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DBS Bank: Playing with Gold

Sajish Pillai, Head – Assets & Strategic Alliances at DBS Bank India, delves into the progress and direction of the lending business of the bank:DBS Bank: Playing with Gold

Manoj Agrawal: Given the variety of consumer loans, which ones is DBS Bank India focusing on?

Sajish Pillai: DBS bank offers a wide variety of loans to fulfil the borrowing needs of our retail customers ranging from gold loans, mortgages, loans against property, unsecured personal loans to various loans on credit cards. We offer attractive rates, affordable and customizable repayment options. DBS gold loans enable customers to unlock the value of their gold ornaments. They come with a quick disbursal in 30 minutes, an attractive rate per gram and low-interest rates. DBS Bank India also offers one of the best FD interest rates of 7.25% p.a. for a tenor of 600 days. In 2022, we launched our first credit card in partnership with Bajaj Finance. DBS Bank’s 3 million retail customers can now choose from Bajaj Allianz Life’s retail products like term, savings, retirement, and investment products.

Which are the leading consumer segments where the bank has been successful in the lending space? Which new segments will the bank focus on in the next 12 months?

DBS Bank India offers a range of services for large, medium, and small enterprises and retail customers in India. We have reported an increase in our retail customer base with a strong CASA balance.

DBS serves the borrowing needs of both the served and underserved segments of customers. We have created proprietary underwriting models to help us to cater to both existing and new bank customers who are salaried or self-employed. We also have special lending products targeted towards MSMEs and sole proprietors whose needs differ according to the businesses they operate. We will continue to focus on these segments in the coming year.

We are planning to scale up our retail and SME loan book over the next 5 years, balancing out the current focus on corporate and institutional lending. Over the next 5 years, over 60% of our loan book would focus on consumer and SME lending.

What are the geographies where business is booming? What are the geographical expansion plans?

The former Lakshmi Vilas Bank amalgamated with DBS Bank India Limited (DBIL) in November 2020. The scheme of amalgamation was under the special powers of the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India under Section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, India. The amalgamation has provided the bank with a strong foothold in South India, and it now has a network of around 525 branches across 19 states.

There has been a consistent demand for different categories of loans, with the major demand being seen in the southern market. For example, we have seen a heightened demand for gold loans among the agrarian community, and 70% of the demand is driven from southern India.

Overall, we have a pan-India growth plan that leverages our branch network, digital channels, superior underwriting models using Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and our ability to serve customers through multiple strategic ecosystem partnerships.

How has the consumer loans portfolio from the merger with LVB performed?

The consumer loan portfolio we acquired from the merger with LVB has performed as per our expectations. We have accelerated growth in some of the portfolios that are core to our strategy like gold loans and loan against property to MSME and sole proprietors. Currently, the gold loan book is about Rs45 billion and we want to grow this by 3X in the next 5 years.

Name some of the leading retail and e-commerce partners with whom the bank is partnering for customer access?

We are continuously scouting for partnerships with like-minded companies that have a large customer base which aligns with our target segments. These companies must have a digital DNA that allows us to offer seamless banking services and enable clients to Live more, Bank less. Our product offerings can be found integrated with the platforms of players like CRED, BigBasket, EaseMyTrip, etc.

What are the improvements in user interface for individual and retail borrowers across different channels?

We offer a 24×7, 4-tap personal loan service to our existing retail customers where the loans get disbursed within a minute without the need to provide any documentation. Credit card applicants can get the card delivered to them using the app itself, simplifying the user experience. They can transact or convert their credit card transactions to EMIs using the app, even before the physical card gets delivered.

Our Intelligent Banking lets customers experience a smarter relationship with money using alerts, analyses, insights & investment information tailored to their habits and goals. We have generated over 25.3 million insights since the launch for 0.7 million customers with an engagement rate of 70%. While the AI-powered insights feature in digibank went live in 2020, we saw 56% repeat usage of the feature month on month, which has in turn led to higher product uptake for engaged customers.


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