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In the 14th Mint Annual Banking Conclave, a panel of experts will delve deep into the opportunities presented by the rapidly changing banking landscape of India. The Mint Annual Banking Conclave is a curated platform to discuss, debate and develop ideas on the Future of Banking: Navigating the digital opportunity. Traditional banking as we have known it is undergoing a radical digital transformation. The next wave will be the result of an open ecosystem of customers, traditional banks, fintech firms, account aggregators, regulators, developers and non-banking firms.

Some of the eminent speakers are Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, SBI chairman Dinesh Khara, Infosys Non-Executive Chairman Nandan Nilekani, MoS for Ministry of Finance Dr Bhagwat Kisan Rao Karad and RBI Deputy Governor M Rajeshwar Rao, among others'.

Catch all the live updates here:

2.30 PM: The 14th Mint Annual Banking Conclave has started.

2.40 PM: Banks have opened 240 million bank accounts, which is fulfilling the goal of financial inclusion in the country, says Mint Editor-in-Chief Sruthijith K K.

2.42: The percentage of bad loans in March was 7.5%, which is a significant improvement, says KK.

2.43 PM: Around 37 per cent loans extended are now in the buy now pay later category, says KK.

2.50 PM: VV Balaji, Head, Business Technology Group, ICICI Bank, on new technologies: Mobile banking has penetrated across the country. Even in villages, they use quite a bit of tech these days. We Indians don't have too much legacy, which is an advantage and Indian banks are adopting very fast.

2.55 PM: Anjani Rathor, Chief Digital Officer, HDFC Bank, on new techs: "These are areas where everyone has diff strategies therefore outcome is very different."

3.00 PM: VV Balaji Head on AI and intelligent automation: "In the last few years, there are consortiums formed globally on new techs. It should be successful. But we also have to see its practicality."

Also read: Evolving tech still don't have relevant use cases in Indian banking: Kotak Bank's Deepak Sharma

3.15 PM: Anjani Rathore, Anjani Rathor, Chief Digital Officer, HDFC Bank, on linking new techs: "We need to monitor the end-to-end path. Therefore, the whole process becomes complex. New techs adoption will lead to new risks and we need to work with regulators to ensure make them risk-free."

3.20 PM: Hemant Dabke, Senior Director, enterprise sales, Uipath, on what banks can do better to adopt new techs: "Two things -- one is there's still a psychological barrier in automation, especially when there's the tendency to throw more. The other bigger problem is the ecosystem. How do they engage with the larger ecosystem."

3.30 PM: Sameer Shetty, President, digital business & transformation, Axis Bank: "It is important to have a clear notion that you are not putting money behind new tech without a clear outlook. Also, there is a mindset shift but there's not enough change in appetite to spend."

3.35 PM: VV Balaji, Head, business technology group, ICICI Bank, on the future of banking after 5 years: "How do embed banking day-to-day life. You'll more of it future."

Also read: Evolving tech still don't have relevant use cases in Indian banking: Kotak Bank's Deepak Sharma

The next session will be ‘capability demonstration by startups’. The first among five sessions that will be discussed is by 'Data Science Wizards'.

3.38 PM: Sandeep Data Science Wizards on its UnifyAI platform architecture: “There are three key building blocks of UnifyAI Platform – Data Pipeline, Machine Learning & AI, and UnifyAI Orchestrator."

3.40 PM: TransCognit Informatics is an Indian startup working in the two domains of Sovereign Fintech, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and Digital Asset Management (DAM) through tokenisation. It intends to create products and services in these spaces, particularly around DAM over CBDC.

4.35 PM: Jar is a startup that helps Indians rediscover advantages of saving every single day. It aims to reintroduce the current generation to the concept of piggy banks by helping them save in digital gold and staying bank agnostic so that no matter who a user banks with, they can always save using Jar.

4.36 PM: FanPay is a marketing and distribution partner of IDFC FIRST Bank Prepaid Card. With FamPay and its numberless prepaid card, minors can successfully make online and offline payments without the need to set up a bank account. 

