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Massive Technology Transformation at SVC Bank

Santosh Mohile, Head, IT, SVC Cooperative Bank

The Mumbai-based urban cooperative bank’s initiatives include website revamp, online account opening, video KYC, and WhatsApp banking:

Santosh Mohile, Head, IT, SVC Cooperative Bank, gives details of the recent digital initiatives undertaken by the bank and what is in store for the customers

Mehul Dani: How have you implemented the digital strategy for the different customer segments of your bank in the current financial year?

Santosh Mohile: At SVC Bank, we believe that disruption leads to great opportunities. We look at the bright side and have already with the help of our digital team, realigned our deliveries. While we offered an entire suite of digital payments – UPI, debit cards, mobile app and net banking to our customers during covid, when we wanted to persuade customers to bank from home, we have focused on creating an ecosystem that is enabled with ‘Do-it-Yourself Banking’ methodology. This has seen a 40% increase in overall transactions.

Some specific facilities extended by the bank during this period.

We offered facilities like net-banking self-registration, which enabled the account holders to register and activate net banking online. We have successfully executed this project that empowered our large base of debit card users to self-register / activate their net banking facility online, with just their registered mobile number and registered email ID. Our customers were also able to place term and recurring deposits online thereby reducing visits of customers to branches. They can now submit their 15G/15H forms online through net banking, to ensure TDS is not deducted on their interest income, if applicable conditions are met. We also have ‘SVC Rewards’, a platform that enables customers to earn points on their digital transactions, which can then be redeemed against products/ services/ e-vouchers from within a predefined catalog on the platform.

How has digital contributed to increasing the business?

The digital initiatives helped us a lot to increase the CASA accounts as well as deposits. The digital convenience brought by these products has instilled confidence in customers to do more business with us. Our bank has a roadmap of achieving the desired goal by digital reach. We hope to replicate the yoy growth experienced in some of the payment channels like UPI and internet banking to other business areas also with these digital initiatives.

What is the size of your IT team? What are the training schemes offered to upskill the staff members?

We have a 95-member IT team. Secure SDLC and secure coding training are given to our development team. Cyber Incident Planning & Response training is provided to the infosec team. Also, periodic cybersecurity awareness training sessions are held for the staff. Our IT budget has specific allocations made for digital initiatives and the same is increased every year to accommodate the technical up-gradation and new initiatives.


How is your bank associated with partnering, investing, and supporting fintechs and startups?

We have realized the potential of partnering with fintech for providing advanced banking products. We have several tie-ups and we continue to explore further engagements with fintech vendors. Some of the fintech associated initiatives include housing society maintenance with Convivial Solutions and reward automation with Nth Reward-Clavax. We have also tied up with Sectona Security for PIM and LSS for digital Demat account opening. The other initiatives with fintechs are in the areas of a website revamp, online account opening and video KYC, WhatsApp banking, Chatbot, RPA, digital lending/ LOS/ FRM System.

How strong is your presence on social media? What have been the online marketing & promotional efforts undertaken by your company in 2019-20 and planned for the current FY?

We have been active in the social media space since 2014. We have a strong presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Activities other than organic include creating awareness about our various offerings in the retail liabilities and assets space. We have dedicated content created for customer awareness and education about safe banking, hope messaging, and engagement. To best harness the power of digital and social media, we have also ventured into lead generation through Facebook and Google ads, directing interested netizens to a dedicated landing form that captures and disseminates lead details to the nearest SVC Bank branch for fulfillment. We also use the SMS medium with codes dedicated to individual products to solicit leads from customers. WhatsApp as a medium is also used effectively for creating awareness among customers.

How has your bank gained by deploying analytics? How is technology put to use for customer relationship management?

We have deployed in-house as well as third party Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics tools. By using these tools, we could achieve an increase in business as well as timely compliance with regulatory norms.

Regulatory compliance: Business Intelligence and Analytics enables us to comply with the guidelines and still perform key functions of collecting, organizing, and analyzing data for generating reports. The corporate credit department and finance department use these applications for all regulatory returns and the operations department make use of this to have total control on KYC compliance of the customer.

Performance measurement and budgeting: BI and analytics have helped us to measure business performance in various areas. Accordingly, we could allocate budgets and set new goals. Real-time business intelligence also monitors the progress towards the achievement of set targets. The performance data can further be used in strategizing new products that are best suited for customer demands.

Risk management: The banking industry is high on risk. BI analytics aids in getting insights on customers, transactions, and other key areas so as to mitigate risks. We generate detailed reports on NPAs, find out the reason for defaults and evolve effective methods for recovery of loans. Our corporate and retail credit teams use this for post-sanction monitoring of accounts.

Customer analytics: In an effort to retain customers, we constantly strive to offer the best of services and products to our customers, ones that are specific to their demands. Business intelligence techniques assist the bank in figuring out the right actions, at the right time, by analyzing factors like associated costs, feasibility, etc. Retail banking as well as privilege banking teams make use of these to create new products that fulfill the customer’s needs.

Any other innovative initiatives currently in the pipeline?

There are some initiatives that are in the making. Like mutual funds and insurance enabled by net banking, which will empower customers to opt for products that are best suited for them. Loans against shares is another initiative, where customers can avail of a loan against shares they own. Through the ‘Demat Online Account Opening’ facility, a customer can open and operate their Demat account online. Our aim through these initiatives is to transform the end-to-end customer experience, serving delight, and partnering with our customers in their growth stories.

In the post covid- scenario, what are your targets and plans for IT and digital initiatives in the current FY?

We have taken several initiatives on the digital front and a number of steps to ensure that these critical initiatives are supported by strong backend transaction processing systems and adequately covered by security processes and systems. Many of the online options like online term deposits account opening, online 15GH submission, online internet banking registration with a green PIN, internet-based ATM PIN maintenance and rewards have been introduced during the covid period. The customers after experiencing the power of online facilities have requested more such online services. Some of the major initiatives that are in the pipeline are:

  1. Core Banking transformation
  2. Enhancement of internet banking features
  3. Revamp of mobile banking platform
  4. Enhancement of IMPS and UPI platforms
  5. AML & FRM systems
  6. Enhancement of the scope of MIS & BI for retail and corporate banking
  7. Enhancement of BBPS
  8. Digital Account opening
  9. Video KYC
  10. Digital Demat account opening
  11. API banking
  12. Chatbot banking
  13. WhatsApp banking

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