PM Narendra Modi’s initiative, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, to make the unbanking mass, especially in rural areas to have a bank account and a debit card, was a grand success. The campaign’s paramount success also helped it find a place in the Guinness Book of Records for opening the highest number of bank accounts within the shortest time span. Around 17 million bank accounts were registered, among which 10 million were from the rural sector. But, this couldn’t make people savvy enough to handle banking transactions or use their debit cards.
Technology-oriented banking services are yet to reach the rural realm. Financial transactions, scheme, and policies are still intricating for the rural mass. However, recently, some top Unified Communication players like PeopleLink has flared up the rural banking scenarios with video enabled banking solutions. These virtual collaborative solutions are designed to assist rural customers in acquiring information about the financial policies and protocols of the bank and guide them to hassle free transactions.
Video enabled banking services can be easily handled through mobiles, laptops and desktops. Banks can collaborate with the village panchayats to provide the villagers a comprehensive knowledge about the handling and operations of the video banking services.
Rural Banking Challenges
Despite relentless campaigns and initiatives, some areas in the rural sector are still unbanked. Some reasons behind this are discussed below.
Setting up a branch in an unfavorable demographic is more difficult than it is thought.Employees retention is also a big issue as most employees are not happy with rural postings.
Lack of training
The up-gradation process or professional training isn’t very frequent for rural banking employees, hence, they are not completely aware of the current financial trends, market scenario or policies and schemes of their banks.
Lack of co-ordination
Delayed communication due to demographic constraint often affects the coordinated performance and implementation of plans. Hence, protocols /policies/scheme take an unexpected longer time to get implemented compared to the urban branches.
The lack of timely communication affects prompt decision making and hence rural branches often suffer from low profitability.
Benefits of virtual collaboration in rural banking
Easy and fast query elucidation
The rural commonalities often have loads of misconceptions and doubts regarding banking and financial services. Visiting banks, standing in long queues, obscure banking policies, confuses them even more. Hence, most of them are reluctant to register an account. Video enabled banking services can be instrumental in training rural consumers in digital banking. They can establish a virtual connection with the staff, through their mobiles. Laptops or desktops and get their queries resolved even without visiting the branch.The rural customers are no more tethered only to local banking staffs. The face-to-face communication can channelize them to the right professional where all their financial qualms can be satisfactorily met.
Improved internal communication
A fully video enabled banking is also contributory in improving internal communication and staff training. Video Conferencing Solutions for Banks and Financial Organizations allows two-way communication unlike all the other communication mediums like emails, video streaming etc. The remote staffs can seek virtual assistance from the higher authorities and also get updates on the financial market, changes in the bank policy. Live streaming of events involving all the remote branches can also be made possible.
Promotes branch-less banking
Video Collaborative Solutions streamlines the entire banking process, promotes mobile banking and thus abridges the requirement of multiple job roles, allowing banks with the provision to go branch-less.
Banking in hinterlands is fast moving towards digitization. Alternate banking touch-points are slowly replacing their brick and mortar alternatives. Remittance through alternative methods like the internet and mobile banking signifies the cultural shift towards digital banking among the rural population.
According to experts,branch-less banking can be auxiliary in achieving overall financial inclusion in India. Virtual collaboration helps in successful implementation of the concept of branchless banking.Mobile technology has become ubiquitous in India, even in the rural fronts. Based on this, mobile banking, if implemented effectively, can be conducive in assisting the rural mass and also the urban underprivileged with banking services like the credit receival, payments and deposits, amount transfer, account openings and loan approvals.
Virtual collaboration or Video Conferencing Solutions can also help in popularizing newer endeavors like ‘Banks-on-Wheel’, a bus, accoutered with voice-video conferencing and data exchange technologies, acting as a mobile bank and reach out to the population in the unbanked areas.
With digital literacy spreading fast, rural Indian financial spaces shall soon go branch-less and virtual collaborative solutions will form the bedrock of digitized rural banking.