How Mobile Technology is Driving Financial Inclusion in India
An Adarsh Credit Co-operative customer experiencing mobile innovation first hand is a hearty vegetable vendor named Shantilal who you can meet here. Before the recent mobile banking capabilities and outreach by his Financial Advisor Kalyandass Vaishnay, Shantilal said that he was never sure of when and even where his money was deposited. Now his transactions occur instantly and he can see everything with a real time confirmation. Previously he had no ability to do real time banking so this has been transformative for him and his family. Shantilal says that the new mobile banking service is great for him and his business.
His Advisor and friend Kalyandass Vaishnav says the new SAP Mobile solution has resulted in him running his individual business 100% faster. This new efficiency has allowed Kalyandass to devote more time to his existing customers and helping grow personal relationships with the people he serves dramatically. He added, “My customers have more confidence in me and now trust in what I do more than ever before”.
Long before the term “Banking the unbanked” made its way into today’s business and social lexicon, Adarsh Credit Co-operative Society was providing financial services to the unbanked like Shantilal even in the most remote areas of India. The Society was formed in 1999 in Western India with one branch in a small town and has quickly grown today to 750 locations with approximately 1 million members across all of India. They are based in Udaipur, a beautiful city set amidst the Aravalli Ranges of Rajasthan.
A Vision for Inclusion
Adarsh has been at the forefront of financial inclusion efforts and from its inception has been banking the underserved in the country. Priyanka Modi, the Managing Director of Adarsh Credit says that The Society was formed with a vision of helping the unbanked and that their growth has been due in large part to their willingness to go where other banks were not willing to go. Ms. Modi believes their commitment to help customers in small villages continues to be fueled by an unorthodox approach. “We provide doorstep services. We have about 100,000 advisors and they go from door to door to provide them services. We strengthen these remote areas in that way.”
Mobile phone services were available in remote areas but financial services were not. However, the ability of Adarsh to reach people in these areas recently took a giant leap forward when Adarsh deployed the SAP Mobile Platform , an application that supports its vision of banking the unbanked at any time or place across India. The SAP mobile technology allows Adarsh to provide banking services to remote and unbanked areas without depending on terrestrial connectivity and associated IT services.
Modi believes that the SAP Mobile banking solution will enable Adarsh to reach even further into what she describes as the root level of India.
“This will help the rural people not have to go miles to get the banking and financial services. That it’s now available to their doorstep, so it has brought a smile to millions of faces.”
Going person to person in some of the most remote areas of the world is seemingly unparalleled in the world of banking as doing so as long been perceived as a perilous business. There’s an old saying in India that says something like “we learn more about people at an inverse proportion to the speed that we travel, so we learn far more by walking and good inspiration will always come from that.
A Little Innovation
For its part SAP continues to explore broader notions of what innovation can be and remains the driving technological force behind global efforts to bank the unbanked around the world. Additionally, according to CTO Himanshu Shah, Adarsh’s SAP implementation timeline was just a few months. Mr. Shah said that the benefits from the SAP Mobile Platform include:
– Higher level of visibility to their cash flow
– Immediate reduction of operational costs
– 20% increase in productivity levels of their 100,000 strong field advisor force
It’s About People
No matter how far from the big cities Adarsh’s customers may reside, they are all the most important part of the latest innovation that mobile technology has to offer. The “Society” now has a world class financial inclusion platform consistent with what has been their goal since the start, to offer a path of entry for India’s unbanked into not just the banking system but to a better life.
Through groundbreaking mobile technology, the pioneer of “banking the unbanked” is still bringing community banking even to the most remote parts of India. The smile on the face of charismatic vegetable vendor Shantilal is but one example of how the Adarsh Credit Co-operative Society is helping to change millions of lives, one mobile banking transaction at a time.