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Innovating to serve

Posted by Puneet Chhahira (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:18 AM

Digital banking opens up pathways for traditional banks to pursue new opportunities within new ecosystems, markets and communities. Access can now be taken for granted. Rising mobile penetration, and freedom from the limitations, or need, for a physical presence, means that banks can now expand into areas that previously did not meet the cost-benefit cutoff. And it is not merely about access. Given the innate flexibility and versatility of the digital model, banks can even purpose-design and deliver products and services to fit the needs and circumstances of even the smallest of communities.

The Innovation in Societal and Community Impact category at the BAI - Infosys Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards serves as a perfect microcosm of the enormous potential in this area. Take for example, last year's nominations in this category. Of the four overall finalists, two (BAC|CREDOMATIC and CaixaBank) focused on innovating products and services for people with disabilities, another (Fifth Third Bank) created a new service to help people affected by the turmoil in the housing market and the final nominee (CaixaBank again) created a digital service that made it easier for customers to manage their charitable donations.

This year's finalists prove that there can be any number of variations on that particular theme.

JSC TBC Bank essentially transformed their Universal Sales Agents into mobile branches by empowering them with technology. Mobile applications are helping these agents deliver a host of on-site services, with customers never having to actually visit a branch. Nusenda Credit Union created a collaborative financial product called Co-op Capital to improve access to capital for low-income entrepreneurs. Member organizations like co-ops, unions and associations not only sponsor loans on behalf of their member affiliates but also provide the required collateral. Kumsal from DenizBank is a similar program targeted at small enterprises and entrepreneurs. It is essentially a cloud-based multitasking platform that provides digital business management tools such as contact storefront, group email & SMS marketing, social media integration and publishing. Caixabank is taking the community route to enhance engagement with existing customers as well as to attract new ones. The bank has created the EnFamilia multiEstrella Community, a private social network where customers can create and interact securely with their 'family'. Customers are allowed to invite even non-customers to their 'family' space.

Digital banking helps create access to at least basic financial services to the thousands of communities that are still unbanked or underbanked. Additionally, as our nominees have demonstrated, it is not merely about providing access, but also about creating products and services that are designed for specific need groups. There again the digital model can help by cutting out the costs and complexity of creating and delivering these services. As our banking pioneers innovate their way into new and until now underserved markets, we hope you will join us in celebrating their motivations and achievements at the award ceremony.

Winners and finalists will be recognized by Infosys Finacle and BAI during an awards ceremony at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference & Expo, on Oct. 13th at 3 PM, in Las Vegas, NV, USA.

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