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Faceless, Paperless, Cashless

Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank aims to reduce the TAT in lending with digitization of workflows in advances:

Digi Bankers to improve channel enrolment

Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank (APGB) has a wide network in the remote rural areas of the state of Andhra Pradesh with 552 branches spread across 10 districts and catering to the financial needs of different segments of the society, termed as ‘priority sector’. Though the emphasis is primarily on agriculture and MSME, as a prudent measure, the bank has enlarged its operations to retail and non-priority segments as well, in order to diversify the credit portfolio. The bank has 98 ATMs, including 3 mobile ATMs.

Rakesh Kashyap, Chairman, informs: “Mobile ATMs are used to popularize digital products and creating awareness on bank’s products in the rural public. This helps spreading financial literacy and the importance of digital banking. lt serves the purpose of providing additional services to the customers as directed by GOI besides building up the image of the bank in the industry. We have provided micro-ATMs to all the branches to support hassle free transactions and speedy dispersal of customers during the pandemic time. As such there is no plan to install new ATMs in the current FY.”

Digital Strategy

As per the bank’s digital strategy in 2021-22, branches were issued with guidelines to issue debit cards to all customers immediately after opening of the account. Mobile ATMs were used to popularize the bank’s digital products. Green PIN generation through ATMs was undertaken. The bank has been encouraging PoS transactions under BBPS through BillDesk. The bank advised the branches to schedule the field visits as per the above action plan and improve the debit card issuance. Micro-ATMs were provided to all branches to encourage paperless transactions.

The bank also enhanced mobile and internet banking applications with add-on features and promoted UPI for digital transformation. NACH e-mandates were encouraged. Cassette swapping has been completed. ln-house app for like Online Audit Portal (eTHlC), KCC documentation (offline), SLBC data flow automation, OMC- offsite monitoring of transactions, e-circulars & policies, CGTMSE module & BC salary automation were developed.

Now, APGB is planning to implement a number of digital initiatives for the current FY. Rakesh enlists: “Our digital strategy in the current FY include online SB account and fixed deposit account opening, loan origination system, online investment module, proxy implementation, e-mandate registration through internet banking and debit card, implementation of dual interface (NFC) cards, providing QR code facility to merchants, UPI mandate, UPI UDIR (online dispute resolution), UPI registration through Aadhaar OTP, in-house dispute management portal and interoperable cardless cash withdrawal through UPI.”

As issuer to Card of File Tokenisation (COFT), the bank will soon implement advanced online based credit acceptance. It has also undertaken implementation of Windows 10, TLS (Transport Layer Security), and TSS (Total Security Solution) in all ATMs, and Public Financial Management System (PFMS).

Multiple Vendors

Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank is encouraging ‘faceless, paperless, cashless’, which are the professed approaches of ‘Digital India’. As part of promoting cashless transactions and converting India into less-cash society, various modes of digital payments have been introduced by the bank. APGB has a number of vendors providing variety of services to the bank for its customers. Rakesh names vendors: “Our CBS, alternate delivery channels, mobile banking and internet banking are provided by C-Edge Technologies, ATMs are by AGS and Diebold Nixdorf, BBPS by Bill Desk, micro-ATMs by Atyati Technologies and QR code by Canara Bank. Loqix InfoSecurity provides domain specific email solution. Data centre is also managed by C-Edge on opex model.”

Digi Channels & Transactions

Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank is taking all steps to increase the digital transactions, which it foresees as sustainable online mode. APGB has devised digital strategy with initiatives under all types of channels such as BC point, branch channel, customer channel (MB/lNB) so that growth can be diversified as well with inclusive approach. Rakesh updates: “Our bank has extended mobile banking services to 224,317 customers as on 31 July 2022. The digital transactions in the first quarter of the current FY stand at 81.2%, higher by around 4.5% on y/y basis. The increase in digital channels has helped the bank to increase the business levels apart from retaining existing customer base.”

IT Team, Training

Size of the APGB’s IT team is 20 members. Various steps have been taken to upgrade the skill of the IT team. General Manager, IT is ably supported by chief manager, senior manager and subordinate staff. Rakesh informs: “We have been conducting regular staff meetings to involve everyone and explain the aspirations and goals of the bank to set plan of action accordingly to align IT with business. We are assigning goal-based projects with timelines to individual staff of the department for better results, effective monitoring and follow-up. We have been deputing members to training programs conducted by external agencies such as BIRD and IDRBT for technology advancement learnings. The staff is getting trained on latest technologies in the IDRBT. The major areas wherein staff is trained include secure coding practices, cyber defence, early warning systems, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT), web application development and mobile application development. We are also deputing them to other banks for study tours for replicating best practices being implemented by respective teams. Our bank is also providing the external course trainings to the team so as to enhance internal, in-house innovations.”

Data Analytics, CRM

Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank has a strong in-house MIS team, which generates various kinds of data points on daily, weekly & monthly basis. Grievance redressal mechanism is incorporated in the bank website to dispose customer complaints. Toll free number is made available for resolving customer issues, which has improved satisfaction on the bank products. Rakesh explains: “Some of the data analytics used recently are for customers having current accounts with no fixed deposits (used for gaining term deposits by sending messages to customers); for customers who had fixed deposits earlier, now with only savings accounts (used for mobilizing fixed deposits by publicizing latest interest rates of bank deposits) and also for customers who are using alternate delivery channels (mobile banking / internet banking) but does not have high CASA balance (used for mobilizing CASA deposits). We have handles in Facebook and Twitter where we are actively publicizing our digital products. Further, customer complaints if any, are being resolved by attending to them on priority.”

Mobile App Features

Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank has enhanced user experience in its popular digital product i.e. mobile banking app. Rakesh says: “Facilities such as regional language, TDS enquiry, Aadhaar enquiry, ePassbook, debit card limits management, digital channels activation, etc, have been made available in the app itself.”

Popularizing Digital

APGB has been regularly conducting customer meets to create awareness on the bank’s digital products, which is paying dividend in increasing penetration of digitization. The bank has undertaken various campaigns and marketing strategies to improve digital channels and to take bank to next level of growth with efficient technological advancements. Rakesh points out: “We have identified Digi Bankers at each branch and assigned them with task of improving enrolments under all types of digital channels. We have conducted many workshops to percolate the importance of digital channel usage, where risk is transferred from banker to customer. We are planning to undertake special campaigns with rewards to the staff for popularizing the digital channels. We see technology to aid the growth of the bank by capturing high net-worth customers into bank’s fold, to improve CASA for improving cost to deposit ratio and to reduce the TAT in lending with digitization of workflows in advances.”

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