Banking will now work on hyper-personalisation to attract customers: Zarin Daruwala

Daruwala, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, was speaking at the ABP News-e4m Pitch Brand Talk Virtual Series

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 15, 2020 9:53 AM
ABP-e4m Pitch Brand Talk Virtual Series with Zarin Daruwala, Standard Chartered Bank

At the recent ABP News-e4m Pitch Brand Talk Virtual Series, Zarin Daruwala, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, spoke about “Leadership in the time of COVID-19: Response and Implications for Banks.”

The session was moderated by Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld and exchange4media Group.

Daruwala spoke about a range of issues facing the banking sector during this exclusive conversation. She also spoke about how the relationship with customers has changed in COVID times. According to Daruwala, this pandemic has accelerated the use of digital as far as the banking sector was concerned. “We were very well penetrated digitally, 70 per cent of our customers are already digitally active. In the last few weeks, it has accelerated further because customers have no choice but to use all the digital infrastructure that the bank offers.”

She also shared that Standard Chartered was quick to adjust to the challenge posed by the lockdown as far as serving customers were concerned. “One thing that we enabled very quickly during the lockdown was the call centre where employees could take calls sitting in their homes. Though that was technologically very difficult, our teams did it quickly and now we are serving customers from the comfort of our homes”, said Daruwala.

She also said that in the absence of traditional marketing platforms there was a rise in hyper-personalisation as far as reaching out to customers was concerned.

“We are witnessing the rise of hyper-personalisation like how Amazon, Alibaba or Alipay does. I think banking will now work on hyper-personalisation to attract customers and it will involve a lot of sensitivity and not bombarding customers with unwanted messaging.”.

When asked to comment on the economic impact caused by covid-19, Daruwala said that the economy has already seen a sharp drop and from April-June the GDP is expected to go down by 22 per cent, which is close to Rs 10 Lakh crore.

“Red zones account for 52 per cent of the GDP and that clearly is hurting the industrial production and the services sector. We have to now look at how we can kickstart the economy very quickly. The silver lining was that the oil prices came down, so one per cent of the GDP can get saved because India imports almost 1.4 billion barrels of oil every year, which means almost $30 billion in savings as far as oil imports are concerned”, explained Daruwala.

The Standard Chartered CEO was also asked about the recent fiscal package announced by the government and whether it would lead to a reimagined lending to Medium and Small Scale Industries (MSME).

She explained that the traditional method of assessment of capital will not work as there will be very little drawing power and that Standard Chartered has decided to look at a cash flow based approach.

“The latest government fiscal package is good because it does not put too much of a fiscal load on the government this year and it ensures that the flow of credit to MSMEs gets accelerated. If you look at the proposal of Rs 3 lakh crore, there is a one-year moratorium and it will help as MSMEs contribute almost 30 per cent to the GDP and 50 per cent of the total exports. Overall it's a good measure for the MSME sector, now the challenge for the government will be about reviving demand.” When asked to share her leadership style she termed it “decisive”, “planned” and having a “can-do attitude”.

Highlighting some of the biggest lessons for banks from this pandemic Daruwala said it was about the realisation that 90 per cent of the banking processes could be conducted from the comforts of the home setting.

“I would not have been convinced about it two months back”, she admitted candidly.

Daruwala was also asked about the rise of “Contactless, Collaborative and Caring” economy which is being unfolded in these covid times and how Standard Chartered was negotiating this shift.

She explained that “Contactless” was something that banks were used to because a large volume of transactions was already contactless.

“I guess “Caring” is something like how our people have gone to deliver cash to customers and even helped them with grocery. The bank has to be “Collaborative” with customers and have empathy with what the customers are going through and have a solution-based approach”, she said.

Daruwala also said that covid-19 has forced brands to up their digital marketing spends as digital was the new mainstream. “The marketing spends will increase on digital because face to face contact with customers will be minimal for the next year, or till the covid-19 fear dies down.”

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