How APAC Financial Services is creating the right “phygital” balance for better customer experience

How APAC Financial Services is creating the right “phygital” balance for better customer experience

APAC Financial Services, a new entrant in the financial services space, is breaking barriers between the physical and digital worlds to deliver a superior customer experience based on simplicity, transparency and confidentiality for its customers.

People move seamlessly between the physical and the digital world, shouldn’t consumer experiences too?

That’s precisely what APAC Financial Services or APAC, the non-banking financial company (NBFC) founded by Deutsche Bank’s former Asia Pacific chief Gunit Chadha is looking at enabling digital technologies,to what it calls as creating a “financial services and fintech” platform.

APAC, which started operations early this year, is looking to leverage rapid innovations in digital technologies and data proliferation, and create new opportunities to generate superior outcomes in the financial services space.

“We are a phygital fintech venture looking to capitalise on the highly favourable dynamics of India’s credit sector. We see a highly compelling opportunity to deliver better outcomes for under-served customers and businesses by leveraging new emerging digital technologies and data in combination with best-in-class execution and risk management,” says Sanjay Sharma, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, APAC.

The company will focus on microfinance, consumer lending, small and medium enterprises and affordable housing among others. It has already launched its Retail Mortgages and SME verticals and plans to launch businesses in other adjacent verticals including MSME lending in the near term.

For instance, Sharma explains that most of APAC’s customers in the affordable housing sector are first time home buyers like kirana store owners, small eatery-joint owners, etc., who were previously unable to realise their dream of home ownership through traditional banking channels. “These customers, while they have the income to service loans, lack the documentation that traditional banking channels require for risk assessment. Through a combination of highly specialised underwriting processes, digital technologies and data, we can now successfully evaluate these customers loan eligibility, thereby allowing under-served customers to purchase a home,” he explains.

APAC is looking at emerging technologies and data, and pairing them with best-in-class executional capabilities and domain knowledge in order to fully utilise their capabilities.

“We are hyper focused on firstly recognising the emerging technologies, and secondly understanding on an extremely granular basis how these technologies can best be deployed,” Sharma says.

The phygital experience: Getting the right mix

It is not news to say that the financial services face great disruption. But in a world characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, digital is both the problem and the solution.

Since APAC has the advantage of having no legacy systems and processes, it has allowed the team to design their business in a highly digitally empowered manner with a focus on creating a platform that leverages technology and data analytics across the entire business cycle (from sourcing to disbursal to servicing).

“We have adopted a mobile first, cloud first digital strategy for building asset light agile organisation. The creation of an open digital API management platform for product and process innovation will enable a strong partner ecosystem, resulting in a consistent omni channel experience for customers across all channels and will leverage the work being done by the numerous fintechs/small technology firms in the market,” says Sharma.

Other key differentiators that are embedded in digital platform of APAC include data driven Risk Management for enhancing the credit underwriting processes, digital data driven workflows for simplification of lending processes and delivering customised processes to client’s unique needs, and use of data analytics for customer experience optimisation and product innovation.

“It is important to have a perfect balance between the digital and physical traditional branch led business models. We strongly believe in strong partnership network and in leveraging the strengths of partners. Some of our partners are UIDAI for Identity verification service, for bank and financial statement analysis, mswipe for payment processing etc. We are in process of building models using GST data for getting insights on sales and receivables data, Facebook for social data etc.,” says Sharma.