Mumbai: A survey by consulting firm Boston Consulting Group found that 35% of the people in rural India use mobile phones while only 18% own and operate a bank account.
Carlos Trasca, senior partner and head of the retail banking practice at the firm, puts these numbers in the context of the 65% of India’s population that is currently “unbanked” (or doesn’t have a bank account) and says that “a lot of banking in the future” will “happen on mobile phones.” Even in the larger cities, the survey found, 51-52% of the people don’t have an account. “Mobile banking is a good platform for accessing small accounts,” says Trasca.
Trasca adds that as banks work towards knowing “their customers intimately”, they (banks) will offer products and services that they currently do not. He expects to see banks forging more alliances with companies that provide retail financial services over the next few years. “You will see banks selling jewellery, holiday packages, movie and concert tickets, apart from cars and houses. As the global banks are set to play a larger presence in India post-2009, the local banks will need to keep innovating,” says Trasca.
The Reserve Bank of India has said it will review its banking policy in 2009 and may then consider allowing foreign banks a larger role in the country.