Technology has failed to reduce banking transaction costs, says RBI

RBI’s deputy governor Dr KC Chakrabarty has said that the industry needs to make a promise to the customer that banking transactions will become cheaper, faster and easier over the next decade

Banks are increasingly adopting new technologies, however, these have failed to bring down transaction costs, said Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Dr KC Chakrabarty while speaking at a banking conference organised by the Indian Banks' Association and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Mumbai. Dr Chakrabarty said that the net interest margin of banks has not reduced much especially when the structure of the business has not changed.

He said technology must enable customer facilitation in terms of cost, time and convenience and it should be dovetailed to customer needs and expectations.

About two years ago, the RBI allowed 18 banks, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and Bank of India to offer mobile banking services across the country.

However, the volume growth in mobile banking is still very low at 400,000 transactions per month, out of which one bank's contribution is more than 300,000 transactions alone. Some banks have as low as two mobile banking transactions per month, Dr Chakrabarty said.

He said that the intermediation costs of banks in India still tend to be higher than those in developed banking markets, which signals that there is a need to increase the penetration and bring down the cost per transaction.

At the same time, we need to develop effective and robust delivery models that can reach each customer irrespective of his/her location across the country, he added.

Although the discussion was focussed on transactions in the next decade, almost all panellists except Dewang Neralla, director, Atom Technologies and co-founder and director, Financial Technologies Ltd, failed to address the issue of secure and safe transactions.

Mr Neralla said going forward, we need to provide safe and secure environment to end users, which can increase the transaction volume and ultimately can bring down the cost as well. He gave an example of Tata Sky's subscription service activation/recharging through mobiles. He said more than 10% of Tata Sky's total volumes are sold through this model at a much cheaper cost. This shows that if you can create a safe and secure model, customers do not hesitate to adopt it, Mr Neralla added.

Later, commenting on the recent crash of HDFC Bank's Net banking facility, Dr Chakrabarty said that each bank has certified that they do have robust backup systems. However, customers are often left in the lurch due to technical issues at the bank's end.




2 years ago

Most certainly, the feedback having come from none else than the key person, second in hierarchy, at the helm of affairs in the RBI itself, can by no stretch of imagination, be rightly/sanely brushed aside, or ridiculed, even impudently, as single -track minded or motivated by a double-standard. On the contrary, every single concern of his, well voiced, ought to be a given serious consideration at closest quarters; and effective remedial measures be taken on a war footing.
In relation to none of the essential activities, which banks as service providers are engaged in, for the ultimate benefit of, besides its investing or borrowing customers, the society as a whole, one such measure requiring to be given the topmost priority is this: As commonly agreed, any 'discretion' vested in anyone, right from the top brass, has undeniably the potential to be misused. With that in sharp focus, the factor of 'discretion', of any kind, needs to be eliminated, and should have no role to play. Instead, must be strictly governed by per-determined ideal standards, as laid down by the Regulator , and made applicable uniformly to all its constituents, etc. in any decision-making- be it for lending or any other.
In fact, there are any number of rules to be found in the Code of Ethics And Conduct formulated, and periodically updated, but there is, as experience has shown, a cavernous gap between what the rules book says, and its actual, factual observance, in practice, even on a day to day basis.
May be, competent experts in banking, known for their integrity, might have specific suggestions to usefully offer for bringing about a marked improvement, for the well being of one and all devoutly concerned, even remotely.

IIP growth in July likely to remain in single-digits: Experts

New Delhi: Industrial output growth is likely to be sluggish in the range of 7%-8% in July, the second month in a row this fiscal when the factory output may expand by only single digit, reports PTI.

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures the industrial growth, for July is scheduled to be released by the government tomorrow.

Industrial growth had slipped to a 13-month low of 7.1% in June as manufacturing output dropped. It had fallen to single-digit growth after being in double-digits for eight consecutive months.

"We know the industrial growth is going to slow down. It is not going to be what it was. It is going back to base level," Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.

He, however, exuded optimism that despite slowdown India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth in this fiscal will reach the 8.5% target set by the government.

"Agriculture growth, which was slightly lower in the first half, should be better in second half. I remain hopeful that 8.5% (economic growth for the fiscal) is possible," Mr Ahluwalia said.

The country's GDP had grown by 8.8% in the first quarter, against 6% in the April-June period of last fiscal.

Global rating agency Crisil said it expected the IIP growth in July to be 7.6%.

"Our forecast is of 7.6% growth (in IIP figure for July). We believe sectors like auto and transportation would perform well, while cement will be weak. Growth of capital goods segment will also slow down," Crisil chief economist D K Joshi said.

He also attributed the low growth prospect to wearing off of the base effect.

"The growth during the first few months of 2009 was low which resulted in big jumps in growth rates in factory output in the same months of this year. Now that low base effect is no longer true," Mr Joshi added.

Senior economist and former director of Indian Council of Research in International Economic Relations Rajiv Kumar concurred with this view.

"The IIP growth may come down. The low base effect has withered away. And I am not sure how strongly the growth in manufacturing sector will perform," he said.


India Inc mops up Rs56,169 crore through debt on private placements

New Delhi: India Inc mopped up a whopping Rs56,169 crore through debt on a private placement basis during the first quarter of current fiscal, recording a growth of 31% compared to the same period a year earlier, reports PTI.

The April-June quarter of the current fiscal witnessed a mobilisation through debt (bonds) on private placement basis of Rs56,169 crore, up 31%, as against Rs42,715 crore mobilised in the corresponding period of the previous year, as per a report released by Prime Database today.

The funds raised during the June quarter was mobilised by a handful of 79 institutions and corporates. Only such deals which have a tenor and put/call option of more than one year are reflected in this database.

The sector that witnessed the most significant growth was the public sector undertakings (PSUs), whose mobilisation went up by 114% from Rs2,910 crore to Rs6,235 crore, Prime Database CMD Prithvi Haldea said in a statement.

According to the report, the biggest mobilisation came from all-India financial institutions/banks who recorded a 48% increase to Rs33,520 crore, compared to Rs22,650 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The highest mobilisation through debt private placements during the period was by Power Finance Corporation (PFC) (Rs6,678 crore), followed by IDFC (Rs4,420 crore), HDFC (Rs3,850 crore), IRFC (Rs3,455 crore), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) (Rs2,880 crore) and LIC Housing (Rs2,202 crore).

"On an industry-wise basis, the financial services sector continued to dominate the market, collectively raising Rs40,605 crore or 73% of the total amount. Power ranked second with a 10% share (Rs5,825 crore)," Mr Haldea said.

A fall, though marginal, in mobilisation came from private sector, down to Rs16,265 crore, compared to Rs16,961 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year, he added.

India Inc had raised Rs1.89 lakh crore through corporate bonds on private placement basis in last fiscal, an increase of 9% over the previous financial year.


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