Sunday, 28 September 2008

Hunger Redefined....

  1. 25,000 lives are lost every day from hunger and poverty; even a bad case of diarrhea can lead to death because of weakness caused by hunger
  2. More than 800 million people know what it feels like to go to bed hungry; most of them women and children
  3. Malnutrition causes more than half of all child deaths.
  4. Poor families spend over 70% of their income on food.
  5. More than 100 million children are stunted physically and mentally from malnutrition, wrecking their chances for a good education and productive future
On this bright Sunday, as you set out for a sumptuous lunch and an afternoon siesta, may I request you to kindly put your grey cells together and think once again how the banking and finance communities can re-engineer and make a difference...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

It's Crunch Time for Mobile Banking in India

The Reserve Bank of India has updated the Mobile Banking Guidelines. You would recollect that the draft had been published a few months back, and most decisions had come to a standstill as solution providers and banks awaited the final version.

A transaction cap of Rs. 2.500 per txn and Rs. 5,000 per customer per day is one of the highlights. It would also be interesting to see the guidelines issued by some other central banks inc
luding the State Bank of Pakistan.

This is a significant milestone offering banks and solution providers a broad framework to move forward. We should see several initiatives being launched over the course of the year, now that this release is out.

However, as I've stated several times earlier as well, mobile banking applications and standards in itself would not be able to serve the larger objectives of inclusion if aspects of interoperability and financial inclusion regulations are not addressed quickly. The Mobile Payments Forum of India, triggered by IRDBT is a move in that direction
, but perhaps a more authoritative and direct participation by the RBI and the government would provide the necessary boost to make this a reality.

A wordle depiction of this article for your humour below...

Monday, 8 September 2008

Of Icons & Defaults!

An iconic brand is a legacy that most marketers would like to bequeath to the world. A brand that builds a strong relationship over the customer life-cycle and consistently delivers value at various life stages, yet retaining its charm and appeal allowing customers to clearly express their personality in a distinctive manner!

The last decade has been an excitingly turbulent one for financial services brands, driving a roller coaster of emotions for consumers alike. These brands have expanded the market, taking risks of market expansion in their stride and expanding the customer base. Having providing a financial identity to several customers and enhancing the expenditure appetites, the players have successfully fueled the growth of a wide array of industries including the housing, travel and retail fashion sectors.

These brands were viewed as the "dream merchants" that not only showed you the dreams, but actually financed them. Instant loan approvals, cashbacks, rock bottom rates and flexible pricing structures were the darlings of every consumer from New York to New Delhi!

With the collapse of the housing markets across the globe, the meltdown in the financial services space has commenced with rising defaults across all formats of secured and unsecured lending. With the nationalization of Freddie and Fannie, the mortgage majors that fueled the palatial dreams of millions, the market has really turned a corner.

The dream merchants are now perceived as the vultures, as banks and financial institutions are calling in the loans, raising rates or pushing the envelope on the collection engines to curb delinquencies and quell defaults.
The monthly statements carrying special offers and treats have now proven to be the messengers of evil debits.

In these trying times, wherein economic survival is in itself the prerogative, how should financial services brands' retain their vigour and connect with their customers? For customers facing challenges in loan repayments, these brands may find it increasingly tough in retaining their emotional connect and relevance.

So, is it really possible to retain the inconic "dream merchant" status even during and post recessionary trends for customers. And moving to an even more pertinent question, do we have brands in the financial services space that are truly iconic! Where lie the Cokes and Apples of the financial services world?

It is often viewed that lending is a "serious" business and meeting consumers financial needs is the stuff of "serious" brands. American Express, Wells Fargo, ABN AMRO, RBS have hit the list of the worlds 100 top brands, but yet again "iconic" fervour is not something that comes to mind too often in their association.

Where arst thou James Dean?

Speeding Time to Market....

Hey...I've been out of action for a while...working on some new blogs and other initiatives...anyways...back in action..

Came across a Cap Gemini Report on...
  • Speeding Time to Market..
  • Increasing Time in Market...&
  • Maintaining Market Velocity...
Its not an outstanding report, but quite often makes sense to revisit the basics. The strategic imperative of reducing product development cycles and accelerating time to market has been much written. The paper attempts to quantify the revenue impact of achieving the above strategic goalsa

Do browse through it and perhaps revisit some of your businesses and product initiatives....

To read the report click here...