» Press Release 2006

The future of Indian banking lies in innovation and collaboration: CII Summit

The CEO’s and CIO’s Interactive Round Table ‘Banks Of The Future – Vision 2020,’ held on the second day of the ongoing two-day CII Banking Tech Summit 2006 analyzed some of the key opportunities and challenges that would be faced by the Indian banking industry over the years, while providing a glimpse of what the future could hold.

Building on the summit theme, ‘Banking on Technology for Increased Efficiency,’ the session, moderated by Deepak Ghaisas, Chairman – Banking Tech Summit 2006 and CEO – (India Operations), Chief Financial Officer, i – flex solutions Ltd. discussed the likely impact that technology would have on banks and banking services over the long-term.

The unanimous pinion was that while technology would influence the way in which banks interfaced with their customers, with a greater emphasis on flexibility, it would not affect the demand for banks and banking services. The future of Indian banking would lie in innovation and collaboration.

Aspects like the complicated nature of banking, the need to build trust and maintain it over a period of time as well as a higher degree of regulation would ensure that banks would continue to play a role, albeit a bigger one in future. A variety of issues including a change in the role played by branches, the scope for Indian banks to set up and expand operations abroad, plus futuristic scenarios of biometric security procedures were also contemplated.

The participants were Dr R Balakrishnan, Executive Director, NABARD; Hanuman Tripathi, Founder and Managing Director, Infrasoft Technologies Ltd.; Prakash Chandra Bajpai, President, Reliance Infocomm Ltd.; Ajay Marathe, Corporate Vice President & President, AMD India; C N Ram, Head – Information Technology, HDFC Bank Ltd.; Koen Van den Brande, Chief Technology Officer, Polaris Software Lab Ltd.; Anuj Bhargava, Chief Information Officer, India Area Management Office, The HSBC Ltd.; Swarup Choudhury, Director-Financial Services Sector, Asean/South Asia, IBM Global Services India Pvt. Ltd.; Pravir Vohra, Senior General Manager, ICICI Bank Ltd.; M A Kishen Kumar, Vertical Head – Banking & Financial Solutions (India,Middle East,SEA and Australia), Wipro Ltd. and Mohan Verma, Associate Director, Technology Advisory Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd.

Prior to that, speaking the fourth plenary session titled on ‘Rural Banking – Bridging the Chasm Through Technology,’ Royston Braganza, Senior Vice President & Head – Microfinance and Priority Sector, The HSBC Ltd., provided a perspective on ‘Microfinance: Scope for Growth using Technology. “Technology is a vital partner, but it is not a substitute for good business strategy and operational procedures – all three have to be married together,” he emphasized.

An industry perspective on ‘Rural Financial Super Market’ was presented by Ramesh Iyer, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd., who stressed that the rural markets were a great opportunity for Indian banks provided they understood their needs, created tailor made products to suit their requirements, delivered them consistently and partnered with customers by creating an emotional bonding.

Manish Khera, Joint General Manager, ICICI Bank Ltd., who spoke on ‘Bullock Cart Banking: Widening the Bank Net,’ concurred, stating that the rural market had specific needs and required a different approach compared to the urban markets we are used to.

Dr R Balakrishnan, Executive Director, National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) highlighted some of the key rural banking policy initiatives and also focused on ‘Imperatives & Best Practices – IT initiative for Self Help Groups.’ “If a loan is given with respect, it is repaid with respect. People are willing to pay the cost as long as it is not excessive,” he explained.

The session was chaired by Sunil Chopra, Head – Business Development, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., who pointed out that the old concept of people in rural areas not willing to pay or not being able to pay no longer holds true. He also stressed that there were a lot of issues such as the question of distribution, viability, cost to service, getting people, risks and all this will only be possible if we have the proper technology.
 
Mumbai
17 January, 2006