Jana Small Finance Bank doubles down on creating digital experiences for customers

As the Indian banking system goes through a churn amid digital transformation, small finance banks are on a high-growth trajectory compared to commercial banks.

Latest data released by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) show that deposits of most small finance banks have increased this year, owing to higher interest rates on deposits and a faster branch expansion.

According to Ashish Gopal Saxena, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Jana Small Finance Bank Ltd, they had a digital-first strategy since launch and today, almost 98 per cent of the bank’s transactions are done through digital channels.

Saxena told IANS that Jana carries no legacy infrastructure and the Cloud has opened doors to a new breed of fintech solution providers who offer AI-powered, Cloud-ready solutions which can be deployed quickly, and offer better configurability.

Here are the excerpts from an interview:

Q: When it comes to your digital bank strategy, how are you reimagining end to end customer journeys?

A: Jana has had a digital first strategy since launch and today, almost 98 per cent of the bank’s transactions are done through digital channels. Safety, security, and user experience have been the core tenets of our strategy. Jana was one of the frontier small finance banks to launch video-KYC based on-boarding as a part of its customer self-onboarding platform, DigiGen.

It allows customers to get a full-KYC savings, and fixed deposit account within minutes in a fully secure manner from the safe confines of their home. Self-servicing, straight-through processing, and anywhere-anytime access are important “first” principles in our digital ecosystem, and our product launches are tailored around them.

All our employee-assisted on-boarding channels are fully mobile enabled coupled with deep integration with a host of service providers for KYC validations, AML and Dedupe Checks, Fraud Management, Credit Bureau Checks, customer communication etc. enabling a seamless user-experience.

In keeping with our self-service ideal we have provisioned a host of services like QR-code generation, e-NACH mandate setup, EMI payments via UPI in partnership with PSPs etc. allowing customers to transact in a safe and secure manner.

To commemorate 75 years of India’s independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Digital Banking Units (DBU) across the nation, and Jana was the only small finance bank to be part of this pioneering endeavour. The bank launched three DBU branches equipped with our DigiGen Platform for self-onboarding, kiosks, cash-recyclers, and other digital services.

We are soon launching the next generation of self-service capabilities through our Internet and mobile banking platforms offering a bouquet of features to our asset customers, enhanced security features during login using biometric and face, alternative secure registration capability, new product offers and fulfilment etc. all of which significantly enhance the customer experience along their end-to-end journey.

We recently launched our open banking API platform to extend our integration services to fintechs and neo-banks etc. allowing them to create personalised journeys for their customer base.

Q: With the economy and the credit cycle picking up, how are you ensuring that Jana Bank’s digital transformation is at par with the best digital platforms across the spectrum?

A: Expecting the post-pandemic uptick in economy & credit cycle we at Jana have significantly invested over the last 1 year in the next generation of our Loan Origination System which is live for several asset products.

Embedding deep integration with specialised partners for credit appraisal & through product specific score cards the bank offers one of the industry leading TAT for loan approvals while maintaining stringent control over credit quality. In addition, we have re-launched our MSME Supply Chain Finance segment with end-2-end integration encompassing on-boarding, credit appraisal, approvals and disbursement offering fully integrated corporate programmes for suppliers and vendors.

Coupled with virtual accounts to facilitate EMI re-payments, it offers our MSME customers a seamless digital experience. Recognising the growing asset business volumes the bank has adopted Robotic Process Automation (RPA) across its back-office operations to automate predictable process steps requiring human intervention, leading to significant business growth, reduced TAT and improved quality.

Q: How are you upgrading your legacy IT stack to make it digital ready?

A: Jana is relatively new bank with a long legacy of providing financial services. None of the bank’s enterprise systems are “legacy” as such but do need periodic functional and technical upgrades. To that end the bank follows a very disciplined & rigorous approach to tracking and remediating obsolescence risks associated with any platform. We are migrating our CRM system with a richer workflow management capability, smooth & straight through service request fulfillment, integrated with onboarding and servicing channels cross-sell, integrated with contact center and powered with Robotics based Automation, and much more. Across our technology stack we carry no legacy infrastructure. Our integration services are powered by a robust, and modern platform which allows us to extend these capabilities to other partners.

Q: What did Cloud technology allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?

A: AWS has enabled us to focus on building applications and integrating them across the enterprise in a secure manner without having to deal with the overhead of hosting and managing technology infrastructure across multiple in-house data centres.

The standardised and simplified management of Cloud infrastructure has infused significant agility in our end-to-end delivery life-cycle with increased focus on functionality and performance. Significant aspects like scalability, availability, disaster recovery, monitoring etc. are automatically taken care of by cloud service providers with redundancy built-in.

The Cloud has also opened doors to a new breed of fintech solution providers who offer AI powered, Cloud-ready solutions which can be deployed quickly, and offer better configurability.

AWS has enabled us towards decreased time to market, an effective use of resources, and improved availability.

20221207-130603

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