Fino Payments Bank is one of the newer payments banks launched after the Indian regulator RBI granted payment bank licenses to increase the banking penetration in India. The bank was incorporated on 4th April 2017 and went live with 410 branches and more than 25,000 banking points on the day of its launch. The bank is part of the parent company Fino Paytech Limited, a technology solutions provider for institutions like banks, governments, and insurance companies.
The bank’s partner for the project is LatLong (Onze Technology), a SaaS location intelligence platform helping customers leverage the power of spatial data. LatLong was founded in 2007 by ex-employees of Infosys. Since then, the company has leveraged its GIS and data analytics expertise to create a platform to provide business intelligence to several customers across South Asia and the Middle East.
The project idea took root when an NGO approached the bank to provide banking services such as the ability to remit money home, recharge talk time, buy insurance for the family, etc for 100 workers at a construction site on the outskirts of Mumbai. To provide some context, this occurred in early May 2020 when India was under a Covid 19 driven Lockdown.
This simple need drove the bank to create a solution where anybody, anywhere could simply share their location and a Fino banking services partner would be able to reach out to them. The solution, called Bank at the Doorstep made use of Lat Long (a location data service) to match the consumer requiring assistance for their banking to the relevant and closest Fino Bank service provider. The solution, implemented in the retail division of the bank, made use of accurate mapping of every single Fino Merchant point and matched it to the location of a consumer who needed assistance. The solution went live in May 2020 with the close cooperation of the bank’s department such as marketing, analytics, retail banking, and the partner solution provider.
The solution banked on the simplicity of the concept and its scalability. The solution essentially matched the nearest bank service provider to the customer. The solution leveraged the penetration of smartphones and Fino’s distribution with over 280,000 Merchant Points across the country to share a simple URL (fino.latlong.in) with the customer to help match them to a Merchant Point. All the consumer had to do was click on a link and reach out to a Merchant Point, which had been equipped to help. The differentiator was the ease of use to the customer compared to other banks who were relying on their apps for the customers which was a challenge for the underbanked.
Evolution of the solution:
The solution evolved as the sharing of the URL quickly created many use cases. For example, Fino works with several lenders whose consumers walk into Fino Merchant points and deposit their installment money. These lenders started sharing a modified URL with their customers to motivate them to walk in and pay their installments. Interestingly, the loan customers not only walk in and make their repayments, but they also used the banking outlets to remit money, open bank accounts, buy insurance. This gave tremendous benefits to the customers during the tough period of the lockdown when collection agents were unable to travel and meet customers.
The bank is also running a marketing campaign to drive usage of our ATMs using a similar URL. Since a consumer can see the entire local distribution (within 3-4km) on his mobile screen it opens up an opportunity to offer the full range of banking products. The focus being underbanked who could then be served the local Fino Merchant point almost at their doorstep.
The solution went live within 48 hours from ideation with marketing campaigns being run soon after. This meant that the solution to avail banking services at the consumer’s doorstep was available to our customers in a very quick time. Most importantly, consumers of any bank could use Fino’s banking system to withdraw money, pay bills, etc, thus becoming a universal solution. The significance of the quick implementation was that the underbanked across the country could reach out and avail of benefits, especially since the government had started depositing welfare money into their accounts.
Within the 1st week, over 7000 consumers reached out to over 3000 merchants. This meant consumers in their area were able to transact, access funds, etc. In the city of Mumbai, well serviced by banking outlets but under lockdown, residential complexes reached out to the bank via the URL. Multiple camps were conducted inside such residential complexes resulting in INR 100 Cr ( ~ USD 140,00,000 ) cash being withdrawn within days.
The bank also ran this program for customers of a lender, helping the lender collect INR 50L ( ~ USD 1,00,000) in a period of 3 weeks and also helped 6k of these customers to transfer money.
This project was a classic case of quickly and efficiently addressing a market need derived from an unprecedented situation of the pandemic. The simplicity of the concept coupled with its scalability and quick release not only helped the bank to assist its underbanked customers in difficult times but also created a solution that could be used in multiple use cases when the situation improved.
Bank: Fino Payment Bank
Solution Provider: LatLong (Onze Technologies)
Timelines: 2 days