Connect with us

News

Final Day of FCA Consultation on Branch & ATM Closures

Published

on

Tomorrow is the final day for input into the  FCA consultation on how banks manage branch and ATM closures and conversion and  whether its guidance on these matters should be changed.

Commenting on the consultation and what he hopes might happen next, Mark Aldred, bank industry expert, Auriga said:

“It is significant that the FCA is looking again at its guidance on what is a sensitive issue because previously agreed best practices on how banks plan and communicate the change of in-person banking services have fallen short.

Customers are not contacted to be asked to go branch-less but have this loss of channel choice made for themWhile banks preach a lot about the importance of omnichannel banking, they forget that in-person banking services is also a channel. Banks either simply cut it or underinvest in how in-person and in-branch self-service banking are integrated with other digital channels.

From the FCA and the banks, we do need to see clearer formulae for why a specific branch should be shuttered. Banks tend to roll out general numbers of customers who regularly use digital services, but these don’t mean the same customers never visit a branch at risk of closure. There is little evidence that banks do an in-depth analysis let alone consultation of a branch’s customer base to understand the real proportion of customers who would be affected. Even when that percentage may seem small, it may account for a substantial number of people and those customers are likely to over-represent groups who are most vulnerable to the loss of access to cash and financial services locally. Indeed, the definition of “vulnerable” customers is far too narrow and ignores groups who are massively inconvenienced by closures.

Quite simply branch and ATM service reviews need to be done in a much more considered fashion than currently. Banks take a sausage machine approach, pumping out a one size fits all justification and solution. This typically runs as too few people use bank branches and those that need in person banking services can go to their local post office. However, despite the best efforts of the post office, this is a degraded service to the one that is being closed. Few post offices have the facilities to match a closed branch and access to bank services must compete for attention with everything else a post office must offer from stamps to posting parcels to ordering a passport.

One of the other issues that needs to be addressed is how some banks are promoting new micro branches as a remedy. While these are typically branded branches, the reality is they are simply information shops without the staff or systems to help a customer with a range of specific everyday issues.

Banks should be encouraged to roll out pop up branches that can be introduced to provide banking services in new locations quickly and easily. But it is critical that these have banking facilities, and these can be cost effectively provided by next generation self-service digital banking systems.

Phony branches that lack in-person banking services are counterproductive and again illustrate how some bank’s omnichannel strategies are a broken mess.

Banks will continue to make the case for closures because of changing customer demographics. The FCA does need to ask has a bank accurately assessed how automation and digital self-service could bring down branch operating costs while keep services available.  There are proven cases of this new branch model delivering impressive results like how Italy’s Banca Carige is rolling out new digital and smart bank branches that cut operating costs by more than a third.  Branches like these can be wholly automated, staff-less 24hour, and even shared.

Sharing infrastructure among different banks could also play a role in minimising the impact of branch and ATM closures. Banks could adopt a “white label branch” model, where a single location acts as a shared service centre for all banking-related activity, regardless of which bank the customer holds an account with. Similarly, multiple banks could pool their investment in new ATMs to assure widest local coverage of free ATM services. ATM pooling is already a feature of banking in Belgium where there is a top-down commitment to providing access to cash at ATM’s within 5km of customers’  doorsteps. Other countries are taking a similar approach and the UK could learn from them.

Overall banks are too keen to rush at branch closures regardless of how they create access to cash and financial service deserts. There are alternatives that should be explored before closures are considered. Let’s hope that the new guidance helps banks be more ambitious and committed to preserving and improving in-person banking services and ATM provision.”

News

Protean and Fino Payments Bank tie-up to expand PAN card issuance services in India

Published

on

By

Fino Payments Bank has tied up with Protean eGov Technologies (formerly NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited), a market leader in universal, citizen centric and population scale e-governance solutions, to expand PAN card issuance services in India, especially in rural areas.

The association makes Fino the first payments bank to act as PAN Service Agency (PSA) of Protean and facilitate paperless PAN issuance services. The tie-up allows Protean to expand its reach in the interiors of the country through Fino Bank’s  phygital network of over 12.2 lakh merchant points.

At Fino Bank points people can apply for PAN card through Aadhaar based authentication, without the need to submit or upload any documents.

Further, applicants have the option to choose PAN card either in digital or physical form. The digital version or e-PAN, introduced recently, will be sent within a few hours of applying to the applicant’s email id. It is admissible as actual PAN card. Those opting for physical will receive their PAN cards at their Aadhaar mentioned address within 4-5 working days.

