Axis Bank, India’s third largest private bank, and IDEA Cellular, the pan-India mobile operator, today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), whereby Idea will act as a ‘Business Correspondent’ of Axis Bank to provide an entire range of financial products and services offered by the Bank, through the mobile operator’s retail outlets.
The association will be flagged-off with a ‘remittance pilot’ between Dharavi in suburban Mumbai and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, which will enable money transfer using the mobile platform. Idea and Axis Bank will also explore extending the association to include other banking products and services such as savings, credit, micro insurance, micro SIP and micro pensions in a phased manner. On completion of the successful pilot, a full range of banking services is proposed to be launched across the pan-India footprint of IDEA Cellular, subject to receipt of all statutory and regulatory approvals.
S K Mitra – President, Agri Business & Rural Banking - Axis Bank, while speaking about the project said, “As a total solutions bank, we are always exploring options to deliver improved and convenient services to customers across all strata of the society. We have already undertaken urban and rural financial inclusion initiatives in parts of India on a POS platform through our Business Correspondents. We were keen to adopt additional delivery channels to drive financial inclusion and were particularly keen on a mobile based channel, considering the reach and the low cost service delivery platform. Since only 41% of the adult population have bank accounts, whereas more than 70% of adults own a mobile connection, associating with a telecom service provider looked to be the apt choice.”
Talking about the project, Ambrish Jain, Director - Operations, IDEA Cellular said: “We are pleased to partner Axis Bank in its Financial Inclusion initiative through a pilot based on mobile-enabled low-cost banking service model. Idea’s mobile technology platform will enable the provision of a gamut of banking products and services to the end customer, and allow cash transactions at select Idea retail points.”