In the FY 20-21, Q1 results announcement, Axis Bank stressed on the importance of the digital prowess of a company to be one of the major determinants to ride the tough times to come.
There are three pillars of Axis Bank’s digital strategy. Digitalisation of services is the first pillar. It essentially means, designing services from a digital first perspective, to give it an ‘over the counter’ spin, thereby modernising the customer experience, by getting past the typical branch experience, which is fractured in nature, wherein a product / service gets fulfilled over a period of time and not as a whole. In one shot. “This is where a lot of our efforts are focussed and progress has been made in this front,” informs Sameer Shetty, Head, Digital Business And Transformation (DBAT), Axis Bank.
The banking products and services are commoditised and thus the way they are delivered, serviced and fulfilled is what differentiates one bank from the other. Axis bank has come up with a digitalised savings bank account, which does not require the wait period of a few days for the customer to wait for the debit card to be delivered. On the contrary, as soon as the account is opened, it is immediately operational with instruments like a virtual debit card. Over and above the mobile app and internet banking services, which are readily available. The customer can buy mutual funds, insurance policies, etc right from the word ‘go’.
Moreover on the digitalisation side, the bank is working on several products both in the areas of liabilities and loans. There are several digital first products being worked upon for the SME sector too.
According to the latest Q1, 2021 results, fifty percent of the mutual fund sales have all happened digitally i.e they are directly sold through the digital mediums without any manual intervention.
The bank is working on advanced options for the customers to experience financial products and services from how it is done currently. For e.g, “a platform that pools various financial products together. It will congregate multiple investment options like gold, FD, debt, PPF, etc,” says Shetty. Any investor as a best practice would like to not keep all his eggs in one basket but diversify his investments in various asset classes and this platform enables exactly that. However, currently, at most financial organisations, the said products are not available over a single platform.
The efforts are also being aimed at stitching customer experiences in terms of two separate buying instances, which can be converted into one single seamless experience. For e.g. buying a car from a showroom and then issuing for a car loan; buying experiences tied with borrowing experiences on ecommerce sites without the need for the customer to switch websites or applications.
Digital products now contribute a significant proportion of the Bank’s sales with 78% of SA, 75% of FDs, 65% of PLs, 51% of credit cards, and 48% of new MFs in Q1 sourced digitally. During the quarter more than 2.12 lakh digital savings accounts were opened. “We have launched a video KYC based ‘Full Power Digital Savings Account’ that can be opened instantly and provides access to 250 + services online. Onboarding for the full suite of banking products leveraging Video KYC will be launched in a phased manner over the year,” the bank said. This quarter also saw the introduction of a number of digital products offering new investment, loans and insurance options for customers. The Digital Collections infrastructure and capabilities were also ramped up.
On the payments side, there are a few innovations under way. “Axis Bank is running a pilot for merchants to convert their mobiles into a PoS machine and do away with the machine altogether,” says Shetty. Secondly, the bank is working on combining the payment, lending and liability account. A three in one facility. It’s important to note that Axis bank ranks as one of the top three banks in the payment category.
Axis Bank continues to maintain a strong position in the digital payments space. “We are now the second largest remitter & PSP bank in the UPI ecosystem and the second largest remitter bank in the IMPS ecosystem. In credit cards, the monthly spends have reverted to 75% of pre-Covid average spends,” The bank said.
Axis Bank: Team Digital
The bank has hired over 100 executives in the team and about 80 percent are from non banking backgrounds. The in house tech team of coders are hired from the startup ecosystem. The design team members hail from as diverse a background as animation, design firms, etc. They design the customer interfaces and journeys, which are more design thinking based. They essentially make transactions easy to fulfill.