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Issue Highlights

Issue Highlights of December 2017

P2P lending comes of age in India

P2P lending is gaining a major foothold in India. There is a huge opportunity for P2P lending as consumption grows with a younger population forming a major bulk of the total. More so, SMEs are always on the lookout for less cumbersome, faster solutions with lower rates and lower transaction costs. The demand for P2P lending is therefore poised to receive a huge fillip. It can easily become the third leg after banking and NBFC.

There is also another role possible – in bringing in financial inclusion. If they choose to assume a rural focus, they can address the needs of the agriculture sector, the village based small cottage industry units and individual artisans, an area which the traditional lenders hesitate to enter. The challenge, however, could be the need to have better and faster connectivity and creation of a technology infrastructure to service these clients. Four leading P2P operators in the country discuss the prospects and how technology is the distinguishing factor in the operations.

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Cheaper loans to incentivize businesses, industries to borrow

Mayank Mehta, ED at Bank of Baroda, and K. Venkataraman, MD and CEO at Karur Vysya Bank discuss how viable it is for banks to secure deposits and increase CASA ratios in the light of demonetization. The point out that banks are actually cutting down bulk deposits and make concerted efforts to improve retail business.

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RBI must pay interest to banks on 100% CRR deposits

Dr (Prof) J.D. Agarwal, professor of finance & chairman, Indian Institute of Finance, Greater Noida, makes a strong case for RBI to pay interest on the huge deposits banks have been making to maintain 100% CRR with retrospective effect as there are chances that their profitability for 2016-17 may suffer a setback as they will be required to pay interest on the huge deposits garnered on account of the demonetization.

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To survive, insurers must tackle legacy

The insurance industry is struggling to transform itself in the digital age and is bogged down by legacy processes and infrastructure. As if that was not enough, they also face frequent compliance mandates. Laurie Shottan, research director, Gartner, who was at the Gartner Symposium and ITXpo in Goa recently, discusses how insurers around the world are embracing the digital, notwithstanding all the challenges in the industry. The way forward for organizations in this sector is the bimodal approach, says he.

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UPI makes wallets outdated

Ashutosh Kumar, regional head for Transaction Banking – South Asia at Standard Chartered Bank, explains the uniqueness of the Unified Payments Interface and its major features which are beneficial to bring in a digital economy. The bank is one of the two foreign banks to have implemented this platform. He also talks about the other digital initiatives of the bank in India.

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Axis Bank leaps into Intelligent Banking

Axis Bank is using chat bots to offer various banking services thereby creating an intelligent banking environment. The bank has partnered with Active Intelligence, a Singapore based fintech company for this purpose. Rajiv Anand, ED (Retail Banking) at Axis Bank, says the bank is enabling new digital technologies to make it simple for customers to do banking.

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Rural uplift through social collaboration

Grameen Koota, the Bengaluru-based microfinance institution, is unique in many ways. Much of its lending is for non-income generating projects. It also has a women focus, which it believes helps in the uplift of the society as a whole. Udaya Kumar, MD and CEO at Grameen Koota, says the MFI has been able to develop a class of mature and financially literate women entrepreneurs who have benefited from the group lending model.

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The Winning Strategy

FIS, which has bagged several technology projects for banks, including the new crop of small finance banks, is a total solutions provider. That’s its winning strategy. Ramaswamy Venkatachalam, MD, India and South Asia, FIS, explains the concept called domain integration where the company covers the applications as well as running the system.

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Retail aggression: BoM aims 35%, BoB 15% growth

R.K. Gupta, ED at Bank of Maharashtra, and Ashok Aneja, GM, Retail Banking at Bank of Baroda, discuss how retail business for their respective banks fared during 2016.

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Better retail participation in equity schemes

Banking stocks, especially public sector banks, are an attraction for mutual funds as avenues for investments. And this trend is going to continue, according to Dhiraj Relli, MD & CEO, HDFC Securities.

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Getting the complete picture

Magma Fincorp, which has a significant rural business, had faced the prospect of digital initiatives not meeting the challenges it had in catering to the needs of its rural customers. It also had another challenge – that of establishing the credibility of its channel partners. The company thought it wise to invest in a business intelligence solution at the enterprise level.  Manoj K. Mishra, vice president for Technology at Magma Fincorp, narrates the journey.

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Ind AS impact on Indian banks

Vivek Prasad, partner at Price Waterhouse & Co, tracks the pain points banks will have while implementing the new Ind AS and feels despite the hardship, it will be a beneficial measure for them.

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