Companies

‘NatWest Group India to focus on digital innovation’

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on September 11, 2020 Published on September 11, 2020

Punit Sood, Head of India, NatWest Group India

NatWest Group India, formerly RBS India, willfocus on building its core technology capabilities around the areas of data analytics, machine learning and AI in the next two years. NatWest has been developing vital tech-based solutions and services that meet the fast-changing expectations of its customers in the UK in the post-Covid-19 world, said a top official.

This would largely be achieved through the re-skilling of existing engineering talent pool to drive the go-forward strategy of digital transformation for the NatWest Group by leveraging India’s technology capability, start-up and fintech ecosystem, Punit Sood, Head of India, NatWest Group India, told BusinessLine.

“Strategically, shifting our work towards full stack development of solutions and products that meet the changing customer needs by harnessing technology and innovation is the journey we are on,” said Sood who has been the Country Head since January.

NatWest Group India is the Global Capability Centre (captive) of the NatWest Group, which was rebranded from Royal Bank of Scotland (with 293-year-old legacy) at the group level in July. NatWest Group has the second-largest employee base in India outside of the UK.

With the current Covid situation accelerating the digitisation of banking services, NatWest Group India sees the focus shifting increasingly towards automation and value optimisation, said Sood.

“Our priorities for India are to build strategic talent capabilities, an inclusive and purpose-led organisation culture, and greater value for the group,” he said.

Covid impact

Sood said that digital will lead growth, and the proof is its adoption since the pandemic. The pandemic has pushed banks to look at adapting digital trails and methods quickly, he said, adding that “customer segments who otherwise we would expect to not have quick adaptability to digital have, on the contrary, adapted to change fast”.

Elaborating on how teams in India supported customers in the UK during Coivd, Sood said they were instrumental in creating automated solutions.

In the first weekend of announcing repayment holidays for mortgages, several thousands e-mail applications were received. Teams in India created an automated solution, where up to 40,000 mortgage payment holiday requests could be processed in a single day, he said.

To support business customers, NatWest Group India teams have been working to automate UK’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) requisition, post-credit processing and document generation, and setting up bots, he said.

Investments

Sood said the bank had made huge investments over the last few years to embed new ways of working – Agile, DevOps, Automation, Data Analytics, Cloud and AI across teams. “This has paid off, and within weeks, we have been able to automate a lot of our processes, where we saw a huge surge in demand from our customers due to new product introductions in the UK market,” said Sood.

When the pandemic struck, GCCs such as NatWest Group India moved quickly to support the larger organisation to work without any business interruptions, enabling their employees to work from home. This has led to GCCs getting a bigger voice in their parent organisations in the post-Covid world, and those running such GCCs getting a seat in the relevant table in the parent organisation, rather than just being embedded in the organisation, said corporate observers.

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Published on September 11, 2020
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