4.45 PM: Saurabh Tripathi, Managing Director & Senior Partner, BCG, on 'Future of banking': “QR Codes are growing at humongous pace. Amount of transaction data is going to be huge."

4.50 PM: Saurabh Tripathi on future of banking

"Focus on customer experience

Design capability

Advance analytics

Technology stack

Partnership business" 

Also read: Lending will undergo dramatic transformation in 3 years: BCG's Saurabh Tripathi

The next session will be on 'DeFi: Disrupting or transforming banking?'

4.23 PM: Vishakha Singh, Co-founder & Vice President, WazirX NFT marketplace, on the connection between Defi and NFT: "For us, we have to acknowledge that blockchain is the 'baap' of all techs. Because of the decentralisation ethos, blockchain has posed a threat in the way we were transacting. With blockchain, it has cut down on costs. It's much faster. A lot of times, people confuse crypto as a currency only, but it's just one function of blockchain. NFT is sustaining be the cause of blockchain tech. NFTs are a source of income for collections and even NFT is still much safer."

4.24 PM: Prasanna Lohar, Head, Technology, DCB Bank, on Defi and blockchain: “This is a new way. How to look into the non-fungible assets? It can't be traded but ownership can be transferred. How can you claim multiple copies without blockchain? So there are multiple use cases of blockchain. You can find a lot of use-cases in the banking space in the future."

4.25 PM: Hemant Adarkar, Technology Advisor and Resident Senior Fellow, IDFC Institute, on the future of DeFi: “There is a limitation to even this technology. Therefore, though we all have to join the bandwagon, this has to be properly studied and regulated."

The next session is on 'How digital inclusion can aid financial inclusion'

4.40 PM: CS Setty, Managing Director, SBI, on how much banking ground has been covered in the country: "The first-time bank customers will keep adding. A large coverage has happened so far. Now we are moving towards a new phase of financial inclusion. But, the basic access to the banking is broadly covered (in India)."

4.45 PM: Bhargavi Zaveri - Shah, National University of Singapore, on financial inclusion in India: "Digital inclusion is not an end but a means to an end that hopefully, financial inclusion will give people a better life. There is a 2019 survey conducted by the National Council for Financial Education, which says at an all-India level 87 percent of people have and operate a banking account. But when it comes to the recurring deposit, 37 per cent new what it was, and 18 per cent were using the RD. Around 60 per cent of them knew what was term deposit, and 14 per cent were using a term deposit. So, after having a bank account, the next big challenge is how do you get the consumer to use the bank account more efficiently. Around 53 per cent of people were aware of credit and 12 per cent were using it. Around 30 per cent knew what a PPF account is and 9 per cent of them had a PPF account. So the first hurdle of opening more banking accounts is crossed, now the question is how do you make people use these products more efficiently."

Also read: JAM trinity transformed the concept of financial inclusion: SBI's C S Setty

The next session is on Leveraging analytics for asset resolution and managing NPAs:

5.20 PM: Aniruddha Sen, Partner, Trilegal on IBC: "There are some gaps with the IBC but on paper, it's a good law. The biggest issue is the judicial system. The availability of tribunals and justices to apply the law correctly. There is a case for more. Overall, IBC is a case of good law but it has been frustrated by the fact that its novel, which is why I think it has led to slightly less than expected performance."

5.25 PM: Pallav Mohapatra, CEO, ARCIL, on NPAs: "After 2014, the volume of NPAs went up in the large corporate sector, now almost all things have stabilised. The fresh NPAs coming out from the large corporate sector will be few now. But the stress grew in the Covid time because of the lockdown in MSE and retail sector. There might be one more outburst of NPAs. Whether it will be as bad as in the 2010 scenario, there is no definite answer, but I feel there will be one more flare-up of NPAs in the coming future."

Also read: NPAs in large corporates have more or less stabilised: ARCIL CEO

5.35 PM: RK Bansal, CEO, Edelweiss ARC, on IBC: "IBC has worked well. It is the basic question of the asset that's there in the system. Now the only thing where IBC faulted to some extent was -- not many benches; IBC started working as a typical court; and there were no good cases being referred to the IBC."