Mr. Rishi Gupta, MD & CEO, Fino Payments Bank said, “The association is a reiteration of our commitment to provide all financial related services under one roof. Our extensive pan India distribution network is best placed to provide efficient near doorstep delivery of G2C services. We are already facilitating disbursal of direct benefit transfer payments of various Government schemes and providing last mile access to banking services. We are pleased to partner with Protean towards their efforts to expand PAN coverage across the country and in the process ensure our objective of making every citizen financially secure is achieved.”

Mr. Suresh Sethi, Managing Director and CEO, Protean eGov Technologies, said, “We are delighted to partner with Fino Payments Bank as part of our strategy to contribute to a financial ecosystem that offers socio-economic benefits across all strata of the society. Our partnership will help to advance our shared vision of an inclusive and empowered India. This initiative is aligned with our mission to leave no citizen behind and bring the digitally excluded into the fold of formal financial economy.”

Since inception in 2017 Fino Payments Bank has been transforming the rural banking landscape with its extensive distribution network of over a million points. The convenience offered by the neighbourhood banking outlets has led to increased banking adoption and usage with more than 25 million customers visiting the points every month. With its innovative asset light model the transactions focused bank is profitable and as of today the only listed entity in its space.

Protean, which accepts and processes PAN applications on behalf of the Income Tax Department, Government of India, has played a pioneering role in laying down the basic e-governance infrastructure for the nation and providing citizen-centric services to the masses over the course of the last 25 years. Access and inclusion lie at the heart of any e-governance initiative and towards that the company has adopted and established a “Phygital” (Physical+Digital) model to ensure a truly inclusive service delivery paradigm.

As per Ministry of Finance, more than 43.34 crore Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) have been linked with Aadhaar till January 2022. That is around 36% of India’s population has Aadhaar linked PAN card. With more than 131 crore Aadhaar cards issued, there is immense scope for PAN card penetration, especially within those falling in income tax bracket.

Continue Reading

Finance

Cost of living: How to identify vulnerable customers

Published

on

By

Ellie Engley is account director at REaD Group

 

In the current climate, the cost of living crisis is a real challenge for financial services companies who need to be able to support their vulnerable customers. One in six (17%) of UK households (4.4 million) are now in ‘serious financial difficulties’, compared to one in ten (2.8 million) in October 2021 – an additional 1.6 million households – according to research from Bristol University, while it was recently reported that one in five adults across the UK – nearly 11 million people – have fallen behind with at least one household bill payment.

As a financial services provider, it has never been more important to be able to identify and communicate appropriately with vulnerable customers; those who, due to their personal circumstances, are especially susceptible to detriment. Not only that, but there are three different levels of poverty to be aware of: ranging from income below minimum income standard, not enough income and destitution.

As a financial service provider, then, it has never been more important to communicate sensitively to customers, price products appropriately and protect customers from fraud.

Identifying vulnerable customers

As a responsible brand, the first step is to proactively identify vulnerable customers to exclude from particular direct marketing campaigns, where additional credit or non-essential purchases could increase the pressure on their personal circumstances. This is an ethical approach to direct marketing which also sees companies increase ROI and improve campaign success.

Using both internal first party and third party data, it is possible to build up a detailed picture of customers in order to identify the existing vulnerable groups, as well as the emerging vulnerable groups within your customer base.

This data can identify vulnerable and potentially vulnerable segments of consumers, including self-declared vulnerability or that shared by a first party, such as a bank, on behalf of the consumer, along with high-cost short term credit applications; houses of multiple occupation (HMO data); and consumer vulnerability metrics. This latter employs a segmentation model which takes into account census data to provide information on demographics, such as age, income, housing, education, financial products, affluence measures; transient states such as health; market forces acting on the consumer and their susceptibility to those forces; and the individual’s market preferences.

Taken together this data will provide a rich and detailed understanding or levels and types of vulnerability so brands are able to work with their customers responsibly. Gaining a better understanding of differing vulnerable segments in a customer base helps drive effective communication strategies, while simultaneously ensuring fair treatment.

Other warning signs

Changes in transactions and behaviour are another way to identify vulnerability in customers. It may be necessary to identify different segments or groups of customers who are classed as vulnerable for different reasons. Those consumers who were once deemed ‘financially stable’ now feel financially stretched and are at greater risk of financial vulnerability through increased cost of living and rise in inflation.

The use of third party datasets can also support the identification of these groups which provide information on changes in personal circumstances, short-term finance requirements, loss of income or employment and changes to relationship or residential status.

Using external data variables helps companies make data-driven decisions on how to price products, reduce fraud, identify vulnerable customers and ultimately make more personalised decisions using data. Data can be used across different teams, including marketing, fraud and pricing, for multiple purposes and projects.

Being able to supplement the data they hold on a customer can help marketing teams to not only help identify risk but help define what their need state actually is, whether that’s saving, moving house or having children. Enhancing customer data helps companies make better informed decisions.

