Crystal gazing the HR-aspect of businesses into the post-COVID future!

As the world reels under the COVID-19 pandemic, nations across the world are trying everything conceivable to contain the spread. World economies are already beginning to see the brunt of its effect on businesses. While the government has put some precautions in place, urging citizens not to travel unless urgent, practicing social distancing, working from home wherever possible, different industries and organisations have their unique challenges to deal with. Most companies have invoked their Business Continuity Plans, putting their best tech-foot forward/ However, the grim scenario of ‘whether my business can sustain this?’ is already looming large in front of many companies. Companies are doing their worst-case scenario planning, conserving cash, renegotiating agreements, curtailing headcount, reducing rentals, even invoking force majeure, all so as to ensure survival of their business.

Organisations, which are in the ‘essential service provider’ category, are tackling the immediate challenge of keeping their staff safe, ensuring facilities are functional, keeping their staff mobile and available amidst lockdown, essentially doing all they can to keep their services operational. The present pandemic is challenging organizations to re-think their ‘business-as-usual’ when it comes to people, facilities, customer acquisition and servicing, among other things.

In these challenging times, the HR element of a leader’s role is absolutely crucial in handling team morale and well-being, managing their productivity and keeping teams committed and together. Today, the HR aspect is no longer about only supporting from behind. During these unprecedented times, the HR role of leaders becomes even more significant and they are expected to respond quickly and comprehensively, considering immediate, short-term, and long-term consequences of the crisis.

  • Providing Protective Zone and establishing structured daily check-ins:

A key job of each leader is to keep the workforce engaged, involved, committed and focused towards the success and continuity of their business.  Especially in testing conditions such as these, Managers need to work harder to ensure that each team member acknowledges the challenge and remains motivated. Simultaneously, Managers, in coordination with HR, need to ensure all necessary help or measures are taken to ensure employee healthcare and well-being even while working remotely. Establishing daily calls with remote team members is important. It helps if the calls are regular and predictable, provide a forum for teams to consult with their Manager/HR, wherever required, and that their concerns and questions will be heard.

  • Managing Data security and Data Privacy:

While technology has developed and evolved significantly and enabling Work from Home is a possibility, concerns on end-point security, information protection in an obscure and uncontrolled workspace, is still a challenge and educating teams is a major responsibility of the teams as the onus lies on them to make it work.

  • Establishing Engagement Rules:

Remote work turns out to be increasingly proficient and fulfilling when the Manager sets expectations for the frequency, plan and means of communication with their teams. With the support of HR team, Managers need to ensure means of social interaction for their teams i.e have casual discussions about non-work topics, while working remotely. Also, due to a sudden shift to remote work, it is significant for managers to recognize stress, listen to team mates’ anxieties and concerns, and empathize with their struggles.

  • Collaborating humans and technology:

In the present circumstance, organizations need to deploy their best technology solutions to ensure such disruptors don’t impact work. Managers, in consultation with HR, need to comprehend what keeps people engaged, what drives a positive work environment, and what empowers a genuine convergence of human ability with technology. Teams, need to be prepared to experiment with new online tools to ensure their own productivity and connect.

  • Evolving HR policies:

In the long-term, organizations may witness a sharp shift in some HR policies, especially Work from Home. The current situation will prompt changes in the policy related to work from home by simultaneously ensuring business operations, productivity and continuity. Such policy will need to be crafted keeping the industry, the nature of role, culture and leadership perspective in mind. Most jobs, requiring high-touch or are high on info-sec risk are going to stay in office premises, whereas other jobs may be considered for temporary or rotational telecommuting i.e. work-from-home or work-from-remote, opportunities. Importantly, the focus will remain on creating a positive work environment while the employees are working from home. It is rightly said that the future of business is here, and it is now! ‘Change is the only constant’ and companies which will adapt will survive. ‘Planning ahead in order to sustain’ is what will be differentiator between resilient companies and the rest!

What App Banking – The new- age banking in trend!

