最有看点的互联网金融门户

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印度的新型银行,专为“害怕”银行的印度人设计

位于世界上最大的棚户区Dharavi中的一家杂货店和一个手机充电站之间,是FINO PayTech的一个小分支机构。在这个拥挤的孟买地区,这个分支可能被误认为是另一个不显眼的零售商店——这恰恰是印度的这家最新银行寻求的那种低调。

FINO PayTech总经理兼首席执行官Rishi Gupta表示,“在我们的调查中,有一种反馈是,贫困地区的一些客户认为大型银行令人生畏。他们对自己会被如何对待持消极态度。因此,我们试图打造一种社区型银行,有给人一种家庭小作坊的感觉,这样客户可以毫不犹豫地走进去。”

FINO不是典型的印度银行。在过去一年半的时间里,它伴随着新兴银行的崛起,进入了印度的金融市场。总的来说,印度储备银行(RBI)发行了21个许可证,10个发给小型金融银行,11个发给支付银行。其中三家已经退出了市场。

支付银行FINO于6月30日开始运作,期望撬动2.33亿没有银行账户的印度人的市场。

什么是支付银行?

尽管目前印度已经拥有国有银行,私营银行,外资银行,合资银行,区域性银行和农村银行,同时除了非银行金融公司(NBFC),RBI认为印度还需要两种类型的金融机构:支付银行和小型金融银行。

支付银行可以接受存款(高达1万卢比或1551美元),销售投资和保险产品,汇款,发行借记卡和提供网上银行服务。但是,他们不能借出或发行信用卡。

这种类型的银行可以让更多的人享受到金融服务,在印度仍有40%的人口没有机会享受到正规的银行服务。在剩余的60%的人口中,仍有一些人不会利用正规的贷款服务。Gupta解释道,“这可能是因为银行距离太远,这些人将因为赶路而会损失一天的工资,或者是因为金融产品很复杂。”

印度每10万名成年人只有18台自动取款机和13.4个银行分行,而全球平均水平为43台自助取款机。

FINO的发展历程

FINO对于没有银行账户的印度人来说并不陌生。毕竟,2006年它在刚开始是作为商业代理机构(BC)运营的。BC是代表银行的代理机构,它帮助人们进行小额交易,如开户,接收存款和提款。

Gupta回顾说,2006年左右,未能享受银行服务的人数在5亿到6亿之间。因此BC是在银行不能覆盖的地区,建立最后一英里的连接。FINO由ICICI Bank孕育而生,它作为最大的私营贷款机构,义无反顾地进入了商业市场。

Gupta回顾说,“我们在偏远的村庄设立营业点,人们可以通过生物特征进行登记从而开设银行账户。村民们都很兴奋。他们会身着盛装前来,女人们会化妆并贴着bindi(印度妇女在前额正中点一个红点,称为吉祥痣),就好像他们要参加一场婚礼。”这是因为,对于没有银行账户的印度人来说,身份信息的缺失是一个持续存在的问题,但这可以在一定程度上通过开立一个银行帐户来解决。

然而,有一些事情却被忽略了。Gupta回忆道,“银行最终拥有了客户,而我们只能扮演代理机构的角色。而且,如何经营和经营的地点都由银行决定。”这种身不由己的感觉促使了FINO终有一天加入竞争行列的野心。

现在作为一家支付银行,FINO计划以年收入在1500美元到5000美元(97088卢比到43.26万卢比)之间的客户为目标。FINO拥有400个分支机构,员工人数达到4000人,它已经开始在四个州(马哈拉施特拉邦,中央邦,北方邦和比哈尔省)开展业务。

在过去的几年里,FINO已经开始通过开放汇款业务来扩大客户群体,并且它还是一家NBFC。所以,它拥有了100万的稳定客户基础,现在它计划去挖掘这些客户的潜力。

FINO受到了Blackstone,International Finance Corporation,Intel Capital,ICICI Bank和Bharat Petroleum Corporation等投资者的支持,它与Western Union加强合作,并与National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development以及其他机构合作拓展经营网络。

不过,这将不会是一件容易的事情。

David vs Goliath?

