The Pattern #32: Digital finance, human economics and everything in between

Mayank Jain   /    Head - Marketing and Content    /    2022-10-21

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    Hello, and welcome to this week's edition of The Pattern! 

    Let me start with a question - are your financial decisions driven by logic or emotion?

    As much as we’d all like to believe the answer is purely the former, it’s more likely a combination of both. Sometimes the latter may even take over logic - and that’s okay.

    According to this piece I read in The Print a couple of days ago, finance in Indian households has a significant social and emotional dimension, and it’s easy to see why.

    Emotion is what drives our decisions to loan money to our domestic worker for their daughter’s wedding, or to take loans on behalf of our family members with not-so-favorable credit profiles.

    All of us in the finance industry would do well to remember that. Because in economist Richard Thaler’s words,

    “The problem seems to be that while economists have gotten increasingly sophisticated and clever, consumers have remained decidedly human.”

    In our haste to quicken processes and digitize applications, it’s easy to forget that our financial products belong to a living, breathing human being. That bank account you’re cutting EMIs from monthly belongs to a whole person whose decisions are guided by his / her feelings and life experiences.

    At FinBox, we’ve been thinking about this ‘human’ aspect of finance lately. About how the FinTech industry can go beyond just ‘customer centricity’ to an approach that centers empathy in every interaction with a customer. That’s why we’ve launched our latest series of blogs, titled ‘Humanizing FinTech’, focused on building empathy and trust in FinTech marketing, products, and processes. Check out pieces 1 and 2 here and here.

    Don’t forget to write in with your thoughts!

    Now back to regular programming - in a big step towards financial inclusion, the Government of India recently launched 75 digital banking units (DBUs) in villages and small towns across the country.

    Over 65% of Indians live far from urban India's glass facades and air-conditioned halls - that’s about 850 million people. And a significant portion of this population doesn’t have easy access to formal banking.

    That’s hopefully going to change with this landmark move. The DBUs have been set up in collaboration with 20+ public and private banks and are physical outlets equipped with tablets and internet services. Individuals and businesses can seek assistance at these units for essential banking services and to access government schemes.

    I can’t help but wonder if this is a precursor to the digital banking license recommended by the Niti Aayog back in November 2021. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

    In the meantime, our CEO Rajat Deshpande wrote a detailed piece on this just yesterday, delving into DBUs and what it means for banks and FinTechs. It’s a refreshing perspective, and I recommend you read it here.

    Finally, here’s some festive cheer for those looking to purchase Samsung appliances soon. India’s largest consumer electronics brand has launched its own digital lending program, Samsung Finance+. With it, consumers can buy their favorite Samsung appliances with a loan sanctioned in just 20 minutes across retail stores.

    The brand aims to take Samsung Finance+ to more than 5000 retail outlets across 1500 cities by the end of this year. Something tells me that'll be a significant success, especially with the festive season in full swing. And who knows, this could be just the first of many finance products for the electronics giant.

    That’s all from me this week, folks! Here are some reads I enjoyed, and I think you will too:

    Thank you for reading. If you liked this edition, forward it to your friends, peers, and colleagues. You can also connect with me on Twitter here and follow FinBox on LinkedIn to never miss any of our updates. 

    Cheers, Mayank

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