Keep it clean

On top of this, every financial services provider should be keeping their consumer data clean and accurate. Data that is up to date will help businesses make more informed and responsible decisions about how they communicate with customers and prospects.

Above all, financial service providers should be mindful of the many more people who are now vulnerable, and communicating with care should be a brand’s mantra for the foreseeable future.

 

Ellie Engley is account director at REaD Group, a Sagacity company, which uses its data products, insight and expertise to help its clients get closer to their customers.

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Business4 hours ago

Hidden channel costs: how to find and tackle them

By Mark Wass, Strategic Sales Director, UK and North EMEA at CloudBlue     Growth for businesses will always be a...

Finance10 hours ago

Is your business ready for finance automation?

Mari-Frances Bentvelzen, Business Head and General Manager of Global SMB at SAP Concur   As managers continue to drive their...

Top 1010 hours ago

The power of a proactive customer service

By Delia Pedersoli, COO, MultiPay   2023 is shaping up to be another challenging period for B2C businesses. While the...

Business10 hours ago

Automation nation: Liberating workers from desks, data entry and the doldrums

Gert-Jan Wijman, VP of EMEA at Celigo.   Just when businesses thought the tough times were over, even more challenges...

News10 hours ago

Protean and Fino Payments Bank tie-up to expand PAN card issuance services in India

Fino Payments Bank has tied up with Protean eGov Technologies (formerly NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited), a market leader in universal,...

Business18 hours ago

What is the True Cost of SMS Phishing?

Gemma Staite, Threat Analytics Lead   Cybercriminals will recycle attack strategies for as long as they are effective. In Fraud...

Technology1 day ago

Digital Asset Management (DAM) To Transform Enterprise Brand Management

Alexander Rich, Co-founder and CEO – Desygner    Rapid digital transformation fuelled by the pandemic has undoubtedly proven beneficial to...

Finance1 day ago

Cost of living: How to identify vulnerable customers

Ellie Engley is account director at REaD Group   In the current climate, the cost of living crisis is a...

Banking1 day ago

Is traditional business banking the best option for SME finance squeezes?

Airto Vienola, CEO, AREX Markets  The pressures facing business and personal finances alike have been well documented. Stories are now starting...

Business1 day ago

Breaking down communications silos to streamline the customer experience

Dave Tidwell, Head of Technical Pre-sales, DigitalWell   The pandemic has, without doubt, moved the goalposts when it comes to...

Business1 day ago

How growth can be a big challenge when a business becomes multiple entities

By Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director of award-winning accounting software developer, iplicit. Organisations don’t just grow in size – they also...

Wealth Management1 day ago

Keeping Cyber Insurance Premiums Down with Deep Observability

By Mark Coates, VP EMEA, Gigamon There is no doubt that the cyber insurance industry has experienced something of an...

Business1 day ago

When it comes to innovation, ignore your CEO and listen to your customer

 By Alex Hammond, Partner, Airwalk   At its core, the 2008 financial crisis was a result of banks incorrectly managing...

Business1 day ago

Netflix-style ransomware makes your organisation’s data the prize in a dark subscription economy

By John Davis, UK & Ireland Director, SANS Institute. Today’s subscription economy makes accessing nearly any service as easy as hitting enter....

Banking1 day ago

BANKING FOR BETTER 

By Alex Kwiatkowski, Director of Global Financial Services, SAS. From shifting market dynamics and mounting geopolitical tensions, to skyrocketing cyber threats...

Banking1 day ago

Why traditional banks need to embrace the agility of fintech competitors

Paul Higgins, EMEA Banking Lead, Mendix   Tech has long played a role in the finance space. The legacy applications running...

Technology1 day ago

SaaS Procurement’s Silver Bullet – How Automation is Changing the Game

Sven Lackinger, Co-Founder, Sastrify   Sven Lackinger is Co-Founder at Sastrify, the digital procurement platform for Software-as-a-Service products. Founded in...

News1 day ago

Tata Motors partners with IndusInd Bank to offer exclusive Electric Vehicle Dealer Financing

Key Highlights:   One-of-its kind Electric Vehicle Inventory Financing program for Tata Motors’ dealers  Limits extended towards EVs will be over...

Finance1 day ago

astrantiaPay Selects SaaScada to Enrich Swiss Landscape of Business Payments and Fill Market Gap

Swiss financial firm, astrantiaPay, to use SaaScada’s cloud-native core banking engine to simplify cross-border payments for SMEs and facilitate international...

Business2 days ago

How Big Data is Transforming Bilateral Trading

By Stuart Smith, Co-Head Business Development – Data & Risk at Acadia   Since its inception, Big Data has been...

Trending