Financial inclusion has the potential to add to banking income

Financial inclusion has the potential to add to banking income

Mumbai: Financial inclusion is still not profitable but over a time it has the potential to add to banking income, provided lenders collaborate with technology providers and offer more products to customers, bankers said at the Mint Annual Banking Conclave in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Neeraj Swaroop, regional chief executive officer, India and South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank, said a large number of accounts the bank has opened as part of financial inclusion remain unused. Financial inclusion does not work if there is no access to basic needs like food, he said.

“Only partnership, collaboration and technology will drive our plans," Swaroop said.

O. P. Bhatt, chairman of the State Bank of India, the largest bank in the country, said banks will have to look for alternative channels.

“We have already reached 1,25,000 under banked villages through point of sale terminals, kiosks and more than 100 partners. Now we have signed an MoU with Airtel to use their 1.5 million outlets," he said.

“Airtel has people in those outlets and they can handle cash and we have banking services. The application is pending with the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and if they give us a go-ahead, we can roll it out by 31 March. We need partnerships of all types to succeed," Bhatt said.

Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive officer at ICICI Bank Ltd, said the bank is focusing on ensuring a “comprehensive model" and using “every bit of technology."

“We have to improve revenues by selling more products to the same customer and cut costs by using technology. We have already reached 1 million customers and are progressing well. But you cannot roll out all six products at one go," she said.