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印度:买杯咖啡的时间就能开个银行账户

在印度,对光顾咖啡连锁店每日咖啡(Café Coffee Day)的顾客来说,只需持有生物识别ID卡Aadhaar与Digibank应用,就能在购买咖啡时开通Digibank银行账户。

每日咖啡每家门店都配备了指纹识别机,以在线验证顾客身份。完成身份验证后,Digibank的软件接入门店收款机,提取信息,旋即开户。目前,印度主要城市中500多家每日咖啡门店均参与了此项合作。

2016年四月,星展银行在印推出了此仅限于移动平台运转的数字银行Digibank。

Digibank目前用户规模为120万,预计到2021年将达到500万。此数据对星展银行这一主导新加坡小型市场的银行来说似乎十分可观,但对拥有13亿人口的印度来说不过是沧海一粟。且Digibank在印度进行的是长效博弈。

Digibank与印度大型企业Reliance合作之后便加快了发展势头。Reliance希望通过电子钱包向其1亿客户提供返现和积分奖励等优惠。星展银行对其电子钱包进行了重新贴牌,化身为Reliance旗下产品。但该电子钱包的特性使得Digibank成为Reliance用户开通账户的首选。

星展与Reliance合作为其解决了一项重大难题:如何以数字手段获客。为扩大合作,星展银行开展了各种营销合作提升知名度,如其赞助了印度板球队Rising Pune Supergiants。

营销活动辅以技术战略,星展银行在印度市场的经验为其在印度尼西亚开展类似的试验提供了指导。

Digibank不设网店,实行无纸化办公,淘汰了昂贵繁杂填写表格的要求。顾客仅需使用Digibank的应用就可开设账户,完成支付与转账,进行其他交易。

Gledhill表示Digibank使其能迅速渗入小额银行业务市场,所需成本仅为设立传统银行网点的五分之一。

Digibank采用技术削减了运营成本,就可在付息时更为慷慨。Digibank账户持有者可获7%的利息。该利率为市场之高之一,有助其赢得顾客,也为实现更好的客户参与打下基础。

Digibank应用中搭载的人工智能技术使其可实时回复顾客问询,无需人工干预。星展银行今年6月在一份声明中表示,AI技术助其更好地了解顾客的银行活动,使该银行能理清顾客真正所需的服务。

印度支持数字服务的大环境也对助推了Digibank的成功。生物识别身份卡Aadhaar可加快在线审核速度,Gledhill肯定了其在促进实时开通账户上发挥的功效。印度有10多亿人持有Aadhaar身份卡。

印度市场环境已然完备

研究显示,印度时全球智能手机使用度增长最快的国家之一。风投公司KPCB《2017互联网趋势》报告显示,80%的网站流量由移动设备产生。

印度海拥有庞大的无银行账户及未充分享有银行服务客户群。咨询公司普华永道表示,2015年印度有2.33亿人从未去过银行。

星展银行在考虑了所有这些因素后作出决定,认为采取数字手段使其拓展业务的唯一途径。开设实体银行花费不菲,耗时过长。政府通常不赞同外资银行,因此收购现有银行也十分棘手。星展银行就曾遭遇过滑铁卢,此前其收购印尼Bank Danamon的提案破局。

Gledhill阐述了星展银行发展成为强大区域性银行的雄心,他说道:"采取数字化途径是唯一的出路。

然而星展银行也意识到此举可能失败,并相应作出了准备。在Digibank 9个月的研发期内,其团队就产品的各个方面进行了测试,如产品特点、交易高峰阶段处理度、产品更新、用户设计等。Gledhill称,这一开发改进的过程使银行"得以了解其移动银行接受度如何,对其成功率较有把握。"

开发改进模式助力此移动银行确立了其客户群,即印度主要城市日益富裕且精通技术的群体,以及本就倾向使用手机上网的人群。

Digibank还调整了其产品研发周期。Digibank本计划每周更新一次移动应用,但苹果公司通常每两周更新应用,因此其转而采取月更新计划。

为确保交易顺畅,星展银行使用了亚马逊云服务基础架构,保证不间断运行。亚马逊云服务可在仅仅两周内转移其后端主机服务,以支持Digibank。

印度竞争环境

Digibank在印度并未有自由移动银行。其需与Paytm、Airtel、India Post及Fino等印度企业所设支付银行竞争。星展银行在印仅有12家分行,而上述企业均由上百家实体银行,遍布印度各地,完善其移动服务。

此外,印度科技博客Trak-in2016年在一份报告中称,Digibank可能是星展银行拓展在印业务的唯一途径。新加坡并不允许印度国家银行及印度工业信贷投资银行在该国拓展业务。新加坡称,原因在于《两岸综合经济合作协定》中某项政策的限制。

尽管如此,安永公司近期有关亚太地区银行业的一份报告指出,"对有着高手机渗透率及人口分散的地区来说,专注数字银行尤具吸引力,比如说印度尼西亚就是如此,在该地区,有着完善数字服务的市场新入者有可能颠覆市场。"

该报告同时还警示了风险,即若专攻在线银行过多,则有可能造成竞争乏力,导致该领域难以为继。

星展银行早先主张成为亚洲仅在移动端运行的银行,该领域尚未由其他银行涉足,对道阻且长。该银行数字已成已得到认可。2016年7月,星展银行成为首家被知名《欧洲货币》年度卓越奖评为"全球最佳数字银行"的银行。星展银行险胜ING与花旗银行,成为首获此殊荣的亚洲银行。

Gledhill还获得了于5月颁发的2017 MIT斯隆商学院CIO领导力奖。该奖项表彰创新性使用IT技术,在实现商业价值中作出表率的CIO。

In India, customers of Café Coffee Day, a popular chain, can open a Digibank bank account when they pay for coffee. To do so, they need only their biometric-enabled ID card called Aadhaar, and Digibank's app.

