With an aim to boost financial inclusion in rural areas, HDFC Bank, India’s leading private sector bank, has introduced a Digital Distribution Platform (DDP) – ‘HDFC Bank Smart Saathi’, a state-of-the-art solution which is built on a robust and digitally enabled technology architecture that provides a secure and user-friendly experience to all its users. This launch marks a significant milestone in HDFC Bank’s mission to provide innovative solutions that cater to the evolving needs of its customers. This platform will use advanced technology solutions to connect Business Correspondents (BCs) and Business Facilitators (BFs) to the bank. This network of Business Correspondents and Business Facilitators will boost financial inclusion by taking banking products and services to the last mile. The bank’s deep learning of the semi-urban and rural ecosystem has been utilised to develop this user-friendly platform.
“Digital Platforms such as these will contribute towards fulfilling India’s vision of a cashless economy and true digital financial inclusion. HDFC Bank Smart Saathi will contribute by making banking products and services available, especially credit for rural customers, which will help develop our country. However, there are still behavioural changes that are required across some customer segments like farmers transacting at mandis, to make cashless India a bigger success. The Business Correspondents will help bring about this behavioural change,” said Vivek Joshi, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Government of India.
“Over the next 12 to 18 months we plan to reach two lakh villages through a combination of our branches and agent network. The launch of this platform is an important step towards meeting this objective. The prosperity of rural India, where about 70 per cent of our people live, is integral to realising the vision of $ 5 trillion economy,” said Smita Bhagat, Group Head, Government and Institutional Business, Alternate Banking Channels and Partnerships, Inclusive Banking Group and Start-Ups, HDFC Bank.
Business Correspondents have traditionally focused primarily on opening accounts and transactions. HDFC Bank Smart Saathi, as a key differentiator, will enable its agents to offer over 40 banking products and services, including loan products. This will help in enhanced income generation for the agents and also help customers to access easy credit. The platform will also boost capacity building for agents and further financial literacy for customers.
‘HDFC Bank Smart Saathi’ was launched in Delhi by Vivek Joshi and Smita Bhagat. Also present were Mukesh Bansal, Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and senior executives Dinesh Luthra and Ajay Sharma from HDFC Bank.
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