Our model offers the flexibility of digital banking, with a physical touch
DBS Bank India Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of DBS Bank, which was established in March 2019. It claims to have over 26 lakh customers in India since inception. It currently has 34 branches across 24 cities. The plan is to have 100 touch points (branches, ATMs and kiosks) across India. In addition to savings accounts and regular banking features, digibank from DBS, launched in 2016 is a mobile-only bank. It offers personal loans digitally and processes investments in mutual funds from several fund houses.
Moneycontrol’s Hiral Thanawala spoke to Shantanu Sengupta, MD and Head-Consumer Banking Group, DBS Bank India, about measures the bank has taken to control mis-selling of financial products to customers. Apart from that, Shantanu suggests parameters to decide on while switching banks and opening a new account.
Q: DBS India plans to set up over 100 touch points (branches, ATMs, kiosks) over the next couple of years, across cities. The core focus of DBS Bank seems to be digital banking. With this roll-out, do you plan to adopt a service model similar to that of other commercial banks?
A: We are setting up new branches in India to complement our digital offerings. We have adopted a physical model and believe that the brick-and-mortar presence gives an added assurance to our customers. These branches allow us to strengthen our footprint across the country and build our brand.
In India, we observe that there are customers who are savvy and advanced in digital adoption. Also, there are several customers who have moved from traditional to digital banking. Our model offers the flexibility of digital banking, with a physical touch. Customers can visit our branches or transact via the digibank app.
Q: Do you have a Chinese wall policy between the banking and wealth management services provided?
A: We do not offer advisory services to our customers in India. We only distribute various investment schemes. Therefore, there is no requirement for a separate company or for creating a Chinese wall to differentiate between banking and wealth management services.
In our wealth management service, there is no human intervention required if the ticket sizes are small. In such cases, customers execute the transactions using the digibank platform. However, if the size of the investment is large, customers prefer meeting relationship or wealth managers. These managers share research reports and insights so that customers can take an informed decision while investing.
Q: What measures has DBS taken to control mis-selling of financial products to banking customers?
A: To control mis-selling, we do a risk profiling of customers. We ensure that risk profiles are clearly understood by the customer and it matches their investment. If any additional information is required to take an informed investment decision, we provide that to the customer. Every product on our platform is offered through multiple interventions, multiple checks and controls. These are done to ensure that customers are fully aware of the risk and the potential returns. Whenever we see that there is a risk-return expectation mis-match, we go back to customers and request them to re-evaluate their entire profile. We are reasonably comfortable with the current process, as we have not had any kind of mis-selling in the last few years in the bank.
Q: How do you manage competition from new-age fintechs and small-finance banks?
A: India is a large market. These banks are adding to the development and growth of the industry, along with other private, public sector banks, etc. New-age fintech banks should be given due credit for what they have built in terms of technology infrastructure. The small finance banks are also creating specific solutions for customers as per their profiles. We are competing with new-age fintech banks and we believe that the only way to differentiate ourselves in the long term is to create great customer experiences.
Q: When should customers switch banks or close an account?
A: Customers typically choose to switch their banks in two scenarios: when their needs are not met or when they have a poor experience with a product or service.
Q: In case there are technology and service interruptions in digital or online banking, and customers are unable to access their accounts for paying monthly utility bills, EMIs, etc., what alternative do you offer customers?A: To mitigate the risk of interruptions or any inconvenience, we encourage and educate our customers to use the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) linked to digibank, which can be used to not only make online bill payments or loan EMIs but also to make payments at merchant outlet through the quick response (QR) scan on any other payment service app.
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