Each cafe outlet has a thumbprint reader for online authentication of customers. After this is confirmed, the bank's software interfaces with the café's cash register, captures the information, and opens the bank account.

DBS Bank launched Digibank, a mobile-only bank in India in April last year.

It now has 1.2 million customers and projects that by 2021, it should have five million. That sounds like a lot for a bank that dominates in Singapore's small market, but it's still a drop in India's vast ocean of 1.3 billion people. Nonetheless, the bank is playing a long game in the country.

"As people order coffee, they can also order up a bank. So we've massive scale at lower cost," said DBS Group CIO David Gledhill. Over 500 outlets of Cafe Coffee Day in major Indian cities were involved in this partnership.

The bank accelerated momentum when it teamed up with the Indian conglomerate Reliance which wanted an ewallet to offer such benefits as cashback and reward points to its 100 million customers. DBS white-labelled its ewallet, rebranding it as a Reliance product. But the ewallet has a feature which makes Digibank the mobile bank of choice should a Reliance customer want to open an account.

The partnership route answered a major challenge for DBS: capturing customers digitally. Amplifying this partnership, it embarked on marketing activities to create greater awareness, including sponsoring a major Indian cricket team, Rising Pune Supergiants.

Coupled with its technology strategy, this experience is a guiding light for DBS as it pursues a similar mobile-only bank being piloted in Indonesia.

Being branchless and paperless, Digibank eliminates the costly and onerous form-filling requirement. Using Digibank's app alone, customers are empowered to open a new account, make payments, transfer money, and undertake other transactions.

Gledhill said the Digibank allowed it to quickly penetrate the retail banking market quickly at one-fifth the cost of setting up a traditional bank.

With tech shaving operating costs, the bank can afford to be more generous with interest payments. Account holders earn 7 percent interest, one of the highest in the market which likely helped it win customers. It also paved the way for better customer engagement.

The artificial intelligence (AI) embedded in the app allows it to respond to customer queries in real-time without the need for human intervention. The AI also helps the bank to learn more about customers' banking behavior, so the bank can better figure out what services really matter to customers, DBS said in a statement in June this year.

India's pro-digital environment also aided Digibank's achievements. Gledhill credits the Aadhaar, a biometric-based ID card that enables speedy authentications online, for facilitating account opening in real-time. More than a billion people in India have the Aadhaar card.

India is ready

Research shows that adoption of smartphones in India is among the fastest in the world. According to the Internet Trends 2017 report by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers, 80 percent of India's web traffic is undertaken on mobile devices.

India also had a large population of unbanked and underserved customers. Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said 233 million people in India in 2015 have never visited a bank.

DBS considered all these factors when it decided that going digital was the only way to scale its business. Opening physical banks would have been costly and taken too long. Acquiring an existing bank to grow was tough as governments generally do not favor foreign ownership of banks. DBS had already suffered a setback when its proposed takeover of Bank Danamon in Indonesia fell through.

"Digital is the only way to go" to grow the bank, said Gledhill as he explains DBS' ambition to become a stronger regional bank.

However, it was aware that failure was always a possibility and prepared for it accordingly. Throughout Digibank's nine-month development period, a team experimented with its various aspects, from product features and handling peak transaction periods to app updates and user designs.

The create-and-reiterate process gave the bank a sense of "how acceptable mobile banking would be and a fair sense that it would happen," said Gledhill.

This process helped define the customer base of the mobile bank, which is the rising affluent and tech-savvy population living in major cities in India, and which would be predisposed to use mobile phones to access the Internet.

It also tempered its app development cycle. Originally, Digibank had planned a weekly update of its mobile app, but Apple generally takes two weeks to approve app updates. So the bank switched to a monthly update schedule.

To ensure smooth transactions, DBS used Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure to provide continual uptime. It was able to migrate its back-end mainframe services to support Digibank in just two weeks.

Competition in India

Digibank does not have mobile banking to itself in India. It has to compete against the payment banks set up by Indian companies Paytm, Airtel, India Post, and Fino whose services are also available via mobile apps. Compared to DBS, which only has 12 branches in India, these payment banks each have hundreds of physical outlets across the country to complement their mobile offerings.

Besides, Digibank may be the only way for DBS to expand in India, said Indian tech blog Trak-in in a report last year. Singapore did not allow Indian banks like State Bank of India and ICICI Bank to expand its reach in the island state, it said, because of a policy under the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

"As a reciprocal strategy, the Indian Government stopped the expansion of DBS bank into its retail operations in India," added the report.

Nonetheless, a recent report on the Asia-Pacific banking industry by Ernst & Young points out that "a purely digital bank is particularly attractive to markets with a high mobile penetration and dispersed populations, such as Indonesia, where a new entrant with a strong digital offering could disrupt the market."

But it also warned of the risk that if too many online-only banks emerge, the business becomes uncompetitive and therefore, unsustainable.

DBS has a long runway after staking an early claim on the mobile-only banking space in Asia, where no other bank has yet ventured. Its digital agenda is already recognized. In July last year, DBS became the first bank to be named World's Best Digital Bank at the prestigious Euromoney Awards for Excellence. It is the first Asian bank to win the award, pipping global banks ING and Citi.

Gledhill is also the recipient of the prestigious 2017 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award presented in May this year. This MIT award recognizes CIOs who deliver exemplary levels of business value through the innovative use of IT.


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