Adoption of digital-first as a way of life in banking is now the official mantra of every banking institution across the world. It is the only shift that will bring in rewards, both in forms of customers and profits, in the new world order. It is now a proven means of new customer acquisition, and onboarding, enhancing customer experience and building long term loyalty.

Awareness first! Of course, if a potential customer is not acquainted with the product or service on offer, he/she will not suddenly sign up for a WhatsApp Banking service of the Bank. Today, more and more Institutions are putting their money in connecting with customers directly and connecting through their preferred channels. A serious attempt is being made to be part of the communication ecosystem of target customers, using ads, SEO, social media updates, and their own websites, all in order to build a direct relationship, as quick as possible.

In this foray, WhatsApp has become a platform of choice for banks serious about their digital play. And, is it just customer engagement that is the objective? Surely not! The platform offers much more to the smart player who understand and adopts this platform the right way. For WhatsApp Banking can offer real-time information about accounts, resolve basic and a few advanced banking queries and transactions as well. Smart, ain’t it?

WhatsApp is a dominant player in the personal, social and business networking world. A platform with security and reliability as the cornerstones. No wonder it has nearly 400 million users in India alone.

So, what can WhatsApp Banking do for you and how do I start using it?

The Bank offering this service, shall provide a WhatsApp number. It may be mentioned on the website, or communicated through their branch/sales teams. As a customer of the Bank, you can store this number in your mobile and then simply start using the available services. That simple!

(Note: the registered number must be used for giving the missed call for availing WhatsApp banking service).

Among other things, you can start receiving communication, such as details of ATM withdrawals or Point of Sale (POS) transactions.

Besides the basic alerts, you will also have an option to be able to communicate with the bank in normal language such as “What is my balance?” or “Order a cheque book” etc. Banks such as Fincare Small Finance bank allow two-way communication with replies to messages and offers banking services such as checking balance and mini statements through WhatsApp. Yes, so if you wondering if it is worth becoming a customer, it is sure worth checking this one out!

Pitfalls of WhatsApp Banking: Though the channel is heavily protected and safe with no known breach of data, there may be situations where a mobile phone is lost or stolen and if the WhatsApp channel is freely accessible, personal data, including banking data may get compromised. Of course, if you happen to confront such a situation, inform your bank at the earliest. Also, you have the option to deactivate your WhatsApp banking account and inform the provider.

Conclusion:

WhatsApp Banking rests with some other path breaking innovations that bode well about the future of banking. A WhatsApp Banking Bot which interacts in human language, that too multi-lingual, is one step ahead of the curve. This space is going to get more exciting in the future but the early movers will always have an advantage. Perhaps time to say goodbye to the branch visit and parking hassles – jump in to your favourite channel any time of the day and do all your transactions, hassle free!

Loan against property: The concept made easy!

Whether you are planning to send your child overseas for higher education or starting your own business unit or there is a wedding on the cards? the first thought that crosses your mind is about organizing the funds, right?

Yes, each one of us would like to pride ourselves with infinite energy and wherewithal to be the provider of the family, sometimes it is a struggle to carry the load alone. So, what are the options to go around? Borrowing from friends or relatives, a loan from the employer or taking a loan from either an informal moneylender or from a formal financial institution. The choice often depends on various factors such as strength of the relationship/personal equation, adequacy of terms and conditions of the arrangement, interest rate, ability to raise a grievance and taking care of the repayment in a stress-free manner, among other things. While there are numerous ways for arranging the funds, and in many cases, a combination of these options may be an optimum one, a comparison of the parameters as above may be required before taking a final decision.

