Rishi Gupta, MD & CEO, Fino Payments Bank
A silent revolution is taking place in the rural hinterlands of the country, Bharat as we call it. Interestingly, banking - access and adoption - is at the forefront of this development.
Over 90% of households in India have a bank account, but lack of infrastructure continues to be a challenge to access banking services in Bharat. Further, as the inconvenience of travel, cost and loss of income keeps people away from banks, they miss the benefits offered by the formal banking.
This scenario is gradually changing with technology at the forefront. In the last half-a-decade or so banking largely has been driven by F-A-D-S - Fintech innovation, Aadhaar authentication, Data consumption and Smartphone penetration!
During my visits to the interiors of the country I noticed a remarkable change in the banking behaviour of the locals. Neighbourhood shops such as kirana, mobile repair, jeweller and even Bharat Petroleum outlets are behind this change.
What you see in the picture is a Fino banking point located at Maidani village in MP’s Rewa district. Deploying F-A-D-S-led digital solutions such as Micro ATMs, AePS and smartphone based banking app, have converted Ashish Kumar Dwivedi’s cyber café into a banking outlet.
Similarly, Sumalatha’s kirana store in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh and Chottu bhai’s photo studio in the outskirts of Ahmedabad in Gujarat are among the 4 lakh Fino banking points spread across the country. These outlets have brought banking closing to people working or living nearby.
I had the opportunity to visit many of these outlets and it is great to see people availing banking services without any hassles. Be it new bank account opening, cash deposit, withdrawal, money transfer, utility bill payment or even buying insurance, customers can visit the outlet at any time of the day till it is open.
What a change it has been?
From avoiding banks to engaging with them in their neighbourhood!
For customers of Bharat there couldn’t have been a better solution :- A neighbourhood store, familiar and trustworthy, open till late hours is now a banker!
People like Ashish, Sumalatha and Chottu bhai, the friendly neighbourhood small business owners are the new age bankers, the social change makers!
These millennial, tech savvy and aspirational new age bankers are transforming the rural banking landscape and economy in the following ways:
Increase in adoption and usage:- With improved accessibility, banking adoption and usage is increasing. MEITY’s digital payments ratings reiterate this fact.Driven by micro ATM and AePS led rural transactions Fino is among the top performers, month-on-month!
Generate rural employment:- Self-employment and second income opportunities as bankers help earn around Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 a month, quite a sum!
Improve quality of life:- Customers use time productively, earn and save more. Merchants earn extra, expand business, gain goodwill and respect as bankers.
Reduce migration:- As opportunities increase, decline in migratory trend to urban areas.
The changing social scenario is rightly summed up by Ashish, “Neighbourhood shops with digital devices have improved banking access and removed the inconveniences faced by customers. The banking habits of my customers have changed, so has my earning and lifestyle.”
Truly, banking is transforming Bharat and it fills me with pride to see Fino showing the way!
Remove banking barriers:- The vast phygital network (mix of physical outlets and digital platforms) brings banking closer to customers, almost near doorstep.