How Federal Bank uses RPA, analytics and blockchain for processes
Kochi-based private lender Federal Bank has adopted multi-pronged digital strategy to be ahead of technology and stay in the race. Speaking exclusively to Express Computer, Jithesh P V, Deputy Vice President and Head – Digital, talks about the use case of RPA and blockchain
What does ‘Digital’ mean for your company, and what are the key elements of your digital strategy?
Digital is at the forefront of all that we do, and hence our theme is “Digital at the fore, human at the core”. Digital drives our business. Our digital strategy is multi-pronged. On one side, we focus on migrating existing customers to our various digital platforms, so as to complement branches to focus more on customer acquisition and customer service. On the other hand, digital is also helping the customers in improving ease of doing business by product and process improvements with the help of cutting edge technology.
With ever-changing customer behavior and technology lead disruptions, what is the future of banking and financial services?
Banking is here to stay. The world needs banking, probably the way in which it is done, whether it is through a brick and mortar environment or through a mobile banking channel or through a voice assistant or may be through a machine led economy, could change, but banking is part of the economic environment. What is important is to be ahead of technology and stay in the race.
How are you leveraging new-age technologies?
We work closely with all major tech giants and a lot of FinTech companies. There is a lot of work happening around blockchain and I am sure blockchain is probably the one technology that would be the catalyst for disruption in the BFSI sector, not just payments alone. We are already using blockchain for outward remittances. We have successfully used blockchain for an existing use case of foreign inward remittances. We now have a sophisticated and robust platform for our partners using blockchain. We are also using RPA for some of the repetitive processes and nearly 30 processes have been automated using RPA. Also, we have our first chatbot in our website since 2015. We are working with a FinTech partner to create a chatbot for internal users.
What are the challenges faced by the banking industry due to the rapid adoption of AI?
I don’t see any challenges but opportunities due to rapid adoption of AI. Banks are today struggling to reduce cost of operations, provide unparalleled customer experience, and to have 360 degree view for decision making. With the rapid adoption of AI, Banks are going to achieve all these. AI can be used for personalised wealth planning, customer service, Fraud and risk management, collections, predictive analysis etc which would help Banks to reduce operational costs, better customer experience and better decision making.
How are you using analytics in customer segmentation, need-based analysis and hyper-personalisation of offerings?
Today, analytics is intermingled with whatever we do, whether it is new product offerings, cross sell or upsell. We have created a separate vertical for analytics and over a dozen members are working round-the-clock to give insights to various business entities within the organisation. We have used analytics to build a personal loan portfolio of more than Rs 600 crore. The hyper-localised digital personal loan offered to the eligible customer is powered by the leads generated into a customer engagement platform with the help of our analytics tools. The technology deployed is such that once the offer is received, money is disbursed into the customer’s account with a single click in less than a minute. We have a team of individuals churning and analysing data continuously and they provide thousands of insights to various stakeholders.
While implementing new technologies, what challenges do you face?
New technologies sometime may pose non-compatibility issues and we may need to upgrade some of the existing systems or technologies to adopt some of these new technologies. Second is the reskilling of people to work with these technologies. Third would be the preparedness of the external environment to embrace such technologies or products. An example would be the migration of emails to cloud which demanded implementation of additional security controls like DLP and 2FA.
At Federal Bank, what are your top priorities?
My priorities would be enhancing the customer experience in our existing digital platforms, working towards making the life of over 12000 employees easier by bringing process improvement, and supporting the organisation in its target to increase the return on assets and return on equity. Promoting innovation, embracing new technologies and fostering a digital culture are key to achieve these priorities.
What’s the proportion of operations at Federal Bank that has moved to the cloud?
In terms of our current installations, we have invested sufficiently on infrastructure and we are not looking at cloud as an alternative to reduce cost. While, we may not add to more infrastructure, we may selectively use cloud as we look at future implementation. For instance, we use Office 365 Cloud for all our mailboxes. Some of the services we avail from partners are also hosted on cloud. As we are dealing with sensitive customer data, security is our prime concern and hence a cloud implementation may require having the same set of security features which we have in our data center. Hence we are currently looking at non-critical systems to be hosted in the cloud environment.
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