ICICI Bank has started using use of satellite data – imagery from Earth observation satellites – to assess the credit worthiness of its farmer customers, thus becoming the first bank in India and among few globally to use satellite data. The facility being used by the bank will measure several parameters relating to the land, irrigation and crop patterns and use it in combination with demographic and financial parameters to make quick lending decisions for farmers. The bank feels this will help its farmer customers to enhance their eligibility, while new-to-credit farmers can get better access to credit. Additionally, since the land verification is done in a contactless manner with the help of satellite data, credit assessments are being done within a few days as against the industry practice of up to 15 days. The bank has been using satellite data for the past few months in over 500 villages in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and plans to scale up the initiative to over 63,000 villages shortly across the country. Anup Bagchi, Executive Director of the bank, said the bank is bringing forth yet another futuristic technology of using satellite data and analysis to provide key inputs for credit assessments for lending to farmers. Earlier, one had to visit remote locations to manually assess a host of parameters on the land location, irrigation levels and crop quality patterns to forecast future revenues of the farmers. Now, imagery from earth observation satellite gives us ground-breaking ability to track many information across large areas in a contactless and highly reliable manner, he added.