Has the digital wave truly surged the aspirations of financial services?
Digitalization has delivered the adequate impulse for the Indian Banking Story to turn a corner. The marriage of progressive digital constructs with legacy business models and services architectures has allowed financial institutions to innovate faster, explore deeper, and transform to scale with high reliability. The development has provided the means to convert revolutionary proof of concepts into sustainable revenue streams, allowing lenders to redefine their tactical and strategic postures. But has the digitalization of Indian banking been able to percolate its benefits to the country’s socioeconomic rock bottom, empowering the service operators and consumers alike?
A prolific and pervasive appification of financial services has been the hallmark of Banking 4.0 in India, adding speed, orderability, and ubiquitous access to the equation.
The landscape indeed appears conducive, considering the nation’s burgeoning mobile user base and unprecedented internet penetration. However, on the flip side, the financial literacy in India hovers around 24%, with only 10% of its population digitally competent. Moreover, the country also scores abysmally in cyber hygiene. Apparently, fundamental challenges persist in driving the financial inclusion mission objectives based solely on continuously pushing down digital tools to the consumer’s end.
Branch level operations: the epicenter of services delivery
In India, amidst its geographic and cultural diversities, branch offices have traditionally played an overarching role in the financial services ecosystem for lenders across the public and private sectors. Apart from driving volumes, branchbased transactions instill the demanded magnitude of trust, loyalty, and customer confidence, indispensable for all-weather business relations to thrive. Nevertheless, much of the country’s branch operations trajectory is hamstrung by a host of inadequacies. It ranges from inherently paper-based processes that are iterative, time-consuming, and fragmented, decentralized verification task loads requiring repeated collaboration with third parties, lack of communication between stakeholders, to limited visibility into workflows from an applicant’s perspective. The situation has been further aggravated by the COVID-19 induced disruptions, burdening the operational parameters of the branches with the necessary safety protocols and capping their service potential.