Parameter | Source à Relative / Friend Loan from Employer Moneylender Loan against Property from Bank/FI
Type of arrangement Informal Partly Formal Partly Formal Formal
Strength of relationship High Medium Low-Medium Medium-High
Fairness of Terms & Conditions Low Low-Medium Low-Medium High
Transparency of Interest Rates/Fee Low Low Low High
Grievance Management Low Low Low High
Chances of Collateral Damage of relationship etc. Unpredictable – dependent on personal terms Unpredictable – dependent on personal terms Unpredictable – dependent on personal terms Predictable

While borrowing from an informal/partly formal source such as relative/friend or a moneylender relies heavily on the strength of the personal equation, it has a high potential for running into rough weather during tenure of the loan, often leading to loss of relationship, reputation and potentially legal tussles. On the other hand, a formal source such as a bank or a financial institution, usually tends to be transparent, consistent, and predictable. Such loans are easily available against assets such as Gold, shares, vehicle, immovable property, and receivables etc.

In this article we have listed down some important factors to help you appreciate the nuances and make a more informed choice!

What is a loan against Property?

A Loan against Property (LAP) is a credit provided against the mortgage of a property, both residential and commercial. The loan is given as a specific percentage of the estimated market worth of the property and is known as Loan to Value Ratio (LTV). Loan against Property is categorised as a secured loan from the Lender’s perspective, whereby the borrower offers the property as a security through formal, legal documentation.

What are the most common purposes for loan against property?

Some of the reasons include:

  • Expansion of business
  • Marriage
  • Higher Education
  • Medical treatment

What type of properties that can be mortgaged?

Generally, one can take a loan against self-occupied or leased private residential property. This could be a house or even a piece of land.

Understanding the eligibility criteria!

This criteria will vary from bank to bank. In general, the common criteria that all banks seek are as follows:

  • Income, savings, debt obligations
  • Cost/value of the property
  • Credit Score/History, Payment Track Record of other loans, etc.

What are the interest rates and tenure for repayment offered for a loan against property?

Depending on the type/location of property, legal title, borrower profile, credit history, income, etc, Interest rates on loan against property range from 12 per cent to 30 per cent, and the loan tenure can vary from 5 years upwards and may extend up to 25 years.

Required Documentation

Banks and financial institutions normally require the below mentioned documents, although the list can vary from bank to bank:

Documents Salaried Self Employed Professionals Self Employed Businessman
Application form
Photograph
Identity Proof
Residential Proof
Income proof
Other important documents
Processing fee cheque
Bank Statement
Other important documents Salaried Self Employed Professionals Self Employed Businessman
Income Proof Form 16 Last 3 years Income Tax returns (self and business) and Last 3 years Profit /Loss and Balance Sheet Business profile and Last 3 years Profit /Loss and Balance Sheet
Other important documents Latest Salary-slips Education Qualifications Certificate and Proof of business existence Education Qualifications Certificate and Proof of business existence

(Source: Bankbazar.com)

A Loan against Property is among the most optimum approaches to raise funds. While it has advantages in that it is a transparent product with predictable terms and conditions, the key downside of such a loan is, that in case of default, the bank or the financial institution may claim the mortgaged property or take further legal action. However, banks and FIs are required to do so within a regulatory framework.

Make a decision based on repayment capabilities, because “It’s all about You”!

Fincare Small Finance Bank, a new-age digital bank, and offers a refreshing Loan against Property product giving you the power of choice.

With minimal documentation, competitive interest rates, easy repayments, quick processing, and excellent customer service, you receive crafted solutions which are designed keeping your pre-requisites in mind.

Connect with us on 1800 313 313 to know more about our suite of customer-friendly products and services.

Financial Institutions & the Digital Leap

In a VUCA world, innovation is pushing the standards of customer satisfaction and delight higher and higher. Across the world, a wide array of cutting-edge, digitally enabled services and features are being developed on the double and with good effect. So, whether it is consumer-tech, food-tech, ed-tech or fin-tech, there are enough and more digital developments for all to see. Consumers have more choice, more convenience, more experience and in a nutshell, ready for more!

There is a particular interest in the space of fin-tech, given that it involves the fuel for all other domains i.e. money. The demand for innovation and digital push in this space is immense, forcing the current players to respond at speed and inviting many more players into play. The need for banks to enhance their digital capabilities is even more urgent with the emergence of new entrants and services from the “fintech” and technology players, who are disrupting and unbundling the core business of accepting deposits and providing loans in many ways and thus reshaping the current business model.

