An Interview with Shantanu Sengupta, Head, Consumer Banking Group, DBS Bank India

"We have seen a significant amount of action in the fintech space in India - competition is no longer limited to banks, the competition today is with the banks and fintech providers; the entry of the disruptors has helped the overall ecosystem by driving awareness and inquisitiveness in customers to try new-age digital solutions..."

FST Media: What are your business and digital priorities for the next 6 months?                                                                    

Sengupta: Making banking joyful for our customers has always been our priority. The response we have seen since our launch in April has very encouraging. Over the next 6 months, we will continue to focus on building the customer base. Having said that, understanding the customer and integrating ourselves seamlessly in the customer daily life will continue to remain in all of our decisions. With India going digital, we would like DBS to be the preferred bank for customers in their digital evolution.


FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the single biggest game changer across the finance industry?

Sengupta: Customers today prefer simple, fast solutions for everything. For Financial services this means to be able to provide the one stop solution for all their financial needs. One of the most recent and most talked-about innovations we’ve seen is the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) which we believe will change how our customers look at banking. UPI will enable customers to manage bank accounts held across banks, make payments using identifiers other than the bank account and a lot more all through a single mobile interface, that may or may not be provided by the bank where the customer holds an account.


FST Media: How are you leveraging big data and analytics at DBS to create customer-centric products and services?

Sengupta: As we go about building our customer base, engagement with our customers at the right time in the right manner will become key to ensuring that the experience we provide is superlative. Our Virtual Assistant available on the digibank app is an excellent example of how we are leveraging the tools available. An AI powered engine, it can answer more than 90 per cent of the customers’ queries without any human intervention. In addition, this also helps us understand the customer behavior and provide them with products more suitable to their needs and lifestyle. As we grow, we will use a combination of knowledge acquired through these tools and transaction patterns to engage our customers with messages that are relevant to them. 


FST Media: How are fintech disrupters threatening the Indian banking industry?

Sengupta: We have seen a significant amount of action in the fintech space in India in the last couple of years. Competition is no longer limited to banks – the competition today is with the banks and fintech providers and the player that can offer the best customer experience will emerge the winner. However more than a threat - the way I see it, the entry of the disruptors has helped the overall ecosystem by driving awareness and inquisitiveness in customers to try new-age digital payments. If you see the numbers, in the last few years, the cash in the market has reduced significantly and this is exactly what we want.


FST Media: What is the ideal innovation ecosystem?

Sengupta: An ecosystem which can create positive value for each and every stakeholder in the system can be termed ideal. Innovation should be effective, transparent and value adding to both the customer and the bank.


FST Media: How does DBS India work with fintech enablers?

Sengupta: Being the bank which places customer at the highest pinnacle, DBS is always looking for new innovations in financial services. To partake in evolution of this fin-tech embedded banking ecosystem we have set up DBS Asia Hub-2 in Hyderabad which actively spearheads out tech driven initiatives.


FST Media: What is next big thing for DBS India and how will you measure its success?

Sengupta: Our future success depends on our ability to innovate, harness the digital revolution and completely re-imagine the role of banks and the customer’s experience. By harnessing the digital opportunity, we are thinking deeply about customers’ true needs and their real-jobs-to-be-done, and how we can extend our reach.

However, this is a lot more than adding a few digital apps in front of our clients. It requires:

  •  A deep rethink about our basic value proposition
  •  A shift in culture
  •  A comprehensive re-architecture of our technology

It is the challenge of culture and legacy technology that prevents most incumbents from true transformation. However, at DBS, we believe we have made good headway on all three areas above. 


FST Media: What is the key to running a successful team of staff?

Sengupta: Belief in your team is always a key factor. My team doesn’t work for me; it works with me.