Digital initiatives are gradually enabling banks to close-in on the customer digital-divide as well as establishing a more sustainable banking ecosystem.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Digital initiatives are gradually enabling banks to close-in on the customer digital-divide as well as establishing a more sustainable banking ecosystem.

When it comes to fintech, banks and financial institutions are expanding their capabilities to fulfil the growing population’s immediate needs. Several banks have been able to contact all of their clients in a smooth manner while minimising disruptions in the delivery of products and services thanks to innovative digital initiatives.

With the ever-evolving banking ecosystem, the financial inclusion of all unbanked and underbanked people does not seem so far away. Pankaj Gulati, Chief Marketing Officer of Fincare Small Finance Bank, discusses the many technologies and applications that have assisted in catering to a larger network. He also sheds light on the niche digital initiatives that help close the digital consumer divide. 

How has the changing banking ecosystem with the advent of fintech affected your brand’s status quo?

Tech is enabling all businesses and it is clearly changing the paradigm of banking as well. Businesses across sectors are leveraging the COVID-induced shift to digital and Fincare Small Finance Bank is an early adopter of modern, cutting-edge tools and applications that enable people access banking in a seamless manner. The advent of fintech has in fact enhanced the brand since Brand Fincare already represented high-tech & high-touch friendly service provider and is clearly positioned to navigate the disruption very well.

[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Digital bet pay-off: From the onset, customers are atuned to a digital-first ecosystem, from front-end activities such as customer acquisition, credit decisioning, onboarding and servicing to back-end processes such as reconciliation, reporting etc.
Online media buzz: Social media has been an important tool for us to stay engaged with customer. It was convenient to use social media for brand building, customer education, retention and relationship deepening. The bank has launched several campaigns leveraging sms, e-mail, in-app notifications and social media to generate strong brand buzz.[/box]

What technologies have you adopted in the past 18 months? How has digitalization helped foster greater innovation for your products and services?

Fincare Small Finance Bank has made a strategic investment in technology and taken swift action to accelerate tech modernization during the pandemic. With a Digital-first DNA, we are targeting unbanked and underbanked consumers, in rural and semi-urban areas. Customers could take advantage of the latest banking services through banking outlets, ATM, WhatsApp, Mobile and Internet Banking and BOTs. The bank-improved digital engagement with its clients in numerous ways.

What challenges have you faced in recent times? How has it impacted your business model and brand strategies?

During the pandemic, being an essential service provider, the bank had the tough ask of ensuring continuity of banking services for its customers while following all guidelines and protocols to ensure safety of its people. Given the severe disruption of life and livelihood, the bank adopted a Mission-mode with task force at local, regional and national level to handle all contingencies. The bank also conducted COVID-awareness drives in rural centers to help contain the spread of the virus. The bank also whole-heartedly participated in COVID-relief activities. The bank made special efforts to provide food relief to lakhs of families across several states. During these trying times, the bank also conducted several financial and digital literacy camps to help rural customers adopt digital channels of banking.

Through these efforts, the bank was able to contribute to the accelerated adoption of digital in rural centers across India. Overall, the bank saw the increased use of digital channel by customers, higher customer loyalty and superior operating performance.

How do you expect your brand to evolve in the next few years?

The bank continues to enable financial inclusion of unbanked and underbanked customer segments across 19 states/UTs across India. The bank is building a tech-enabled ecosystem in order to make banking seamless and convenient for the masses. Customers can do banking using the mobile, in the language of their choice and in a self or assisted mode.

The bank is using both traditional and new-age mediums for communicating its brand purpose. At one level, the bank is engaged in high-touch marketing such as on-ground activation drives and events and on the other, it is creating high-tech engagement through social media and digital channels.

The brand is being built to create a long-term, sustainable brand persona of ‘smart, modern, accessible, convenient and friendly’ service provider. The association with Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, an epitome of smart, is yet another reflection of Brand Fincare.

pankaj gulati[author title=”In Conversation with : ” image=”http://”] Pankaj Gulati, Chief Marketing Officer at Fincare Small Finance Bank, a financial expert who has worked in the bank for over a decade.[/author]

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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