5.45 PM: Pallav Mohapatra on the liquidity issue at ARCs: "If the ARC does not have liquidity, it's going to be in the problem. Unless ARCs have skin in the game, they'll not be honest in their approach in resolving the cases."

Also read: IBC working like a typical court, not enough benches in place: R K Bansal

The next session is on 'Rise of Neobanking: Role of fintech'

5.50 PM: Virender Bisht, co-founder & CTO, Niyo, on the saving-led product: "Earlier, partnerships were not in place. In the last two years or so, this has changed. Now you can get a meeting with the bank to partner with our saving-led account. There's a class of customers who are looking for an online-only digital bank account as the solution. There's a very different language this segment speaks. When we lead with 7 per cent interest on the savings account, we attract a different set of customers. That's a large segment that's willing to give a fair trial."

6.05 PM: Kunal Varma, co-founder, Freo, on the new way of lending: "From a consumer's perspective, banking translates into -- save, spend and borrow. A large segment has a bank account, but credit is severely underpenetrated. Last year alone, the percentage of the population that was able to borrow from the structured institution was 8 per cent. The percentage of the population that was able to borrow from anywhere was 42 per cent. So the gap is massive. Eventually, you need to have a strong credit following."

6.15 PM: Swastik Nigam, co-founder and CEO, Winvesta, on new way of making international investment: “Traditionally, international banking has been a forte of large foreign banks. Throughout the pandemic, two things became clear: one, people want to invest internationally. But India's relationship with the world is a lot tighter -- they send $10 billion overseas annually; our trade with the world stands at $700 billion annually. So relation has not matured as seamlessly. Is it easy for you to open a brokerage account? Two years ago, it wasn't. Still, there are large banks that ask you to pump up $2,000 to open an account. All of this translates to some kind of trust deficit with Indian investors. For us, we understand them and are happy to serve them. We are happy to open their account in the UK, where they can hold over 35 currencies and save up those currencies for a rainy day."

6.20 PM: "Banking industry today sitting on millions of customers and this is an opportunity to seize and evolve them into digial customers," says Mukul Sukhani, Senior Vice-President of Mastercard.

Also read: Banks must adopt digital-and customer-first approach: Mastercard's Mukul Sukhani

6.30 PM: Nandan Nilekani on Aadhaar: "It's been more than a decade's journey of India's building its digital infrastructure. It began with Aadhaar, which I joined in 2009. Today, it has 1.3 billion Aadhaar users and has 700 million Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. Aadhaar is also the basis for accelerating financial inclusion because Aadhaar KYC has accelerated banking."

6.35 PM: "Aadhar e-KYC has accelerated opening of bank accounts very easily, while Aadhar enabled payments system does about 90 million transactions a month worth about 25,000 crore. Aadhar was also a basis of digital signatures and India has sophisticated digi locker system where users can safely store their data," says Nilekani.

Also read: Data-driven lending will drive India's economy going forward: Nandan Nilekani

6.50 PM: “Anyone with a smartphone can get access to financial services. The RBI recently announced that feature phones will also have features like UPI, so feature phones users will also be accessing financial services on their phones. India has unique architecture, which allows financial services on both self-service as well as assistant service mode," says Nilekani. 

6.55 PM: Nandan Nilekani on the future of banking: "Many of the classical assets like ATMs, branches may not be that valuable. Newer things like tech and big data will become important. Digital-first will become important. Consumerisation of the user will be important in the future. If we are going to attract users in financial services, we have to give them the app as digital-first. There will be a big shift to the cloud, more banks will be using could. It will require a whole new architecture. Cyber security is going to be important. We have to be careful that rogue actors are not coming and making a difference. Every part of the banking system is going through a churn. We have seen what happens with payments, we will see that with lending. We are seeing that with deposits."

7.15 PM: M Rajeshwar Rao on tech innovation: “Technological and digital innovations have improved the efficiency, productivity in delivering the financial services but have also presented a newer set of challenges for all stakeholders."

