Nearly a year after announcing an upgrade to YONO, State Bank of India’s super app, Dinesh Khara, Chairman, SBI, revealed that YONO 2.0 should hit the ground in a few months. “We’ll start having some early outcomes on YONO 2.0 from June – July,” he affirmed.

In an exclusive interview with businessline, Khara said that with YONO 2.0, SBI aims to create a modular computing structure with more than two core transactions running at a fast pace. “We want to offer the convenience and hyper personalization of the app. All this will be offered incrementally,” he adding while explaining why developing version 2.0 of YONO has taken longer than anticipated time. That is the reason why it is taking some time.

Once again, emphasising that YONO shouldn’t be viewed as a subsidiary but as part of SBI’s distribution channel, Khara reiterated that SBI cannot think of spinning it (YONO) out of the bank. “It will continue to provide value for all our stakeholders whether customers, employees, or shareholders, and it will improve the efficiency of operations, which will eventually help in reducing our cost-to-income ratio,” he elaborated.

Visible efficiencies

YONO has emerged as more than a mobile application for SBI. The app has generated a loan book of ₹1 trillion for the bank, and Khara expects the origination to grow by 30 per cent in FY25. “When we started YONO, in the initial phase of the journey it was intended to be a mobile app. But YONO is not merely a banking app – it’s a three-in-one - namely pure-play banking, a financial superstore, and e- commerce,” said Khara.

The app has about 75 million plus registered users and has witnessed occasions when more than two and a half crore customers logged into it on a particular day. The app is aiding the bank’s cross-sell and up-sell incomes as well. Stating why the app required a refresh, “the kind of traffic and functionalities offered in YONO makes us believe that there’s a need for faster computing, which is why we are making it more modular,” says Khara.

YONO 2.0 would use more analytics and eventually offer hyper-personalisation and omni-channel experience. “YONO which will meet the expectations and aspirations of our new-gen customers and create value for our existing customers. Its adoption across metros, urban and rural is very strong”.

When asked about the quality of loans originated by the app, Khara was quick to respond that the quality of the loan book regardless of the channels, is monitored universally. “We don’t differentiate whether it has come through YONO or physical channels.”

Working with fintechs

One of the things the SBI Chairman was very happy with was the role played by the bank in shaping the fintech ecosystem. Fintech founders and leaders  are often quoted saying that if the proof of concept (POC) they created gets SBI’s approval, the product is good to be taken across the globe. “We don’t want the sleeping cells to come into our system, and that’s why we have a very rugged information security system,” Khara said.

Explaining how the bank screens through fintechs, he added that managing risk is his primary objective. “We must be respectful of the risks in the ecosystem and manage those risks in the most professional manner. That is the critical DNA for any financial sector entity. When we adopt a solution, we keep in mind the vulnerability of the solution from the security point of view and ensure that solutions offered are created in a secure environment”.