To embark on the opportunity, banks are undertaking a digitization journey, one that is different from the path of one-off, isolated digitization or automation projects such as big data projects, individual apps, online and mobile channel upgradation. Today, banks are going the path of ‘omni-channel seamless experience’ changing the ways in which they interact with customers, offering a wider range of banking channels and exercising greater control over the interaction itself. Banks are also providing customers with value-added, digitally enabled services like instant credit decisioning of loans and the ability to open accounts online, quickly, in the comfort of the home. Many institutions have made significant strides in upgrading and integrating their back-end systems, often a more complex challenge.

Empowering Transformation

A few banks, for instance, have started to set up multidimensional data management capabilities, reinforcing their capacity to leverage big data, not only to meet regulatory prerequisites, but also to ensure timely and accurate internal reporting for decision making. Institutions are also adopting agile ways of working, deploying constant programming software and DevOps to improve performance.

Some banks with digital-first approach are additionally exploring new and evolving technologies, such as robotics process automation and self-learning machines, which together have the potential to deliver step changes in speed, accuracy, and efficiency. Overhauling the digital capabilities promises to have a transformative effect on the business model of these banks and financial institutions.

A Shift from legacy to new technologies!

Financial institutions are additionally supplanting their legacy applications with new technology in order to empower straight-through processing. Banks can gain tremendous benefits by decommissioning a few applications —for instance, replacing mainframe hardware and software with a fully automated cloud server.

Data Management

A reliable perspective on the organization’s data—implying that all information identified with a particular service, customer or other business-related product or process, pertinent data from third-party providers, is stored together in a steady way—is a foundation for most digital applications.

Most Banks are attempting to revamp their data management practices and provide a digital-ready data framework. Several banks are also considering the utilization of data lakes to facilitate data storage and the examination of unstructured data.

Making the Right Moves

Digital transformation can be an exciting journey as well as an extremely rewarding one commercially. It is essential to design rapidly, a rough target architecture from the top down, spanning applications, infrastructure, and data.

What does it take? Being agile in planning, applying rigorous program management in order to achieve progress, making automation of delivery process a top priority, building a DevOps teams, besides training the existing team and infusing more digital talent are the asks. Simple! Will be back with perspective on other topics soon.

Tips to ensure employee productivity during work from home

The spurt of the Coronavirus pandemic or the N Covid in India in the last fortnight has led many companies to adapt work from home as a workable solution. Though not a novel concept globally, closer to home, remote working or location-independent working still remains a western concept – especially for organizations where using desktop is still the norm.  

While managing efficiency and productivity in this situation can feel like a task, a few simple tips help with a smooth transitioning to a virtual workspace.  

Implement systems and sophisticated technology: Adopt the latest and most accessible software to facilitate smooth functioning of the virtual office. Tools like Microsoft office, Skype, Microsoft TEAMS and Google sheets are useful programs to communicate with their teams and conduct meetings and daily discussions. 

Set deadlines and conduct regular team meetings: Maintain a system of conducting a team meeting or a one-on-one interaction with each team member and their task list either by email, call or video conference. Help the team be in touch with each other and inculcate a feeling of responsibility within the team. 

Keep a remote IT/ technical help team on standby: When employees are in an office, any technical error in their systems can be troubleshot with one dial to the IT help desk. However, in a remote working set up network issues are bound to happen which can hamper employee productivity and deliverables. Make sure there is a dedicated IT team on call which can solve network issues remotely or guide employees in case of any system related issues.

Treat work from home and remote working as a regular workday: Last but not the least, trust your teams. Have faith that employees are getting work done even if their leaders cannot actually see them working. Treat work from home as a normal working day only that instructions are delivered on call or video conference rather than face to face. Help create a comfortable culture amongst the team and ease panic and stress, if any.  The need of an hour is to automate the functional side and take a proactive role in steering the ethical practice of a company.

