This Banker Explains Why Confluence of Fintech and Banks is Unavoidable

Ravindra Prabhakar Marathe, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Bank of Maharashtra, shares how they are addressing the needs of SMEs while adapting to new age technologies

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What Kind of Support is the Bank Providing to the Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises (MSME)?

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SMEs and MSMEs have contributed greatly to the economic growth of the country. However, many emerging and existing SMEs and MSMEs today are in need of finance to get ahead. Understanding the importance, Bank of Maharashtra offers various products to cater to the requirements of SMEs. Various schemes which have been launched in this respect are FASS (financial assistance to service sector), Maha MSME Project Loan Scheme, Maha MSME Machinery, Equipment Loan Scheme, Maha MSME Cash Credit Scheme, Maha MSME Collateral Free Term Loan Scheme, Maha MSME Collateral Free Cash Credit Scheme, etc.

What is the Total Size of Your Loan and How Much Does SMEs Contribute to it?

Our total loan size is INR 10,4,897 crore, out of which loan size under SMEs is about INR 18,994 crore (18.11 per cent).

Do You Have Plans to Get Into Start-up Financing?

New emerging ideas and business models actually help in creating a better business and social eco-system, but as funding can become a hindrance for these start-ups into developing a full-fledged business, we at Bank of Maharashtra encourage them through our schemes. Start-up India and Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme are two such examples. Through the Start-Up India scheme, we provide composite loan (inclusive of term loan and working capital) between Rs 10 lakh and up to Rs 100 lakh.

And What About Embracing New Age Technologies Like Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

We are exploring the new technologies including blockchain and AI. The bank is a part of the BankChain group (a group community of banks for exploring, building and implementing blockchain solutions). Formed in February 2017, State Bank of India (one of the largest banks in the world) was the first member of the BankChain which now has 30 members globally.

Lasty, What is Your View on Fintech - Do You See it as a Disruptor or Collaborator?

Technology helps make life easy, and evidently the banking, financial services and insurance sector is also following suit. Usage of fintech solutions not only help banks in serving its customers better and faster while being transparent and cost effective, but also helps customers make hassle-free transactions. A confluence of fintech and banking is in a way unavoidable, but also beneficial. Going digital has become almost second nature after demonetisation. The government enabled Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for easy transactions across banks, and our bank was one of the first banks to get integrated with this system.

(This article was first published in the February issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)