在2015年官方批准设立的11家支付银行中,Reliance Industries, Tech Mahindra, Airtel, Aditya Birla group, Vodafone 和 Cholamandalam Services脱颖而出。其他的大型机构包括印度政府的邮政部门Vijay Shekhar Sharma(它是Paytm的所有者),和Dilip Shanghvi (它是印度最大的制药商Sun Pharma的所有者),以及National Securities Depository(它是印度第一家也是最大的托管机构)。

数月之后,印度顶尖的IT服务公司之一Tech Mahindra,Shanghvi和Cholamandalam Services的退出了竞争。

Tech Mahindra的董事总经理兼CEO CP Gurnani在推出竞争后不久表示,“由于竞争压力,边际利润开始受到下滑,我们意识到投资回收期已经变得非常非常长。”

现有银行的竞争一直是一个压倒性的问题。Narendra Modi政府在2014年推出一项名为Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana的金融包容性计划之后,竞争局势变得十分紧张。根据政府估计,从那时起,约有2.9亿个账户在这一计划下开通,覆盖了印度99.7%的家庭。所以曾经没有银行账户的印度人中的一大部分都被纳入了金融体系,这压缩了支付银行的目标市场。

盈利能力是另一个棘手的问题。银行收入的主要来源是其存款利率(通常为4-7%)和贷款(9-24%)之间的差额。由于支付银行不能贷款,所以他们的收入是有限的。此外,他们只能投资于收益率仅有7-8%的政府证券。因此,大多数支付银行预计盈利能力在成立后的至少五年内仍然难以估测。

FINO在2017年3月的营业额仅为34亿卢比,2015年3月的利润为10亿卢比(最新的公开数据),FINO知道它不能与大型金融机构相抗衡。

Gupta表示,“公平地说,我很高兴我们没有夹在大型机构中间。只要你是在为投资者赚钱的,那么无论你是David还是Goliath,都没关系。他们被不同的目标引领,这种银行业的风险仅是游戏的一小部分。但对于我们来说,这就是全部,所以我们会投入100%的精力。”

他回忆说,他在2009年左右访问了德里最大之一的批发市场Chandni Chowk。即使在印度首都的心脏地带,也有大量的人没有机会享受到银行的服务。 “结果,他们中的多数人过去常常会花钱,因为他们害怕被人偷。或者,他们让店主帮忙保存金钱,不过又发现很难与别人的钱区分开来。那个时候我们意识到,如果能让银行机构接触这样的群体,并保持金融产品的简单明了,那么发展机会是巨大的。”

这就是FINO对Dharavi和印度其他地区的发展计划。

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Tucked between a grocery store and a mobile phone recharge outlet in Dharavi, one of the world’s largest shantytowns, is a small branch of FINO PayTech. In that congested Mumbai locality, this branch could be mistaken for another inconspicuous retail shop—exactly the kind of low profile India’s newest bank seeks.

“In our surveys, one feedback was that several customers from the economically weaker sections found big banks intimidating. They were skeptical of how they will be treated,” said Rishi Gupta, managing director & CEO of FINO PayTech. “Therefore, we have tried to become a neighbourhood bank with the look and feel of a mom & pop store where the customer can walk in without hesitating.”

FINO, isn’t the quintessential Indian bank. It is among a new breed that has entered the country’s financial market over the last year-and-a-half. In all, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had issued 21 licences, 10 for small finance banks and 11 for payments banks. Of these, three quit the race.

Payments bank FINO began operations on June 30, looking to tap the 233 million unbanked Indians.

What are payments banks?

Despite several state-owned, private, foreign, cooperative, regional, and rural banks having established themselves in India, besides non-banking financial companies (NBFC), the RBI felt the need for two new categories: payments banks and small finance banks.

Payments banks are allowed to accept deposits (up to Rs1 lakh or $1,551), sell investments and insurance products, remit money, issue debit cards, and provide internet banking facilities. However, they can’t lend or issue credit cards.

This category has been introduced to promote financial inclusion in a country where 40% of the population still does not have access to formal banking services. Among the remaining 60%, several still don’t use formal lending services. “This may be because banks are too far and they (customers) will lose a day’s wage in travelling, or the products are complicated,” explained Gupta.

India has only 18 ATMs—and 13.4 bank branches—per 1,00,000 adults, compared to a global average of 43 ATMs.

