The bank is also setting up an Enterprise Data Lake that will harness the power of data to serve our customers better through hyper-personalized and contextually relevant offerings:
Bandhan Bank offers its customers best-in-class digital services such as mobile and internet banking and a UPI-based payments ecosystem. Through regularly interacting with customers via group meetings and at branches/business units, the bank’s employees have made meaningful endeavors in sensitizing customers to the benefits of using digital modes of transactions and educating them on how to use this medium. Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, MD & CEO, reveals: “At present, 89% of all transactions carried out by the Bandhan Bank happens through digital means. The bank aims to take this proportion up to 95%. It is worth noting that this achievement has been realized despite our operations being majorly concentrated in semi-urban and rural areas where digital penetration and/or literacy is still not very high.”
Bandhan Bank has also successfully implemented a model of assisted banking at the bottom-of-the-pyramid, whereby the bank’s officers provide tab-based banking to customers at their doorstep in even remote rural areas. Ghosh explains: “These tabs can be used to record banking transactions such as record payments and deposits. This has helped minimize the number of visits that a customer needs to make to the bank outlet and also reduces the turnaround time for services through process efficiency.
Vision 2025: Tech Investment
Last year, the Bandhan Bank unveiled its strategy for the next phase of growth: ‘Vision 2025,’ as a part of which the bank targets to grow 5X in the next 5 years. Ghosh explains: “As a part of this strategic vision, we aim to be a banker for all Indians – big or small – whichever part of the country they may reside in, whatever products or services they may desire, and whichever mode of transaction they may prefer – physical, digital or omni-channel. Going forward, as a part of its Vision 2025, the bank has significant plans of investing in cutting-edge banking technology, which will aim to delight customers with convenient, seamless, and secure banking services. Work on a lot of these projects has already begun and are in various phases of implementation.”
IT Ecosystem For Customers
Bandhan Bank is in the process of building an in-house IT ecosystem, comprising infrastructure, network, applications, data, and security. To enable this, the bank has already started building the backbone of the modern architecture that will enable the scalability, performance, flexibility, and agility needs of the bank.
Ghosh adds: “The bank is also setting up an Enterprise Data Lake that will harness the power of data to serve our customers better through hyper-personalized and contextually relevant offerings. The bank is also investing in refreshing the application stack.”
The Enterprise Data Lake will be used to meet all the information and analytics needs of the bank – be it providing data for ad hoc reports, MIS, regulatory reporting or advanced analytics for delivering hyper-personalization, or models for driving retention, along with growing breadth and depth of relationship or decision-making, based on insights. This is a long-term investment to harness the power of data and analytics that will add significant value to it.
Ghosh underlines: “Every step of the way, we have managed to delight customers with our timely and relevant products and services, including a state-of-the-art mobile banking, internet banking, and UPI-based payments ecosystem.”
Next Gen Functionalities
Bandhan Bank has also launched a new platform for digital account opening in a completely paperless and contactless mode – Neo+ Digital Savings Account. Ghosh points out: “We have also invested in a new, state-of-the-art digital banking solution and implementation efforts are underway to deliver next-generation functionalities.”
LOS, Neo+ Merchant
To bring in process efficiencies, reduce turnaround time for credit assessment and processing, and significantly automate credit evaluation, the bank has initiated deployment of a Loan Origination System (LOS). This will be particularly helpful for the bank’s efforts of growing its commercial banking portfolio.
It is widely recognized that India’s small businesses, including merchants, will need to digitise in order to compete more effectively, especially in a post-pandemic world. A critical component of such digitization is the ability to make and receive payments digitally. Ghosh informs: “To enable small merchants to make and receive payments digitally, the bank has launched a soft PoS solution called Neo+ Merchant. This innovation will help merchants use their smartphones as PoS machines.”
Bandhan Bank is also in the process of building its own Data Centre (DC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) Centre, and has started work on setting up a state-of-the-art intelligent infrastructure of tier 4 data centres in different cities, which will act as primary DC and backup DC for disaster recovery. It has decided to invest in near DR to ensure almost no data loss in case of any exigency. This will help the bank deliver high availability, scalability and performance for all the applications.
As part of its strategy, Bandhan Bank has started implementing and modernizing its IT architecture. Ghosh elaborates: “The core tenets of the new architecture are ensuring decoupling across tiers, hollowing the core, and adopting micro-services architecture to deliver on performance, scalability, agility and flexibility objectives, besides eliminating single point of failure.”
Bandhan Bank has already started implementing a middleware to integrate upstream with channels and downstream with application, as well as database layers to de-couple the architecture. Ghosh enlists: “Among other benefits, this will help the bank scale horizontally and vertically in an agile and flexible manner, leading to potential cost saving and reducing the go-to-market time.”
The bank is also exploring cloud native application and services, and will further work on it wherever there are advantages of cost savings and faster go-to-market. All these enhancements will provide for faster proof of concepts and prototypes without much cost, and help the bank innovate and experiment as it scales its digital banking proposition.
Bandhan Bank has also finalized new applications for core banking, loan management system, trade finance, supply chain, treasury and other key functions. Ghosh indicates: “A leading systems integrator has been engaged for successfully implementing the bank’s technology transformation.”