Executive Vice President
Ajay Kapoor will be speaking at the Asian Financial Congress held at Marina Bay Sands Singapore on 27-28 February. If you are interested in attending, please visit the Asian Financial Congress website for details.
Ajay Kapoor currently heads the Business Process Re-engineering Group of HDFC Bank, a commercial and consumer financial institution that he has served for more than a decade, running a variety of enterprise-wide IT initiatives, including leading two major merger-prompted system, application and data migrations, and most recently a core banking transformation project. We interviewed Kapoor upon his being named one of Asia's top information executives in banking by IDC Financial Insights.
What are your business and ICT priorities for the next couple years?
Strictly talking about the retail banking side of our business, we're increasingly moving into the mobile space. That is how the world is moving and customers are interested in carrying out banking transactions on their mobiles. As such, we're already in the midst of implementing many new features and services for the mobile platform. We already have mobile banking apps on almost all mobile platforms.
As for priorities to do with expanding the bank, we are currently focused on extending our reach further into the rural areas of India. Using technology-led solutions we are taking formal banking services to more and more people in unbanked rural areas and this is a key focus for the technology team.
We have, for instance, started working on enabling the opening of accounts using applications running on tablets. In Punjab, we have 'Grameen Banking Officers' who are bank employees using two-wheelers to visit and cater to the banking needs of 10-12 villages surrounding the branch. This is possible through use of a micro-ATM.
We have also recently launched toll-free banking services, where customers with the most basic handset can call a set of toll-free numbers to carry out certain banking queries. They instantly receive an SMS with the information requested. Thus even in remote areas, where people might have limited access to the internet, or their branch, they are still able to access their account information. Since its launch in August 2013, more than 1 million customers have availed of the toll-free banking service, with 1.7 million transaction queries being handled in a month.
HDFC Bank has also launched the Hindi mobile banking service for its customers in the Hindi heartland, a light website and banking apps optimized for mobile and tablets, and SMS banking. This full range of services ensures that every customer has access to their bank account in a manner they are most comfortable with.