FINO’s journey

FINO is no stranger to unbanked India. After all, it started off as a business correspondent (BC) in 2006. BCs are agents who work on behalf of banks to help people perform small transactions like opening accounts, accepting deposits, and making withdrawals.

Around 2006, Gupta recalled, the number of people out of the banking fold was between 500 million and 600 million. Therefore, BCs were introduced to provide last-mile connectivity in areas that banks couldn’t reach. Incubated under ICICI Bank, India’s largest private lender, FINO dived into the business headfirst.

“We put up camps in remote villages to enroll people for biometrics to open bank accounts. The villagers were extremely excited. They used to come dressed in their finest clothes, women would wear make up and bindi, as if they were going for a wedding,” recalled Gupta. This is because, for unbanked Indians, lack of identity was a persistent problem that could be solved partly by opening a bank account.

However, something was missing, Gupta recalled. “Banks ultimately owned the customers and we were merely acting as agents. Moreover, the process of how to do business or which geographies to operate in was decided by the bank,” he said. This nagging feeling fuelled FINO’s ambition to join the fray some day.

Now, as a payments bank, FINO plans to target customers with an annual income of between $1,500 and $5,000 (Rs97,088 and Rs3,23,600). With 400 branches and an employee strength of 4,000, FINO has begun operations in four states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

In the last few years, it had begun expanding its base by opening money remittance services and also an NBFC. So, it had a ready customer base of one million, which it now plans to tap.

Backed by investors such as Blackstone, International Finance Corporation, Intel Capital, ICICI Bank, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation, it has tied up with Western Union and is also working with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, among others, to expand its network.

It won’t be an easy ride, though.

David vs Goliath?

Of the 11 players granted in-principle approval in 2015 to set up payments banks, some names that stood out were Reliance Industries, Tech Mahindra, Airtel, Aditya Birla group, Vodafone and Cholamandalam Services. Other big players included the Indian government’s department of posts, Vijay Shekhar Sharma (owner of Paytm), and Dilip Shanghvi (owner of India’s largest drugmaker Sun Pharma), and National Securities Depository, India’s first and largest depository.

A few months on, Tech Mahindra, one of India’s top IT services firm, Shanghvi, and Cholamandalam Services withdrew from the race.

“Unfortunately, due to the competitive pressures, the margins began getting squeezed so much that we realised the payback period has become very, very long,” CP Gurnani, managing director and CEO of Tech Mahindra, said soon after dropping out of the race.

Competition from existing banks had always been a pressing concern. The situation intensified after the Narendra Modi government launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, a financial inclusion scheme, in 2014. Since then, some 290 million accounts have been opened under the scheme, covering 99.7% of Indian households, according to government estimates. So a large section of once unbanked Indians has been brought into the financial system, shrinking the market for payments banks.

Profitability is another sticky issue. A major source of a bank’s revenue is the difference between the interest rate at which it takes deposits (typically 4-7%) and lends (between 9-24%). As payments banks can’t lend, their earning is limited. Moreover, they are allowed to invest only in government securities which give returns of just 7-8%. Most payments banks, therefore, expect profitability to remain elusive for at least five years after launch.

FINO, with a turnover of just Rs324 crore in March 2017 and profit of Rs 10 crore in March 2015 (the latest available numbers), knows that it doesn’t stack up against the big boys.

“To be fair, I am happy that I am not among the big players. As long as you are making money for your investors, then it doesn’t matter whether you are David or Goliath,” said Gupta. “They are guided by a different aspiration and this banking venture just forms a tiny part of the game. For us, this is all that there is and so we will put in our 100%.”

He recalls his visit to Chandni Chowk, one of Delhi’s largest wholesale markets, around 2009. Even there, in the heart of India’s capital city, a large number of people did not have access to a bank. “As a result, most of them used to either spend their money because they were scared someone will steal it. Or, they saved it with shopkeepers where they found it difficult to keep a tab. It was then that we realised that if you get the bank close to such individuals and keep the products simple, then the opportunity is huge.”

That’s FINO’s plan for Dharavi, and the rest of India.

本文系未央网专栏作者朱孔达发表,属作者个人观点,不代表网站观点,未经许可严禁转载,违者必究!


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