platforms like social media etc. to promote our Dhani app instead of print or electronic media. We realised that social media platforms are most effective, so all our marketing campaigns are based on digital platforms as today’s customer is spending most of their time on these platforms.
When your customers are on the digital platform and you are not interacting with them in a physical world then you need all the data required for loan disbursement in digital form. Using this data you need to understand the customer behaviour, his creditworthiness, how much loan you can give to the customer at what rate and tenure and customer’s intent to pay back the loan. You also need to make sure, by analysing this data, that it’s not fradulent and once you are disbursing the loan to that customer, you have a fair chance of getting the money back.
For that, we need to collect the data from as many sources as possible, we get the financial data of the customer directly from the sources. For example, we are getting the customer bank statement directly from the bank so earlier in the physical world whatused to happen was that the customer used to give the hard copy of the bank statement and there were chances of fraud. So we had to engage our fraud control department or external agencies to check the authenticity of the data, whereas now we are getting the ITR data, bank data and credit bureau score. All this financial data directly from the sources.
What are the challenges you faced during your digital journey so far?
Earlier our systems/applications were used by our employees only to process the loan application as all the information was submitted by customers in physical documents and we used to punch the data in the system. Now in the digital world, where all the stakeholders, be it, my customers, employees, third-party agencies, partners, are directly connected to my systems, to fetch or submit the data. So, security becomes a big concern as cyber security risks grow manifold. We have a dedicated information and security team, to make sure that we are protected from cybersecurity threats. We are ISO 27001 Certified, which means we have the best practices implemented and using advanced technologies in the information security field to secure our systems.
Since now our systems are open to the world we are being extra careful when it comes to security.
Three technologies which you feel are a must for any financial companies?
Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics and Robotic process automation (RPA) are the three major technologies.
Earlier, for an underwriter, it used to take hours to compile data and analyze it, to decide the creditworthiness of the customer. Now it is completely automatic.
Now we have implemented AI to underwrite the loan so all this data is sent to this engine and it generates the offer without any manual intervention. It has improved the turnaround time to disburse a loan from a couple of days to three minutes for a personal loan.
If you are not connecting to your customer in the physical world and you are taking your decision on the basis of the data you have collected you can’t do anything without AI and analytics that is given. About RPA, we didn’t have that bandwidth earlier but this year we are working on it.
There are certain use cases, we have identified in our system where we can implement RPA to improve the efficiency of our employees. For example, we are processing a hundred thousand applications per day, there are still some teams like operations, credit, and collections, where you can’t do everything 100 percent digitally and manual processing is involved in certain cases. So, now we need to implement RPA to get efficiency from these people otherwise they will become the bottleneck in the system or the cost would become very high to run these departments. As we are planning to increase our business manifold, we need to make sure that we get the highest efficiency by implementing technologies like RPA.
As all our processes are digital focused, and interactions between various stakeholders are happening digitally, we are generating huge data including customer related unstructured data in the process. We strongly feel that in today’s digital world, data is the most critical factor for your business success/growth. Data analytics is the core function of our business as all decisions, like refining the existing products, new product development, processes improvements, etc are data-driven. Traditional analytical tools are good for structured data but to monetize the unstructured data collected from social media and other alternative sources we need to implement solutions around big data in the next phase.
The Prime Minister has launched digital India during his last tenure. What are your expectations from Modi 2.0?
Digital India solution stack was the root of all the innovations did during the last 4-5 years, and we were the market disruptors by using these initiatives innovatively, started by the Government of India. E-sign facility, e-KYC facility, e-mandate, digital payments, etc. all are very important for us and for good customer experience. So I am expecting that the government will take these initiatives more aggressively this time to make true digital INDIA for inclusive growth of all sections of the society.
What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
We are getting into the insurance business life as well as general. Again our focus is to develop complete digital platforms for our customers, which should give them one of the best experiences to interact with We understand that in today’s digital world usage of technologies like AI, analytics, RPA, etc is given and we need to develop a culture of innovation in the organisation to get to the next level. We know we are competing with fin-tech companies and adopting the latest technologies are must, not only for your growth but even for survival.