Leading Indian bank, ICICI has announced the creation of adigital village that has transformed the ability of rural Indians to accessonline banking, education and health services. Akodara in the Sabarkanthadistrict of Gujarat (in North-West India) is being transformed to celebrateICICI’s 60 birthday and to serve as an example that other rural Indian villagesdo not have to be left out of the technology revolution.
According to the bank, all of the villagers will be providedsavings accounts due to an ICICI program that allows customers to sign upwithout handing over physical documentation. Once signed up, villagers can viewstatements, receive alerts, and send and receive remittances and fund transfersthrough their mobile phones thanks to ICICI bank’s robust mobile payment andbanking service.
Commenting on the creation of the village, Chanda Kochhar,CEO, Icici Bank, said, “Our objective has been to show that technology can beused to eliminate barriers that separate rural and urban India. We hope that itwill catalyse similar initiatives across the country and recreate rural India.”
With the Indian government pushing for the domestic banks todo a better job at providing basic banking and payment services, the creationof this digital village should be considered beyond this marketing stunt anddeployed widely across the country. While rural villagers may not be the mostlucrative of banking customers, over time their economic status could improveand thus justifying the investment for Indian banks.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director Global Payments Advisory Service for Mercator Advisory Group
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