Build Your Resilience amid the tough times.

As the spread of Covid-19 rules the world news, we, as human beings, are witnessing stress in our physical, as well as mental and emotional well-being. Emotions abound, ranging from ennui (world weariness), anxiety, depression, sadness, fear and many more, as clouds of uncertainty and chaos is wearing many of us down.

The new routines of life such as remote working, social distancing, self-confinement, is affecting all of us in various ways.

Dealing with it:

Our mind has a natural tendency to get distracted, even without any bad or worrisome news. Research shows that as the mind meanders, it gets caught in different patterns of thoughts and negative reasoning. During times of emergency or crisis— such as those we are living through now— this pattern is exaggerated, and the mind tends to get significantly hooked in chains of obsessive thinking and a feelings of helplessness. So, acknowledge it as given is the first step to dealing with it.

Building it up!

Having understood our own mind, the next is observing our natural response mechanism. Remember the mantra ‘to each is own’. Yes, it is a different process for everyone, and what works for one individual may not work for another! What’s important? each one of us has an in-built natural emotional and psychological response mechanism for emergencies and crises. So, observe your natural response before you modify or adapt your response, which is a vital second step.

Cutting the Clutter!

Resilience is the ability to notice our own thoughts, unfastening from the non-constructive ones, and rebalancing quickly. This skill can be nurtured and trained. At the point when you focus on calming and clearing your brain, you can focus on what is truly going on around you and what is coming up within you. You can watch and deal with your thoughts and get a hold of them when they begin to flee towards doomsday scenarios. Train/adapt your thoughts, is the third and the key step to take while handling it like a pro.

Remember, Resilience is not an inborne trait – it can be learned by anyone, and mastered with time and effort.

Building resilience can be a tough process. Here are some tips for reinforcing your resilience to difficult times in life:

  • Maintain good relationships with your family and friends and accept their assistance during stressful situations. Additionally, engaging in hobbies/activities that you enjoy, may help relieve the stress and provide you with the much-needed support.
  • Look at the big picture of life and abstain from viewing difficult times as an impossible scenario. Take small steps toward your goals and take one day at a time.
  • Look out the window – Fear and uncertainty can prompt overreactions. It always feels better by accomplishing something … anything … as opposed to sitting with awkward feelings. Invest energy in looking out of the window and reflecting. Doing as such, will assist you with being ready to discover more clear answers about how best to move forward, both personally as well as professionally.
  • Accept that change is a part of life and come to terms with circumstances that you cannot change. Keep a positive perspective on self and your ability to solve problems by and visualizing what you need.
  • Take care of yourself! Get enough food, sleep, and exercise to keep yourself healthy. This is particularly significant amid the stressful times.
  • Seek professional assistance in the off-chance where you get the feeling that the circumstance is unreasonably difficult for you to deal with all alone. A licensed mental health professional, counsellor or psychologist, can assist you build resilience for moving ahead in your life.

At Fincare Small Finance Bank, we are focussed on providing a resilient culture and ecosystem for people. Crisis, are part and parcel of life and business, and we remain focussed on building a sustainable future for all our stakeholders. Our firm belief is “tough times don’t last, tough teams do!”.

Video KYC – A Knight in shining Armour amidst Lockdown

KYC has been a thistle by the side of the financial industry, especially since the Supreme Court’s bar on Aadhaar e-enabled eKYC. The most recent RBI norms gives the industry an earnest need of Digital KYC, which makes the procedure paperless, and video KYC, which furthermore makes it remote.

In this blog, we attempt to list down everything that you should know about Video KYC, the advantages of the new norms, the innovation they enable and, the next steps in this journey.

How does it work?

In the video KYC process, the details are captured using an encrypted audio- visual encounter, which comes from the registered entity’s domain, such as a bank-issued smartphone application.

All through the procedure, equivalent e-documents can be utilized, be it PAN card (which must be given in all cases) and any business/financial reports that are recommended.

