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Banking Innovations via the IT Way

Sneha Jha | July 19, 2011
Rana Kapoor, founder and managing director of India’s YES Bank, talks about gaining the competitive edge and leading with innovative products and services.

Three decades in banking has made me believe that to be a professional entrepreneur, you need to nurture a powerful vision. I believe in the mantra of “visualise to actualise”. Once you develop a vision, you must chart out a differentiated strategic roadmap to translate that vision into reality. The success of an entrepreneur lies in his ability to differentiate his line of thinking and put together a team of execution-oriented leaders who share his passion to achieve and execute the vision.

How have you brought these lessons to bear at the bank?

Piggybacking on my experience, YES Bank has been built on the pillars of knowledge banking, responsible banking, IT, human capital, and superior, high-quality customer service. I have also learnt that a banker needs to align his vision and strategy with precision deliverables. There have to be short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives and a clear and measurable blueprint. A professional entrepreneur should cultivate skills like problem solving and strategic decision-making. At YES Bank, we have instilled a culture of entrepreneurship. All YES Bank leaders are empowered to make decisions that are best for the organisation and are in line with overall business objectives.

YES Bank cultivates an image of being a ‘technology bank’. What is IT’s role?

Since our inception in 2004, we have known that if we were going to take on other established and well-entrenched players, we had to offer a different and compelling value proposition to our customers. In order to thrive in this highly-competitive and cluttered sector, we would have to develop a strong innovation quotient in our business model and strategy, riding on IT.

The first five years were about innovating to survive and keeping our cost-base low. Hence, we outsourced our IT to Wipro as part of a seven-year partnership deal in December 2004. Wipro set up and managed all of YES Bank’s core infrastructure and hardware, branch rollouts, networking, data centres and back-up support on a build-own-operate basis. We were the first bank in India to adopt a total IT outsourcing model. Others soon followed suit.

The next five years will be about innovating to thrive. In a bid to do this, we have tied up with US-based First Data Corporation (FDC), for example, for an innovative ATM deployment programme. FDC will ensure that the ATMs are installed in high footfall locations. This move will help YES Bank reduce its capital expenditure as the cost of setting up and servicing ATMs will be borne by FDC.

IT has always helped us negate the disadvantage of our smaller branch network and promoted us as key innovators in the sector.


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