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DBU bandwagon on the roll

DBUs enable paperless, cost-effective, secure banking:

A number of banks, in sync with the government’s initiative to deepen financial inclusion, have come out with plans for setting up Digital Banking Units (DBUs) in the country. India’s leading public and private sector banks, namely Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC FIRST Bank have quickly responded to inauguration of 75 DBUs recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, and Shaktikanta Das, RBI Governor, via video conferencing.

State Bank of India tops the list with 12 DBUs allotted to it, followed by Bank of Baroda with 7 DBUs. Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Odisha each have been allotted 4 districts with DBUs, followed by Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab, Sikkim, Telngana, each having 3 districts with DBUs.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced during the Union budget speech for 2022-23 about the establishment of 75 DBUs in 75 districts of the country in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence (Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav) to ensure that digital banking benefits reach every part of the country. Chief ministers, union ministers, state ministers, member of parliaments, bank senior executives and beneficiaries were connected via video conferencing.

Services By Tablet, E-KYC

ICICI Bank has announced the launch of 4 DBUs to offer banking services to its customers digitally. It has set up the DBUs at Dehradun in Uttarakhand, Karur in Tamil Nadu, Kohima in Nagaland and one in Puducherry.

ICICI Bank has set up 4 DBUs at Dehradun, Karur, Kohima and Puducherry

ICICI Bank’s Self-service Zone houses an ATM, a Cash Deposit Machine (CDM) and a Multi-Functional Kiosk (MFK) that offers a number of services including printing of passbook, depositing cheque and accessing internet banking. Further, it has a Digi Branch Kiosk that offers all services available on iMobile Pay, the ICICI Bank’s mobile banking app. The zone also provides a digital interactive screen, where customers can interact with a chatbot in order to find product offers and mandatory notices.

At the Digital Assistance Zone (DAZ), branch officials of ICICI Bank assist customers to undertake various financial and non-financial transactions. These include opening of saving account, current account, fixed deposit and recurring deposit; availing of home loan, auto loan, personal loan and applying for credit card. These services are offered in a completely digital manner through a tablet, using Aadhaar based eKYC. In addition, branch officials will help customers download and start using the mobile banking app as well as internet banking. The DAZ remains open from 9:30 am to 3.00 pm on Monday to Friday as well as, on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturdays of the month.

Rakesh Jha, Executive Director (Designate), ICICI Bank explains: “In the last few years, we have seen that the customer’s behaviour at branches has evolved. Customers are now more keen to seek advice and guidance at branches for complex transactions, loans and investments. They prefer doing simple transactions on their own through digital channels like internet and mobile banking. Our DBUs will meet these evolving requirements of our customers.”

To Up Digital Adoption

Kotak Mahindra Bank launched the DBU in MehsanaKotak Mahindra Bank has launched 2 DBUs at Surat and Mehsana in Gujarat. Each DBU offers customer engagement. Kotak Bank is privileged to have contributed to the growth of the nation by enabling ambitions since its inception. Virat Diwanji, Group President and Head – Consumer Bank and Member, of Group Management Council, Kotak Mahindra Bank said: “The foundation for the country’s growth in the past 75 years comprises education, empowerment and enterprise – all seamlessly connected to banking tenets. We are proud to contribute to the dream of a financially sound, secure and Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Our DBUs are well-equipped, well-connected, digitally-inclusive centres accelerating digital adoption. Our DBUs will digitally enable and financially empower communities.”

Union Minister, Anurag Singh Thakur said at Mehsana: “Our country is witnessing yet another digital milestone. 75 DBUs will ensure that the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country. I applaud the efforts of KMB in digitally enabling every strata of the community through offerings such as Kotak811, Aadhaar on Wheels and now simplifying the lives of the common people through the DBUs.”

Technology-First Approach

IDFC FIRST Bank announced the launch of DBUs at Kendujhar in Odisha and Dimapur in Nagaland. The DBUs at Kendujhar and Dimapur align with the bank’s technology-first approach and efforts to deliver high-quality, personalized digital experiences to customers. The DBUs will provide a comprehensive range of digital products and services on the liability as well as the asset side, including the opening of savings accounts, fund transfers, end-to-end digital processing of loans, internet banking, digital grievance redressal, ATMs, and services related to government-sponsored schemes.

The DBUs at Dimapur and Kendujhar is equipped to provide customers with information on safe digital banking practices. The launch of the DBU was attended by Mohan Charan Majhi, MLA, Kendujhar, and Temjen Imna Along Longkumer, Minister of Higher Education and Tribal Affairs, Government of Nagaland, respectively.

Sumit Madan, Head, Retail Liabilities and Branch Banking, at IDFC FIRST Bank, says: “Our DBUs enable cost-effective and paperless banking in a secure environment. The outlets offer a connected environment for digital banking, interactive digital walls, digital kiosks and cash recylers. This will enable self- service for the digitally savvy and provide assisted mode to customers, who are new to online banking, thus furthering financial inclusion in the branch catchment areas.”

Self Service, Digi Assist

PNB has opened Digital Banking Unit in AizawlPunjab National Bank has unveiled 4 DBUs, one each in Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh), Bongaigaon (Assam), Gomati (Tripura) and Aizawl (Mizoram). PNB Executive Director Kalyan Kumar was present at PNB Digital Banking Unit in Jhansi. PNB Executive Director Vijay Dube were present at PNB Digital Banking Unit in Bongaigaon. PNB General Manager Sunil Agarwal along with PNB Agartala Circle Head Anand Kumar were present at PNB DBU in Gomati. PNB General Manager Shio Shankar Singh along with PNB Imphal Circle Head Manish Debbarma inaugurated PNB DBU in Aizawl.

Augmenting Digital Infra

DBU is a joint initiative of the government, the RBI, the Indian Banks Association and the participating banks. Following the announcement made in the Union Budget 2022-23 for setting up of 75 DBUs, the RBI issued the required guidelines after consulting the IBA and other experts in the field.

The specific financial services to be provided by the DBUs include, among other things, savings, credit, investment and insurance. The DBUs will also provide services related to certain identified government sponsored schemes. On the credit delivery front, to start with, the DBUs will provide end-to-end digital processing of small ticket retail and MSME loans, starting from online applications to disbursals. The commercial banks in both public and private sectors have responded very positively to this initiative.

Shaktikanta Das, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, said: “75 DBUs have been set up in record 6 months’ time. It is a step to further augment the digital infrastructure in the country. This will act as an enabler in the digital ecosystem and will improve customer experience. Banks are free to engage the services of digital business facilitators and business correspondents to expand the footprint of the DBUs.”

Shaktikanta Das indicates that banks can engage digital business facilitators and business correspondents to expand the footprint of the DBUsPrime Minister Narendra Modi underlined: “In a village or small town, when a person avails the services of a DBU, everything from sending money to taking loans will become easy online. We worked on reforming the banking system, strengthening it and bringing transparency within it; and financial inclusion. We have given top priority to make banking services reach every doorstep even in the far-flung areas.”


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