With India receiving over US$ 80 Billion of remittances in FY2021 during the period of an unprecedented global pandemic, our country has established itself as the leader in inward remittances from its diaspora. The substantial diaspora population of over 32 Million has opened multi-pronged avenues for the Indian economy. The private sector players of India’s financial ecosystem have recognised the potential of the growing NRI diaspora to redefine India’s forex reserves. Hence, they have pulled out all stops to cater to the growing needs of the Indian diaspora i.e. NRIs (Non Resident Indians) and OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India). The private sector players have realized the economic benefits and the worldwide visibility of being the preferred service provider to the ‘happy-satisfied’ NRI community.
A few decades back, banks in India were unable to provide NRIs with the global service standards that they were experienced with. However, with the emergence of private sector banks in India, NRIs now have more options for their banking requirements such as effecting remittances to their family, to invest their funds safely or avail of loans to purchase their home in India. NRIs now prefer to place their money in many of the private sector banks that have established themselves as leading players in the banking ecosystem. There are many reasons for the NRIs expressing confidence in the private sector banking domain.
Primarily, higher service levels supported with technological capabilities have been the key factor in gaining the trust of NRIs. Private banks have streamlined their operational structure and synced it with a strong customer-service orientation. Most of the banks in India now have established dedicated NRI business verticals in their organizations to cater to the needs of the large NRI audience. With exclusive NRI relationship managers and NRI Service teams to service NRIs through all days & time zones, these banks are able to provide exclusive services to their discerning NRI customers. Private sector banks also offer a gamut of services such as priority banking and wealth services, preferential rates for inward remittances, FCNR deposits etc.
Another pivotal contributor has been the aggressive digitisation drive by these banks. Digitisation has provided easy accessibility and convenience to customers. Today, NRIs can easily open an account or conduct their banking operations, irrespective of time or geography. Almost all their banking operations in India are now just a click away.
Lastly, high level of customisation in banking products has re-anchored the NRIs’ trust in the Indian banking sector. Our NRI fraternity, spread across regions and cultures, has successfully carved a prominent mark in sectors ranging across world politics, entertainment, and business. Such a diverse diaspora needs customised product offerings that tap into their specific banking needs. For instance, an NRI from USA may be in need of investment options in India while one working in the Middle East may require convenient family remittance services. Similarly, a student may need an education loan for pursuing studies in a foreign country.
The private sector banks have filled up the void admirably by providing specific banking solutions.
The customer-centric approach adopted by these private sector banks has created a positive banking ecosystem, which has made the NRIs feel comfortable in placing their funds and trust with these banks.
(By Murali Ramakrishnan, MD and CEO, South Indian Bank)