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Union Bank of India: MACH Architecture to power next wave

Technology drives innovation, growth and competitive advantage:

Union Bank of India: MACH Architecture to power next wave

Union Bank of India, one of the leading public sector banks of the country, has a network of 8700+ domestic branches, 10,900+ ATMs, 16,200+ BC points serving over 153+ million customers. The bank has received several awards and recognition for its prowess in technology and digital banking.

A. Manimekhalai assumed charge as MD & CEO of the bank on June 3, 2022. A seasoned banker with experience of more than 3 decades, Manimekhalai started her career in erstwhile Vijaya Bank as an officer in 1988. Earlier she was Executive Director at Canara Bank. She played a pivotal role in effecting successful amalgamation of Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank.

She is a member of various committees and working groups constituted by Government of India, and has actively contributed towards policymaking relating to future road map of RRBs, financial inclusion, agriculture value-chain finance, BC issues, etc.

AI, ML To Improve Efficiency

The banking app Union VYOM offers 350+ features. It has crossed more than 20 million of users and Rs18+ billion of digital business. The bank has also launched novel initiatives such as UVConn (a WhatsApp banking solution) and also a voice banking solution in its initial stage. As part of the Digital Business Technology Platform, the bank is focussed on digital transformation, including the use of mobile and web applications, to improve customer experience and streamline business operations.

To achieve this, the bank is implementing an open architecture platform based on MACH architecture and technology principles with high modularity. This will optimize business processes, enhance resilience and agility, and provide delightful customer experiences through digital channels, omni channel experience, hyper personalization, etc.

Manimekhalai indicates: “The platform will also leverage data-driven decisions and personalization using martech stack also. In the near future we shall be focussing more on increasing the adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to improve efficiency and productivity, as well as tapping the potential of cloud & cybersecurity to enhance data storage and protection. Our goal is to leverage technology to drive innovation, growth, competitive advantage.”

More Digital Lending

With the evolution of financial inclusion channels through internet banking and more recently through mobile based applications, banking facilities are now easily accessible to women. This has enabled masses including women to avail financial services which were otherwise available through physical visits to bank branches. It has also resulted in the increased demand of banking services more particularly debit cards, credit cards, credit-off take, investments, and other financial services.

Manimekhalai shared some key figures pertaining to period from Dec 2022 to March 2023: “The total number of women MSME borrowers has increased from 360,608 to 563,757. The percentage of such women MSME borrowers has increased from 20.49% to 28.12%. Likewise, the percentage share of women’s savings deposits has increased from 31.40% to 32.18%. The number of women SHGs has increased from 579,622 to 678,012. The percentage of such women SHGs has increased from 85.42% to 89.87% during the period.”

The number of women credit card holders by Dec 2022 is 85,023, which is 14.76% of total credit card base.

The bank already has existing products which can be availed through digital modes. The availability of digital channels has immensely reduced the effort of visiting branches for women who are also having domestic responsibilities. Digital initiatives of UBI have contributed to increasing business, expand customer reach, improve customer engagement, enhanced brand visibility, increased efficiency and provide better data insights.

Manimekhalai reveals: “We are planning to move towards more digital lending. Women entrepreneurs can digitally apply for and get disbursal for up to Rs1 million under the Nari Shakti scheme. STP of Nari Shakti went live on 11 Nov 2022, with amount of disbursement being Rs15.5 million to 23 beneficiaries as of 4 March 2023.”

In the coming years, it is expected with the availability of online credit requirements based on cash accruals, credit history, etc, more and more women will be able to avail their credit requirements through these channels. Technology is the game changer.”

Accessibility Initiatives

Accessible Spaces are made available in UBI through JAWS screen readers and wheelchair ramps at workplaces. Manimekhalai claims: “We are pioneers in preparing JAWS manual for CBS. Project Union Access is an Employees with Disabilities (EWD) led project, committed to improve accessibility of digital spaces for customers and employees with disabilities. We have 2 industry first special eLearning modules – General Awareness on Disability Inclusion and Accessibility and Capacity Building module on digital accessibility. We provide special training programs with sign language interpreter.”

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