7.45 PM: Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, MoS, Ministry of Finance: "In our country, bankers and customer relations have to be taken forward. In today's time, there's no doubt that India is the land of unlimited opportunities. Nature has given us all that we can benefit from. In our sectors, the bank will need to try and make sure they place customers and new business at the centre of everything. Today's India stands at the cusp of a new era."

8.00 PM: Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad: “The entire world is looking at us with hope. This is the time we change India's position across the world. We need to make every citizen financial capable. India is bursting with new ideas. It is in the second position among countries with most start-ups. I encourage banks to understand the need of every sector and support them with different solutions."

Also read: Banks can efficiently play the role of social institutions: MoS Finance Karad

The next session on Mint Annual Banking Conclave is The roadmap for tomorrow: The CEO's panel:

Our panellists are:

1) Dinesh Khara, Chairman, State Bank of India

2) V. Vaidyanathan, MD and CEO, IDFC First Bank Ltd.

3) Rajkiran Rai G, CEO, Union Bank of India

4) Hitendra Dave, CEO, HSBC India

5) Sanjay Singh, CEO, BNP Paribas India

8.11 PM: Dinesh Khara on banking and the current economic condition: "Economy and banking have gone through turbulence. We have seen the ups and downs. Currently, the retail engine has continued to grow, corporate was a challenge as capacity utilisation was low. Later, when the lockdown was lifted, it led to supply-side constraints. But now after festivals, we have witnessed growth in the corporate sector in two months. For us at SBI, we have seen an improvement in the credit deposit ratio."

8.12 PM: V. Vaidyanathan, MD and CEO, IDFC First Bank Ltd, on the state of the banking industry: “The way we think about it, like during the pandemic, banks raised lots of capital. So they needed demand. On the corporate side, cash generation was strong, ECB was a source of funding. The bond market was very giving. There's lots of equity. Now if you go down the pyramid, they only have no option but to go to banks. Now if you go further down the pyramid, they only have to go to the banks. So in the corporate sector, you don't see much demand. But if you go down the pyramid, it’s there."

Also read: Corporate credit growth picking up lately after Covid-led challenges: SBI chief

8.16 PM: Rajkiran Rai G, CEO, Union Bank of India, on NPAs: "NPAs will always be there in the system. How prepared you are to take NPAs in your system is very important. So when you look at the books today, banks are providing much more than credit. 18 months back, we were asking corporates to pay back but now we are asking to take at whatever rate you want. So banks are after corporates so that they borrow. It is a total transition. Corporate balance sheets are also very robust. There is some NPA on the MSME-side but that is big enough to disturb the system."

8.35 PM: V. Vaidyanathan, MD and CEO, IDFC First Bank Ltd: "On the corporate side, if you have an asset and if a company went bust, you lost the money, period. Because when it comes to litigation, IBC etc, they have smart lawyers and they can afford smart lawyers who can them how to deal with the situation. But when it comes to smart consumers, they can neither afford smart lawyers nor charted accountants around them so even after a situation like Covid, which happens like once in a century, people have started paying back even after being an NPA. So this is a very key point to note, that if a company went bust, you lose money. But retail customers pay you back when the time gets better."

8.50 PM: Sanjay Singh, CEO, BNP Paribas India, on economic situation: “We expect global economic growth at somewhere north of 4.5+ in 2022, which is much above the average in general. In 2023, maybe 3.4 per cent. For the first time, we have seen more than 30 per cent retail participation globally due to negative real interest rates. Challenges in the coming years will come in the form of tapering. Globally everyone is talking about when Fed will start tapering. In our expectation, Fed will start increasing interest rates from the second half of 2022, and we are expecting seven hikes. In India, everyone is predicting a growth rate of 8-9 per cent. I won't be surprised if we end 2022 with a double-digit growth rate. Many reasons: one is how our currency worked pretty well during Covid; secondly everyone is surprised by how the government managed vaccination; and the third is Indian IT companies have surprised everyone with our AI capabilities."

Also read: Higher inflation due to supply-side constraints, is transitory: SBI chief


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