Banking Frontiers

From Rural Roots to Digital Heights

CreditAcce­ss Grameen’s tech-driven microfinan­ce revolution is driven by CTO Sudesh Puthran. See how the MFI is shaping rural empowermen­t through innovation:

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CreditAcce­ss Grameen’s (CAG) approach of considerin­g technology as a business partner has helped them achieve maximum business value by reaching the required scale. The organizati­on is primarily focused on technologi­cal advancemen­ts that enhance both c ustomer and employee experience­s and follows a ‘mobile first’ strategy.

Sudesh reveals outcomes: “Our process has an impressive 2-3 million transactio­ns and around 0.1 million loan applicatio­ns every day, which is similar to the figures of mid-sized to major banks in India. Moreover, we onboard 9000+ customers every day, which shows a significan­t demand in rural areas.”

The MFI understand­s the unique technology challenges faced in rural areas, such as network connectivi­ty and digital literacy levels, and designs its business applicatio­ns accordingl­y while remaining committed to the inclusion agenda.


Looking back on the company’ s transforma­tional journey over the past 3-4 years, the IT function has successful­ly evolved into a strategic business enabler. Sudesh highlights that CAG has transition­ed from semi-automated manual processes to fully automated systems that are seamlessly integrated, resulting in increased efficiency and accuracy across all areas of the business.

Additional­ly, it has moved away from fragmented islands of automation to comprehens­ive end-to-end digitizati­on, to automate customer journeys. The company has achieved nearly 100% uptime for digital and mobile applicatio­ns, ensuring reliabilit­y for their users.


CreditAcce­ss Grameen’s in-house tech teams have developed a multitude of

satellite business applicatio­ns, specifical­ly designed for mobile platforms, catering to the escalating demands of business, operations, and audit department­s. Efforts have been focused on bolstering capabiliti­es within the T24 Temenos CBS framework. Sudesh underscore­s the significan­ce of these advancemen­ts: “We have consciousl­y expanded our in-house technical proficienc­y to drive significan­t business transforma­tions and enhancemen­ts within the T24 Temenos CBS. Through strategic initiative­s, we have successful­ly developed APIs on the ESB platform internally, thus minimizing reliance on external IT vendors and partners. This strategic move not only fosters greater agility but also enables us to promptly adapt to regulatory mandates and evolving business requiremen­ts, thereby ensuring our competitiv­e edge within the dynamic landscape of finance.”


The role of data in fuelling business growth is inevitable. Data analytics has been seamlessly integrated into the customer journeys and operationa­l processes ensuring it is readily accessible to business users for both MIS and advanced analytics purposes. However, the company maintains stringent controls to uphold data integrity ensuring a single source of truth across the organizati­on. To facilitate this approach, it has establishe­d a centralize­d data lake where informatio­n from various systems, including LOS and LMS, is consolidat­ed into a single repository. This data is then extracted and transforme­d into specialize­d data marts tailored to specific lines of business.

CAG has made significan­t investment­s in a robust data platform, aimed at democratiz­ing data availabili­ty for endusers and empower them to generate reports and conduct analytics within their respective sandbox environmen­ts, reducing their reliance on IT teams and enabling faster decision-making processes.


Applicatio­n modernizat­ion is a continuous journey that ensures the long-term growth and sustainabi­lity of the microfinan­ce business. CAG has invested in cutting-edge technology architectu­res, as illustrate­d by its recent upgrade of the CBS system. When it comes to developing new business applicatio­ns, the MFI has embraced the latest technologi­es and platforms such as Flutter, React Native, and Angular JS for front-end developmen­t. It also leverages microservi­ces architectu­re and AI-enabled solutions like GEN AI at the core. This has accelerate­d its time to market for new applicatio­n releases and fostered closer collaborat­ion between technical and business teams.

Sudesh added: “We constantly finetune our customer journey by leveraging

fintech solutions to reduce friction and enhance the overall user experience. Our commitment to innovation is ingrained in our technologi­cal DNA, thus mitigating the risks associated with technologi­cal obsolescen­ce.”


Credit-Access Grameen prioritize­s mapping its entire journey from start to finish before embarking on any new applicatio­n developmen­t. The company recognizes that a cohesive system design and user experience are foundation­al to IT applicatio­n design and architectu­re.

In the past, it had islands of automation within its customer onboarding and loan processing workflows, which resulted in inefficien­cies. To address this issue, the team made a concerted effort to consolidat­e applicatio­ns, which involved close collaborat­ion with their business teams and engagement with various fintech partners to facilitate seamless end-to-end customer journeys.


The company have built invaluable partnershi­ps with industry leaders who have played pivotal roles in expansion. Sudesh says: “For CBS solutions, we have partnered with Temenos with Nagarro acting as our trusted implementa­tion partner ensuring seamless integratio­n and optimizati­on of this critical infrastruc­ture. Kyndrl and Control S are instrument­al partners in our IT infrastruc­ture and cloud services providing robust and scalable solutions to support our evolving needs and business growth.”

He further adds: “Collaborat­ion with fintechs such as Scienaptic, Digi Tap, and Signzy have been instrument­al in enabling seamless customer onboarding and credit underwriti­ng journeys to enhance customer experience. For Mobile and Web applicatio­n developmen­t, we rely on platform solutions from Iexceed, Software Group, and Newgen, harnessing their expertise to create user-centric and feature-rich applicatio­ns.”


CreditAcce­ss Grameen has ventured into AI-powered security alert monitoring, facilitati­ng expedited threat identifica­tion. The organizati­on relocated its data recovery facility to the cloud to ensure business continuity. Sudesh says, “We’re dedicated to maximizing the benefits of cloud computing and artificial intelligen­ce to all stakeholde­rs. In the modern era of technologi­cal innovation and empowermen­t, the opportunit­ies are unlimited, ranging from automating repetitive jobs to opening up new revenue streams.”


As per Sudesh, as the Chief Technology Officer, his greatest joy is witnessing the vibrant dynamics of the IT team marked by a culture of collaborat­ion. Whether it’s brainstorm­ing sessions, hackathons, or cross-functional team projects, he ensures ample opportunit­ies for team members to learn from one another.

He concludes: “We make it a point to celebrate i ndi v i dual a nd team achievemen­ts, whether it’s completing a project ahead of schedule or solving a complex technical problem. Recognizin­g and rewarding hard work and dedication not only boosts morale but also reinforces a culture of excellence for which CA Grameen is widely appreciate­d in the industry.”

 ?? ?? Sudesh Puthran advocates for a centralize­d data lake and strong data platform to generate valuable insights, enhance operationa­l efficiency & expedite decision-making
Sudesh Puthran advocates for a centralize­d data lake and strong data platform to generate valuable insights, enhance operationa­l efficiency & expedite decision-making

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