How to beat the banks
Answering questions about the challenges banks face in the face of a global cash crunch, a senior banker said the banks were still in a race against time.
“The banks are not at the stage yet where they are ready to take on these challenges, nor are they at the point where they can do it,” said Vijay Kumar, president of India’s National Financial Services Association (NFSA).
The NFSA is the leading voice of the country’s financial sector and has become a key player in addressing the banking industry’s problems.
Kumar said banks are in a “race against time” as the world’s largest financial services companies are making a concerted effort to reduce costs and shift customers away from cash.
The government and the banks are now moving towards the “faster, smarter, cheaper” approach.
This includes introducing new payment solutions and better-performing banks, he said.
Banks are not in a position to compete on a world-wide basis, said Kumar.
“If you take a look at the global business, you will find that the big players are doing the same.
This is not a coincidence,” he said, adding that the banking sector was a “strategic player” in the global economy.
However, Kumar said India has a unique position, and the government should be careful not to alienate its key players.
“We have the capability and experience to take these challenges on,” he added.
The banks, like most other sectors, are struggling to meet the challenges faced by the cash crunch.
With the world banking system under pressure, there is growing concern that the industry may suffer a complete collapse.
This has led to a number of financial reforms in the past two decades, but they have been plagued by the challenge of making banks more efficient and flexible.
The most recent effort to tackle this challenge came in February last year when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a slew of reforms aimed at reducing cost, improving operational efficiency and reducing transaction and other fees.
In the past few months, however, the banks have been making some headway on a few fronts.
“In the first half of the year, we had a reduction in transaction fees in the country,” said Kunal Srivastava, head of the National Payments Corporation of India, a leading player in the payments sector.
However, “that was in line with what the RBI had already promised,” he explained.
“It’s also been a big challenge in terms of reducing fees.
We have been talking to them about that.”
While the government has been moving to reduce the cost of banking, the RBI has been keeping its fingers crossed.
The RBI recently announced a scheme to offer an alternative to cash, which will take effect in June.
The initiative will be rolled out across all banks, but the RBI is also exploring ways to help businesses move towards a cashless economy, which the RBI believes will be the most efficient way to run a banking system.
Meanwhile, in the process of rolling out the scheme, the government is also moving towards a faster, smarter and cheaper approach to the banking system, which Kumar said will help the banks.
“There is no longer a question of the banks being able to do the same thing at the same time, so the pace of change is going to be quicker,” he claimed.
“Banks are making some significant progress.”