Robust tech platform is core for Fino Payments Bank
Fino Payments Bank has a strong technology backbone and that ensures the bank’s ability to scale up its operations. Rajeev Arora, who held the position of COO at the bank, speaks about the prowess of the technology platform:
Apayments bank’s offering cannot just be payments alone. It needs to offer credit, insurance, savings and investments too to make the full circle, feels Rajeev Arora, who now heads Fino Finance, and earlier held the position of COO at Fino Payments Bank.
“That’s why as a bank, we have had a focus on these 4 products too since our inception. There are lot of underbanked customers. The core conversation is whether such customers can be served. 80% of banking customers have only liability relationship. A large number of people have income of `1 lakh or less,” says he.
Arora says Fino Payments Bank is evolving into a phygital bank. “We are setting up branches not to get customer transactions but to have trust points. Problems are solved at physical points. Transactions happen through network points like merchants. The core ethos is minimum transaction cost and userfriendly technology. So, the ethos is simple, paperless and mobile first (not just for end customer, but also for merchants, partners, etc),” he elaborates.
He then elaborates that the approach is to keep partnering with people and stitch an ecosystem. “When it came to deciding on the tech stack, we decided to own the front end, because CBS is heavy but we need to control what is visible to a customer or an employee. This is also to facilitate integration with partners. The software which we have developed in house has 18 main functionalities that are provided by 300 micro services – all these are outside the core. So innovations are not limited to CBS. 150 people IT team developed all these inhouse,” says he.
He believes that since the software development was done inhouse, the bank has full control over things such as variable charges, user experience and time to market of new functionalities and features.
USE OF BIOMETRICS
The bank uses biometrics in a big way and thus it is a gateway for others to integrate through the bank. “So, a customer does not need to know his account number. Mobile as well as Aadhaar number also act as account numbers and are enough to do any transactions. Going forward, a customer just needs to know his nickname,” says Arora.
FIS is the bank’s technology partner for payments switch and CBS. It is an APIbased integration with FIS, says Arora, maintaining that the technology support from the firm has been fantastic.
The hardware is virtualized with blade chassis, SAN, etc and is scalable both vertically and horizontally. The bank has its data center and DR site at CtrlS, one of the leading Tier4 data center service providers in the country.
HOSTED DATA CENTER
Arora says FIS has an internal arrangement with CtrlS under which requirements of hosting, bandwidth, network devices, servers, etc, are taken care of. “We have been with CtrlS & FIS for 2 years and the service has never been down. While hardware for our own applications is ours, CtrlS provides hardware for CBS and Switch.” says he.
The bank is now in the process of setting up its own security operations center (SOC). At present this is handled jointly by FIS and CtrlS. For analytics, it has set up a big data platform and for visualization it uses SAS. It has also taken FIS fraud management solution as part of the transaction switch.
The bank’s requirements on the networking side have been met with swift response and very quick implementation. The 24x7 remote support too ensures that implementation or troubleshooting is done in the least possible time. Arora says the bank is developing a system whereby it will identify internal frauds by machine learning.
USE OF AI
He also mentions that the bank is using artificial intelligence. “There are 2 parts to it. One part of AI is the conversation/ engagement with the customer. Another is cognitive, ie understanding the customer. We are looking at the former and plan to implement a system in 6-12 months. This will improve customer experience and answer queries on the go. Technology is available for instant translation of voice to text. Cognitive uses will be for prediction and we may use machine learning technologies to build it,” says he.
Rajeev Arora maintains that as much as 80% of bank customers have only liability relationship