Smita Bhagat, Country Head, Government & Institutional Business, E-Commerce & Startups, HDFC Bank Limited, believes that technology is imperative for modern day banking. An accomplished banker in all respect, “Do not quit,” is what she says as she moves on to pick up her first and most directed advice for working women folks and then nails at some more including, “it is important to be very honest with your parents, children, in-laws and others who are help to you at your domestic chores, explain them your position and stance, if you do this it is unlikely that they wouldn’t appreciate.”
“There are innumerable women who leave their jobs in their middle age as that comes across to them as the most challenging period. During this time the children are growing up and needs attention and parents are gaining age. Thus, the responsibilities increases manifold and its here where I always tell that it is important to build an supporting ecosystem around which unmistakably includes domestic help as well.
HDFC has tied up with the Government of India which has more than 3.5 lakh Common Service Centres. “Now, our entire integration with them to source banking products is on APIs. We have integrated our APIs with CSCs technology platform and loan sourcing is on Fintech APIs, some of the loans are sourced as lead API and some are sourced as complete end-to-end happens,” she informs.
“Today, if we do not use tech we cannot reach out to such a large network in the country. Thus in 25 years we have established more than 5300 branches and we will have 25000 BCs (banking correspondents) by another three to four months,” she states, adding, “Now with such a large network we won’t be able to be connected without technology. In bank, we use AI, data analytics and other technologies depending on the segment it is directed to. 35 per cent of our unsecured loans happen in 10 seconds basis flow based credits and we are not dependent on only one technology.”
HDFC’s information portal offers information related to tuition or fee payments. It also helps in finding the right teachers and right classes, etc. It has also developed standard solutions to offer value added services basis the feedback from the customers.
“Our tech team including the BTG Team and ISG Team works with several startups depending on the customer requirements. For instance, we engage with agri-tech startups for working in agricultural space and with Human Resource (HR) startups for developing solutions in the HR space. We work with startups in collection space also for collections and this has proved to be very useful because we have seen that many customers are not willful defaulters but they forget to make timely payments, thus we use technology to assist them and avoid such concerns. Whether it is the MSME segment or the payments section, all of them are customised. Tech can only benefit if you customise basis customer requirements,” she stresses.
“If our country has to grow we need to reach out to the rural areas,” asserts Bhagat. “For this mission too, we have tied up with various startups and Common Service Centers (CSC). Today, if someone starts doing regular banking we will be in position to give better credit and allow these consumers to do better business. Tech also helps us to extend value added services to these consumers in non-urban locations. I believe tech is helping in areas where physical banking is not as dominant. If banks leverage this opportunity it will help the entire country,” she informs.
Are rural people aware of banking with the use of tech?
“I was in Manipur sometime back and travelled to Thopal (an interior village in Manipur) where I interacted with several Village Level Entepreneurs, to my amusement I found them to be as aware as anyone in the A-class cities. Today knowledge is available everywhere. There are around 70 – 75 per cent CSCs in the rural areas and people there are learning through YouTube. Today the shift is largely towards e-learning,” she concludes.
An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you should publish more
about this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but usually folks don’t speak
about such issues. To the next! Cheers!!