Money & Banking

We’ll set a benchmark for service culture: IDFC Bank chief

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2018

RAJIV LALL, Executive Vice-Chairman and MD

When IDFC Bank’s flamboyant Executive Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Lall, clad in a well-starched Nehru jacket, took to the stage to unveil his bank’s new identity, he ensured the world got a clear message that the bank would live by its tagline, ‘Banking Hatke’. Lall said his goal is to build a bank, where it will not be a mere product pusher but also a service provider. It will build a distribution architecture that is much lighter and much less costly. BusinessLine spoke to him on the sidelines of the event. Edited excerpts from the interview:

What are you planning to do so differently that the consumer is able to identify with your tagline?

We did a fairly comprehensive survey. One of the findings was that people don’t like bankers. Second was that by and large customers felt their bankers were not treating them with respect. Widespread perception of banks was that they were seen as product pushers instead of as service providers. The loud message from the feedback was that while the customer needs and expectations have changed dramatically over the last decade, the general feeling is that banks have not kept pace. That’s a huge opportunity for a new bank like us.

Our goal is to build a bank unlike any other. The tagline forces each and every person who has come into IDFC to review every process, every product and examine it with a fresh perspective because our goal is to present ourselves to the market and the customer in a ‘hatke’ (different) manner.

The experience has to be ultra convenient. The customer has to get the sense that he is treated with respect and responsiveness.

You’ve been talking about focusing more on technology and less on branches. How would this help you reduce operational costs while acquiring new customers at the same time?

Instead of spending on building an expensive branch, hiring expensive people who are reluctant to get transferred from the metros, it is now possible to build a distribution architecture that is much lighter, much less costly and with handheld technology can deliver financial services right to the rural community.

We have no legacy or cumbersome branch network, or an outdated technology platform and most importantly, we don’t carry baggage of a scale culture. We have an opportunity to become a new institution and set a benchmark for the service culture in the industry.

Unlike traditional banks, our technology architecture will be extremely flexible to keep up with the rapidly changing environment.

Will the bank go slow on commercial and wholesale banking in order to meet the priority sector lending requirement?

Our focus would be to grow all our core businesses that include commercial and wholesale business, rural business and personal and commercial banking business. It is likely we’ll not be able to meet the PSL requirements and if that happens, we are ready to pay penalties for non-compliance rather than pushing it too hard, thereby increasing our risk profile.

Published on September 24, 2015

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