Going paperless and remote for customer KYC

One of the immediate benefits of a paperless form of KYC is the decreased cost. Video KYC provides an additional advantage of being totally remote since digital KYC still requires a visit either to the customer’s doorstep or a touch point. Additionally, Video KYC does not require signatures. Video KYC offers a significant benefit for accomplishing scale, which has become a pivotal factor amid the current situation of lockdown, and also for financial inclusion, since it provides a cost-effective and practical method of achieving compliance, even in remote locations.

Bring on the innovation

A few fintech organizations have acquired new-age advanced identity and authentication technologies, which use artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud-based API innovation, for KYC compliance. As of now, some of these are deployed for use in various sectors and is quite similar to the use of video KYC for opening mutual fund account.

The acquisition of such technology has potential to introduce new use cases in future, s.a. authentication technology for financial transactions, such as at bank branches, for ATM services etc.

Cost effective options

Performing a video-based KYC is cost-effective and saves time for organizations. Your banker can guide you through some steps to perform a video KYC, the verification can be completed immediately, and upon completion, the banker can give a confirmation immediately just to close loop the process.

Worth a mention

For this process, both the client and the organization’s representative need to be present simultaneously. The client need to have provided consent before-hand for commencement of the KYC process. The Aadhar number must be concealed or masked. A clear PAN card image and PAN credentials must be verified from the government database.

That’s it on this topic. Video KYC based 101 account of Fincare Small Finance Bank can be opened via the link : https://101.fincarebank.com/101/

Avoid bank frauds amidst Covid-19

As Covid-19 pandemic expands its global footprint, the ongoing lock down has spooked most of us and instigated panic reaction in some aspects of our lives. The e-commerce industry has seen an unexpected and sudden spurt in online ordering specially to stock up staple goods, medications and other essential items.

While we all understand that the ongoing lockdown is necessary in order to contain the spread of infection, people are left with no choice but to rely on the available online payment platforms for their purchases. Banks and fin techs are constantly encouraging people to use their digital channels such net banking, mobile banking, WhatsApp banking and other app-based banking services.

The rapid increment in online transactions, has exposed consumers to the cybercrime where data privacy could be compromised and susceptible to frauds.

So, the one segment of netizens for whom panic usually means brisk business are cyber-crooks. Unlike an actual thief, an online fraudster is a faceless enemy, identified only by an IP address, and thus almost impossible to track, leave alone apprehend.  These cyber-criminals are most benefitted by an outbreak as it helps them carry out their nefarious activities using a variety of innovative means such as spam campaigns revolving around online transactions. In the current environment, there are packs of malicious webpages and links waiting to trap users by invading their devices and steal personal and financial information.

It is imperative that we remain alert and keep our hard-earned money from falling prey to such fraudsters.

Here is a quick checklist for precautions while making online transactions:

Before the transaction:

  • The cardinal rule is to use a credit not a debit card for online payments. Credit cards come with better consumer protection features and payments can be disputed without any immediate debit from the account.
  • Make payments only on web pages that start with ‘https:’ and not ‘http:”. The ‘s’ stands for secured socket layer and provides an extra level of encryption to your transaction.
  • Thirdly, always access your bank account and make transactions from a secured network or Wi-Fi. Avoid public spaces and open Wi-Fi connections.

During the transaction:

  • Ensure the system from which a transaction is made is secured with a reputed anti – virus software or has a procedure to avoid any kind of viruses or fraudulent transactions that may result in online theft.
  • Websites sometimes ask users if they would like to save their card details for future use, and a prudent consumer would not accept such a condition as it exposes personal information to a potential hacking threat.

After transaction precautions:

  • In case you are using a shared network or system, delete all history and cookies from the device so that no passwords, numbers or any personal details are saved.

What if things go wrong?

Banks and payments partners today are lining up billions of rupees and taking innumerable steps in deploying cutting edge technology, to ensure that user data and personal information is protected in every way possible. However, even then there is some likelihood of a smart hacker managing to cut through the system.

