ECONOMYTransactions at India Post Bank up over twofold since...

Transactions at India Post Bank up over twofold since the start of pandemic

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India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has recorded an over twofold increase in transactions since the beginning of the pandemic last year, even as payments banks have in general been struggling to find a viable business model.

The sovereign-owned lender on average records about 1 million transactions worth Rs 30 crore daily. It may now create a platform for digital services with India Posts’ network.

“This (number of transactions) has phenomenally grown since the Covid outbreak that crippled usual peoples’ movement,” India Post Payments Bank managing director J Venkatramu told ET.

“In the past 15 months, 4.5 lakh customers used the digital life certificate platform that appeared to be a big relief for senior citizens, who could not move out due to health hazards and lockdown restrictions,” he said.

Digital life certificate, which enables senior citizens to upload their proof of life for any pension scheme, instead of appearing in person before the authorities, is among several citizen services the payment bank introduced a few months ago.

“A synergy between India Posts’ huge network and our digital technologies can create wonders in the rural banking space,” Venkatramu, who is also its chief executive, said.

Post office customers have the facility to transfer funds online from their IPPB account to different schemes of post office like PPF, Sukanya Samriddhi and recurring deposit without the need to visit a post office.

A platform may now be created for the digital services with India Posts’ network anchoring the same.

“Aadhaar will be our key focus area for such a digitisation plan,” said Venkatramu.

The bank has already put in place an assisted digital service platform offering various basic banking services through the Grameen Dak Sevaks of India Post. The core banking has connected all post offices for offering banking services.

However, physical visit to post offices remains a key for millions of savers, who wants to earn higher interest income than traditional bank deposit plans.

“We want to act as a digital frontend to India Post enabling delivery of scalable services at the last mile,” said the CEO.

The payment bank, launched in 2018, is aiming to bolster its fee income by providing various customer-centric services through collaboration. IPPB is already associated with the Direct Benefit Transfer programme, the government’s pet project to reach its grants to the beneficiaries. It has 650 branches and a deposit book of over Rs 2,500 crore.

“We aspire to become a formidable player in the rural financial services space,” said Venkatramu.

The bank has also rolled out 2-wheeler and 4-wheeler insurance in the assisted model, which will enable the IPPB customer to get their insurance done through the postmen or the post office.

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