Bringing unbanked people into the mainstream has been an important social goal: Kris Gopalakrishnan
The target groups of banks have changed, especially in developed countries where banks are finding it hard to sustain growth in domestic markets. With the saturation of niche areas such as new college graduates and baby boomer retirees, banks are aiming for rural population in developing countries and lower-income and new immigrant groups in developed countries.
According to Kris Gopalakrishnan, innovation is the key to sustaining banks' new foray cost effectively. Concepts such as microfinance, peer-to-peer lending, use of alternative credit data and mobile banking have opened up numerous possibilities for banks, including:
- Non-traditional products: Examples include low-fee check accounts, money orders, remittances, and payroll cards
- New marketing channels: To reach diverse segments, banks are concentrating on sponsoring or promoting their affiliations with local community organizations and through local publications
- Remittances: This service targets new immigrant populations that want to send money to relatives or acquaintances in their home countries
- Mobile banking: According to mobile phone maker Nokia, there are about three billion mobile subscriptions worldwide today and this will grow to five billion by 2015, when two-thirds of the world population will have a mobile phone. Partnering with mobile service operators provides banks with the best chance to penetrate remote areas.
Published with permission of The Banker