Steps to be taken in such an event:

  • Call your bank and block the card in question immediately. This way you can notify them of any fraud in time and have a fair chance of recovering all/part of the lost amount.
  • In case the fraudulent transaction has happened through net banking or a payment app, file a written complaint with the bank along with all the necessary proof of the transaction.
  • Promptly file a police complaint with the local police station. In case of a cyber-fraud, approaching the cyber cell is NOT mandatory.
  • As per RBI rules, resolutions for fraudulent transactions is required to be done within 90 days and banks must reverse the appropriate stolen money to the customer’s bank account.

Lastly, with advances in technology, cometh the pain of keeping up with it. Today, companies are introducing new features, ranging from lucrative discounts and offers to Wi-Fi cards and Near Field Communication (NFC) feature. While these may appeal to the deal-hunter in you, do exercise caution in using these features and make sure that these sites are 100% secure and as far away as possible from the prying eye of a net-criminal.

Is there really a solution for India’s struggle with financial inclusion?

At heart, Financial Inclusion is a very novel idea. Giving access to banking facilities and services to help uplift the masses and keep away from poverty. However, despite the obvious benefits and huge technological advances, around 2 billion people across the world remain unserved by formal banking ecosystem (World Economic Forum report, 2014). However, hurdles remain. Among the issues, levels of financial literacy, lack of formal documentation, reliability of the existing platform and affordability, social and infrastructure reach and coverage are some reasons for this lag. In recent years, there is significant progress in addressing these and both the Government and private sector are creating the infrastructure and reach.

There’s a lot to observe in India’s push for Financial Inclusion, however a meaningful financial inclusion goes beyond a simple bank account, verification of ID, and a cell phone. The absence of basic education keeps the rural masses ignorant about the services as well as their rights and responsibilities. This poses a challenge in adoption of technology as well. It is heartening that the Fintech landscape seems to be readying for this. In this jigsaw, localization and venularization hold the key.

The Language Barrier

There is a need to simplify the terms and jargon used by bankers, Financial Planners, Mutual Fund distributors. Technical speak such as Exit Load, NAV, paid up value, AMB etc leave the non-savvy customers rattled and keeps them away from availing these facilities. This also leads to dependency on the intermediary and possibility of being mis-informed or mis-guided. Various regulatory bodies are pushing the players in their respective domains to up the vernacular quotient and this has resulted in increase in the savings, insurance and investment base in the country.

The reality is that those not comfortable with English as a language, have an uphill battle in understanding financial jargon and face difficulties in performing basic transactions on their own. The policy makers need to step in and make efforts to bridge the gap. According to media reports, Kannada Development Authority (KDA) solicited the regional heads of all nationalized, rural and scheduled banks and asked them to make Kannada language mandatory for all staff.(*Source: Business Standard)

The scenario for internet usage is not very different. A joint report by KPMG and Google “Indian Languages – Defining India’s Internet,” stated that the total share of Indian language-based internet users accessing digital payments is expected to increase from 28% to 43% by 2021. This means that that the current English-only platforms will be inadequate to cater to these users, there is an urgent need for vernacular Fintech platforms. (*Source: Business Standard)

The need of the hour is to tide the language barrier in order to make financial inclusion a reality.Many successful attempts exist today in the domain of shopping, entertainment etc. While efforts have been made in the financial domain as well, there is still a large gap. By offering services in vernacular, these platforms will build a huge connect with the Bharat and contribute to a true financial inclusion revolution.

Fincare Small Finance Bank Ltd – a Scheduled Commercial Bank, offers services such as cash denomination of choice at all ATMs, UPI-enabled transactions, WhatsApp banking, mobile banking in 11 languages, ATM and Toll-Free Call Center in 7 languages, Internet Banking in two language options viz. English and Hindi. All these services are aimed at providing a ‘Smart’ banking experience to customers and fostering true financial inclusion in India.

