The State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lending institution is to experiment with branchless banking after announcing plans to launch a digital-only bank later this year.
The SBI Digi Bank will offer end-to-end digitisation for products and services, akin to digital-only banks such as Europe's M-Bank and Canada's Tangerine Bank
“We are working on a digital-only bank where no individual will be visible to the customer and all transactions will be done with the help of apps, internet banking and mobile banking,“ said an official at the bank to The Economic Times. “It will be an omni-channel, omni-device digital bank which will be available to both new and existing customers.“
The digital-only bank will be built on Aadhaar infrastructure and will be device-agnostic, says SBI. But while the eventual aim is to have a completely digital service with no manual intervention of any kind, the bank concedes that staff will be used in the initial phase of the new bank.
SBI will be hoping that the launch of the Digi Bank goes more smoothly than its efforts to grow its share of the digital payments market. The bank recently angered customers by blocking them from topping up their mobile wallets using third-party internet banking services and directing them to its own application, State Bank Buddy.
The bank insists that the move was based on security concerns with the other platforms.
The demonetisation policy enacted by the Indian government in 2016 which saw the withdrawal of 86% of the rupees in circulation has divided opinion in India but it has also led to a massive increase in demand for digital payments, hence the efforts by banks to step up their digital payment plans.
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