Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Kiva & The Birth of Microfinance

I've always been fascinated by stories and accounts of entrepreneurs. Came across this document a couple of days back, which recounts the starting roots of Kiva by Matt Flannery. It's crisp and makes for extremely interesting reading....What I find even more remarkable is the spirit and determination which drive entrepreneurs towards success.

Why does this figure in this blog...well.... we will over the next few years increasingly see greater advances made in the arena of micro-finance and and the sheer undercurrents of change that are sweeping across the financial services space will most likely require finance professionals to revisit the way we look at the BOP and also in the way we do business....

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Future of Payments ...at your fingertips?

In a recently conducted informal research at Glenbrook on payment preferences, the findings were quite unexpected........The most popular option followed by cash was fingerprint, then contactless. Mobile based payments seemed rather distant


This does pose an interesting perspective and question....where lies the future of retail payments?

In an earlier post, I had highlighted the opportunity presented by biometrics in enhancing security and ease of transactions. In discussions I've had with industry professionals, this has largely met with a "not sure" response. Would the storage of biometric information by banks and financial institutions be considered an extreme intrusion of the customer's privacy, and would urban customers accept this? ...Your views?

Friday, 25 January 2008

Mobile Banking Redefined?

ICICI Bank has launched iMobile, a unique mobile banking platform on mobile phoneswherein customers can now transfer funds to ICICI and Non ICICI Bank accounts on their mobile. The application covers Savings bank, Demat, Credit Card and Loan accounts. Customers can also pay their utility bills and insurance premium through this facility.

This is in line with a spate of mobile applications being launched by service organisations in the banking, insurance and travel segments ( eg. AIG, yatra, PVR). These applications are being designed to work on both SMS and GPRS to tap into the 200 million + mobile subscribers in India.

As everyone in the Industry is going overboard with the large numbers and the tremendous opportunities therein, what clearly waits to be seen is how well the Indian mobile audience will adopt all these services and features.

We are slated to see several new mobile application launches in the coming months in 2008 in this space!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Lending Redefined

If the high interest rates throttle your dreams for that new LCD TV or the holiday in Goa ( as you await your bonus of course!), then make way for Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending.
Yes its back to the good old days when chaps in your community, this time on the Internet, can actually bid to lend you money!

The rates would be lower for you of course vis a vis the mainline banks, and the lenders too can make more money than in a classical bank deposit.

This phenomenon has also been used to a good cause , check out

So, is it goodbye to banks and financial institutions...may be not just yet..... :)

The Yellow Arrow Revolution

Yellow Arrow is a global public art project running in multiple countries. To my mind this is much more than art and more about expression and interpretation.

Yellow arrow stickers can be obtained from their website and placed anywhere, on buildings, park benches, telephone booths or even your car actually! When you see the yellow sticker, you can send the unique code printed on it as a text message to a defined phone number.

You would then receive a text response, sharing an interesting tit bit / trivia about that particular location / building etc, as each arrow links digital content to that particular location.

Yellow arrows are present in over 300 cities across the world allowing citizens to share their experiences and memories with all!

Now thats cool!

You can visit them at