Digitization in Banking – All About Customer experience and engagement

Introduction:

Digitization is forcing organizations to re-design their business models and adapt to the new paradigms. The most interesting fact about this is, that this shift is being driven by customer experience.

The DNA of Customer-centricity

Today, CX drives SX – that’s “Customer Centricity driving Strategy” for the uninitiated!

In the more recent times, customer preference has found a new expression – the digital channel! So, right from the choice of device, choice of channel, the type of operating system, the navigation pattern, the buttons clicked or not clicked, the type of transactions done or not done, the offer checked or dropped, transactions that went through or did not etc. reveals more about the customer needs, wants and preferences at the specific point in time and context, than your average customer service manager possibly could.

Businesses are clinging onto digital channels to ‘understand’ their customers from a whole new dimension and be able to deliver a banking experience, customized for each customer.

It is no coincidence that putting the customer first is already the tour de force of many an organizations’ journey to success.

The Banking Transformation!

Banking is changing rapidly, and so are the customers. A digital element is providing enormous opportunities for improving efficiency, enhancing experience and optimizing processes, thereby delivering convenience along with access, safety and speed.

Many the world’s biggest financial institutions have embraced technology and are continuously innovating in order to get ‘closer’ to the customers.

Rapid technological advances, availability round-the-clock, and digitalization is revolutionizing customer experience and guiding buying behaviour. Banks are racing to introduce further innovation in customer engagement through social media, customized apps, cross-channel partnerships and what not. Most of the banks today consider them as a fintech with a banking license and why not? With Digital and technology at the core of their products and offerings, omni-channel experience, these institutions are going after a larger share of the customer’s wallet. Good news for the customer? Most certainly! In return, customers can expect absolutely bespoke offerings, doorstep/self-service, a wider choice of products, lower cost of acquisition, offers and rewards, and an experience as cathartic and at par with shopping.

The challenge

A key challenge for banks is dealing with the levels of digital literacy and experience in handling financial transactions through digital channels. However, this is changing fast as our digital ecosystem is evolving. As per reports, in Q3 FY-20, the total volume of UPI transactions was 2.7 Billion and in terms of value, UPI clocked INR 4.6 Trillion, up 189% from Q3 FY 2019.

Capgemini’s World Retail Banking Report 2018 found that majority of the banks still need to improve customers experience and sharpen their capacity to remain relevant. Most Banks understand that and are making a significant investment in many areas of digital, including User Experience (UX) of their applications to make them more intuitive and easier to navigate.

The significance of digital channels rises significantly when it comes to Gen-Y and tech-savvy customers. Banks need to understand that customers expect a simple and seamless digital experience and, if banks fail to provide it, they may well lose these customers to a digital disruptor. Albeit, banks are moving from brick-and-mortar to digital, a branch/brick and mortar unit remains a necessary evil – firstly, as a point of contact when required and secondly, as a representation of being trustworthy and not a fly-by-night operator!

Banks should focus on the right physical and digital mix

Improving the customer journey and investing in technology

The way in which banks build and maintain customer relationships is evolving. With the current wave of digital disruption, with competition not only from banks but other service providers, banks need to adapt to the changes rapidly and build an internal culture of ‘making banking smarter through customer engagement and experience’.

Trust, technology and transparency are levers available to a service provider in order to build a lifetime of customer relationship.

In the technology domain, Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics are powering banks to understand clients better, there are Chatbots that are aiding in customer support and handling transactions, money transfer, suggestions on products and services.

Of course, technology is an enabler and banks still need to apply technology, all it can, in order to deliver a befitting value proposition to its customers. Money can buy the technology but having a satisfied and repeat customer takes much more!

Conclusion In the future, ‘Banks’ will go fast but ‘Banking’ will, ahem, grow-fast! The financial services sector, especially banking, has a phenomenal opportunity to redefine banking and build a lifetime of customer relationships over the lifecycle of customer needs! Digital is a transformative way of banking and banks need to adapt and adopt digital or be left out of the circle of relevance of the customer in the future.