2020 once seemed futuristic enough to envision transformation at scale, yet close enough to set as a target and hit goals. As 2019 draws to a close, Mint invites corporate leaders to share their vision for the next decade. Sachin Bansal, co-founder and CEO, Navi Technologies, co-founder of Flipkart and technology entrepreneur, shares five ideas with Madhurima Nandy on the importance of financial inclusion.

Simplify experience for customers

This goes a long way toward achieving greater usage; easy to understand products that meet specific customer needs are essential. Products should be designed based on user-testing. The size of the transaction can be calibrated for ease of use: deciding when to use OTPs (not requiring them for less than 2,000), for example. Financial inclusion also implies a spectrum of services, as opposed to a set of discrete services.

Personalized financial services

Financial services must be personalized by putting customers at the centre of product design. For loans, they could be allowed to choose their repayment plans, based on the bank’s assessment of their creditworthiness. For MSMEs, the bank could leverage its data analytic capabilities to schedule instalments and price loans dynamically. For payments, customers could choose sub-accounts and set limits.

The importance of technology

Technology will have to play an important role in financial inclusion. Digital-only banking models are emerging across the globe and are attracting a growing base of retail, business and MSME customers. These models have evolved in various forms, including fintechs that evolved into banks and digital-only brands or subsidiaries launched by existing commercial and investment banks.

Digital India needs to pick up speed

Digital India (launched in 2015 to improve internet connectivity, digital literacy and the country’s technology infrastructure) should be accelerated. According to the Global Findex Report 2017 released by World Bank, just 5% of the population accessed a financial institution from their phones or through the internet; only 2% of the population has a mobile money account.

Focus on research and development

We can replicate the success of the consumer internet industry in the financial services industry. Technological capability will have to be developed and deployed at scale. That means an intense focus on research and platform development. It will also have to be customized and differentiated with innovative technologies as this approach cannot be limited by the inflexibilities of tech products sold by vendors.

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