According to a recent survey by PwC, India is set to become the third largest domestic banking sector by 2050 after China and the US. With several new players entering the banking scene, the sector is set to witness unprecedented changes in the times to come. The Financial Inclusion agenda has led to several types of banking models–small banks, payment banks, and on tap license for new banks. Today, IT team of any bank as become the nerve-center of the entire organization, not just making banking friendly for the customer but also yielding profits for the banks. Milind Rajhans, Asst. General Manager IT and CISO, AP Mahesh Co-Operative Urban Bank can upraise his collar for being active part in the growth of their organization. This IT leader, in an exclusive chat on the bank’s IT story, IT plans and road ahead.
Swaminathan B: What was the role of IT in the growth story of Mahesh Bank?
Milind: Prior to implementation of Core Banking Solution (CBS) way back in the year 2006-07, IT was just a Data processing unit facilitating the Information Consolidation from various branches where TBA system was operational. Bank was not in a position to provide any technology enabled service to its customers. Further, Bank established its own Data Centre and implemented the Core Banking Solution thereby started its digital presence in terms of products and services.
Post CBS, the then popular ABB service Bank had started where customers were availing ‘Any Branch Banking’ service which helped Bank to retain the customers at certain extent. In the year 2010-11 bank introduced RTGS/NEFT service, ATM Card on its own network, statement of account as a part of internet banking.
Information Technology Department further decided to open various technology enabled channels and services, revamped technology infrastructure with enterprise in class Compute, Network and Storage architecture, completed the certifications with NPCI for various products and services which further resulted in introduction of RuPay ATM Debit card, Immediate Payment System (IMPS) – P2P,P2A,P2M Services, Internet Banking with Fund Transfer within the Bank/Branches.
The year 2014 was marked as technology services year and management decided to drive the business growth by offering bucket of services to the customers. Various marketing campaigns across the branches were conducted to proliferate the services to customers. Another notable initiative was introduction special compensation to staff members who participate in the drive, data analytics was meticulously exercised to identify the business potential based on the available data, customer transaction behaviour analysis, feedback and more. IMPS Campaign executed for a period of one year to increase the service registrations, various rounds of trainings were conducted for the entire staff to educate them about products and services, road shows for the customers, presentations of the services conducted in Public Numaish which is famous tradition in Hyderabad, festival occasions.
Our bank has become a pioneer in the state of Telangana & Andhra Pradesh to offer BBPS Services to the customers and non-customers, agents, agent institutions and more The BBPS System is an umbrella System for all bill payment needs i.e., Telephone, DTH, Water / Muncipality, Gas, Electricity, Education Fees, Mutual Fund, Insurance Premium, Govt. entity bills and more.
Mahesh Bank is associated with various technology service providers. We are still striving very hard to offer contemporary services and shortly shall introduce UPI – Customer & Merchant Solution, EKYC, Aaadhaar Services, BC Remittance, Aadhaar Pay, Bharat QR Code and more. Technology and active horizontal support from Management encouraged us to value add in growth story of the bank.
Swami: Explain the current role of IT in day-today activities of Mahesh Bank. (Which include the entire strength of IT team, machines managing, ATMs connected, surveillance stored etc)
Milind: We have 14 officials discharging their active role in various IT Domains i.e., System Administration, Database Management, Network Administration, CBS Support, Card & Services Management etc..
Information Technology presently has became business driver of the Bank, We educate to our staff for the usage of the Technology Services thereby subsequent customer education, enabling our decision makers to have information on their finger tips for the appropriate decision making, DMS System, MIS System provides role based information to all the
departments, operating, participating & managing the technology enabled products and services including its related infrastructure, compliance, audits etc..
We manage ATM Card Perso & issuance, Reconciliation, NPCI Correspondence, Surveillance, Audit process automation, HRMS System Management, Attendance System, Systems under Payment and Settlement, External Network associations with various service providers, Technology requirements RFPs, Agreements etc..
We introduce various business associations in terms of Agents, Agent Institutions, Billers onboarding under BBPS Portfolio to the Bank.
Swami : I find the IT initiatives are helping the bank reach out to the customers directly (Be it Hamara Prayas, providing contact number/mail id of the concerned persons in each branch). What are the other initiatives in the pipeline, as far as the IT in your bank is concerned.
We are working on
introduction of customer engagement initiatives, digital marketing communication framework wherein customers will be informed about products and services of the bank through Email, SMS and links to the advertisement videos, voice calls, social media. The system will not just send the communication, but also do analysis whether customers read the communication, collect their feedback, contact coordinates. But doing such analytics, bank can emphasize on the marketing efforts in that geography to proliferate the products and services.
Swami : What were the top 3 initiatives from your bank in the ending fiscal?
- Introduction of Bharat Bill Payment System thereby catering Bill Payment Needs of the Customer.
- eKYC, CKYCR & Aadhaar Services (ePraman, eAadhaar, change in address etc..)
- Revamping of DR Infrastructure.
Swami: What would be the top 5 spends of the bank in IT for the forthcoming financial year?
- Revamping / Upgrading of Core Banking Solution.
- Fine Tuning of Information Security Landscape in the Architecture.
- Establishment of Separate Division for ‘Bharat Bill Payment System’ thereby adding 300 Billers Network, 1 lakh agent network and touch points across the country
- Enhancing of Customer experience services by appointing of 100 BCs/BCAs, Doorstep Service, Agent Banking, 24/7 eLobby Services across Business Area
- Aadhaar Pay / Bharat QR Code/ UPI Solutions for merchant acquisition thereby replacing the traditional PoS solution
Swami: Today banking is going beyond banks. What are the key challenges faced by a CIO in banking sector in the current era?
- Maintaining pace with the competition for business growth ( CIO needs to actively participate in Business Planning in Current Scenario hence this is not the only responsibility of the Bank Management, CIO as well has to participate in planning of the same)
- Ensuring information security and its related complex infrastructure in the jargon of the technology enabled products and services.
- Associations with non-bank entities for the business growth, understanding and integrating their technology infrastructure with the Bank’s IT Infrastructure.
- People and process management in terms of the technology since availability of the subject matter experts who knows banking and technology is not easy finding task.
Swami: Which growing or future technology innovation you are personally excited about that will change the Indian banking scenario?
Milind: Block Chain, Chatbot for Customer Engagement, communication and collaboration platforms through mobile-based Apps, Aadhaar Pay, UPI, BBPS which will pave the way towards cashless economy in India.