The pandemic has sent Indian economy into a downward spiral following one of the world’s most strict lockdowns. As the Indian businesses restart gradually, the question on everyone’s mind is how long it will take for the Indian economy to recover. Addressing the question, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered PLC, Bill Winters opined:
“I think the economic recovery will be different from market to market. Some countries will recover faster, and some will be slower. While Chinese economy is recovering close to V-shape, India is somewhere in between. However, there is liquidity in the market. Some of the money has gone into savings and securities markets. But there is a reasonable strong consumer recovery.”
India’s firm resolve to curb the pandemic in the initial days, helped in limiting the number of cases considerably in the earlier months. But as soon as the curbs were lifted, the cases started rising drastically, although the mortality rates were very low. Expounding on this, Winters said:
“I’m concerned but also impressed by the resilience of Indians. I’m impressed by the low mortality rate… The quick response of the government will stand in good position in recovery. But the challenge the government faces now is how to get some of the businesses which aren’t in a position to face this.
We had very few losses in India related to the pandemic. Our clients in India are saying that it has been very tough, but they are confident of coming out of the difficulties. We are in touch with our clients and offering dispensation where we can… The early signs are encouraging. Consumer credit is back to pre-pandemic level and I am hopeful of recovery.”
Highlighting the major shifts in terms of technology and digitization that the financial sector is undergoing at the moment, Winters said that Standard Chartered had tripled its investments in digitalization of systems and services in the Asian region including Hong Kong, China, India and South Korea. The Asia focused bank is known to be working towards business expansion in the region.
Winters, who is currently in a month-long tour of South Korea, underlined the importance of digital technology in the financial sector and said that digital banking would become mainstream very soon and due to the digital advances the bank achieved in the recent years, today, it is poised to be in a winning position in the Asian market where the rate of digital adoption is exponentially high.
A fintech champion, Winters spoke about considering expanding to sectors like retail loans that have become safer due to the expanded digital reach. He also showed interest in extending a helping hand towards their Indian clients through unique fintech solutions.
To take a cue from the statements made by Winters, it appears India’s banking sector is hopeful of a swift economic recovery in India and are ready to assist Indian businesses within the parameters of reason. The financial sector itself is undergoing a major digital transformation creating a more resilient and agile financial infrastructure that is better equipped to cradle budding businesses as they get back in track restoring the economy.