India’s financial system’s resilience has been a key factor in supporting its superior macro outlook at a time when storm clouds gather over the global economy. In its annual report on trends and progress in banking, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) noted that it is the resilience of the banking system that has enabled it to achieve healthy balance sheet growth on a broad-based acceleration in credit.
Indian banks are future proofing their businesses by embracing digital technologies, such as cloud, to improve their products and services further, revolutionizing day-to-day banking for their consumers.
At Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector bank, digital leadership and technological driven transformation are key pillars of their growth, profitability and sustainability (GPS) strategy. In an exclusive interview with IANS, Sameer Shetty, President and Head of Digital Business and Transformation, Axis Bank spoke about the bank’s relentless focus on making Axis digital.
Shetty noted that the bank is continually investing in technological capabilities to deliver on their transformation plans and fostering in a culture of innovation.
For example, Axis Bank kicked off a two-day hackathon titled “Bankathon 2.0 – Open to Possibilities”, on January 20th in Mumbai in partnership with Amazon Web Services to give builders a platform to develop and demonstrate the working prototype of their transformational ideas which have the potential to disrupt the banking industry.
“Purpose of this hackathon is to identify the talent and engage with them for co-learning and co-creating technology and business applications in a collaborative and fun way. We have identified themes such as Super App, Lending, Introduce & scale new digital customer facing propositions, new age technologies, Fraud Management, etc.”, said Shetty.
“We leverage mechanisms like Amazon’s Working Backwards’ approach in our Bankathons to focus on the customer while leveraging digital technology to build solutions”, said Shetty.
In fact, in the previous edition of this two-day mega event which was also conducted in partnership with AWS, some highly innovative solutions emerged according to Shetty. For instance, ‘My Money-Personal Finance Manager’, the first version of which was designed by Axis Bank’s in-house design team, is already live on their mobile app.
“Such services are helping us derive valuable insights and guide our customers in better managing and analyzing their investments and spends, credit score-dropping or improving, etc.”, said Shetty
Axis is working on more that 30 initiatives to execute its digital strategy.
“The OPEN philosophy underpins everything we do,” said Shetty
“O: 0-based redesign; customer centric, design led and 0-operations; P: Proprietary in-house capabilities; E: Ecosystems capable; built for all Axis and partner channels & N: Numbers (impact led and metrics driven)”, emphasized Shetty.
With digital lending being pegged as a USD$1.3TN market opportunity by 2030 in India, Axis’s vision is to underwrite every Indian: whether known to bank customers or new to bank customers.
“If any citizen of India comes to us, we should be able make an offer. Some may not have a good credit score. We are building an alternate scoring model. For Digital Lending you can think of purpose specific lending where you need new age Loan Management System to handle Small ticket, small tenor, limit/loan, multiple interest rate/fee structures, 100% digital journeys – no manual intervention”, said Shetty.
When it comes to the bank’s new age loan management systems, buy now pay later (BNPL) products, underwriting capabilities and onboarding facilities such as KYC vital for a seamless customer acquisition—Axis leverages the power of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud computing arm to build, scale and innovate.
“AWS is one of our preferred cloud providers to help us build digital products & services, and reimagine customer experience. We started our journey with AWS in January 2020. It’s a partnership which has benefitted us immensely. AWS has also partnered with us on training and skilling initiatives and collaborated with us on bankathons”, said Shetty
“We believe in a cloud-first approach. Earlier we used to ask ourselves: why cloud? Today, for all new initiatives, we say: why not the Cloud?”, added Shetty.
‘Jarvis’, Axis Bank’s in-house, cloud native and API oriented lending platform has been built on AWS.
Axis’s Buy Now Pay Later product, built on AWS, clearly demonstrates their OPEN principles in practice according to Shetty. The instant onboarding, decisioning & activation – all in 3 steps in less than 3 minutes is also available for new-to-Bank customers. The BNPL product was launched on the Bank’s proprietary Jarvis loan management platform built in partnership with Freecharge (can be plugged in other platforms too).
“We have 1 Million daily active Credit Card users. The Credit Card application is handling 90-95 million API requests at the peak. Nearly 65% of services are digitally serviceable which are all hosted on AWS.” Said Shetty. Presently, Axis mobile banking app has a 4.8 rating, and is the highest ranked banking app on Apple Store and Google Play Store, offering more than 250 do it yourself (DIY) services, a testament to its customer centric culture.