A change all of India is banking on

The Indian cabinet is offering its citizens zero-balance bank accounts. Will small change make a big impact?

Just a few years ago, a study by consulting firm PwC revealed that at least 233 million Indians had no access to basic banking services1 (meaning they had to stash their hard-earned savings in a biscuit tin). Recognising that financial inclusion could be the catalyst to improving livelihood and raising income, the Indian government launched a programme in 2014 that offered basic bank accounts with no minimum balance requirements. The response was astonishing: during the first week of the programme, a record-breaking 18,096,1302 formal bank accounts were set up.

Four years later, more than 300 million new customers — mostly in rural parts of India — have gained access to banking services such as loans and remittance. Meanwhile local Indian banks have also overseen the growth in quantity and value of mobile banking transactions, which include instant transactions made through text messages and online banking, by almost five times. As digitalised banking takes off, the massive influx of new customers offers banks a major growth opportunity.

Spurred by political will, creativity, innovation and desire for positive change, the changes in banking are empowering the underserved population of India on a massive scale and at a blistering pace. The resulting products and services not only better the lives of locals, they help break long-standing societal boundaries within the subcontinent, which can unlock the immense potential of the world’s seventh-largest economy (by GDP)3.

Selecting an investment manager with local insights and an expert understanding of the market is crucial. Eastspring Investments’ in-depth knowledge of India can help you uncover its wealth of investment opportunities.

1 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/40-of-India-is-unbanked-hurting-the-most-Exchange-Of-Currency-Permitted-Only-Once-Till-RBI-Review/articleshow/55392031.cms
2 https://www.ibm.com/blogs/insights-on-business/banking/india-banking-digital-reinvention/
3 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/03/worlds-biggest-economies-in-2017/

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