Mr. Adhil Shetty, Founder & CEO BankBazaar has set for himself an incisive vision of making BankBazaar.com the go-to brand for investors and loan aspirants which is bound to shift the contours of how loans, cards and insurance products are bought by individuals.
- Team Estrade: How did you come up with the idea of BankBazaar?
Adhil Shetty: One of the co-founder Arjun Shetty, was interested in buying a home in India. Getting the home-loan for it was a tiring and tedious process and he faced some of the common frustrations that a consumer faces while searching for the best deal on a home loan. There was no clarity on the process, too much documentation, and a lot of difficulty in comparing offers across lenders. Above all, very often the information provided by the agents proved to be wrong.
Arjun came from a strong technology and banking background and couldn’t understand why this process was so difficult. Arjun ran the world’s single largest online acquisition channel for cards with Amazon in the USA. Frustrated with the entire process of getting a home loan, he, along with Rati and I, decided to develop a credit-processing platform for the Indian banking industry. Hence, in 2007, we decided to come back to India and started BankBazaar.com.
- Team Estrade: What is so unique about BankBazaar from its competitors?
Adhil Shetty: The biggest factor that sets us apart from the rest is that BankBazaar is not merely an aggregator. We offer the largest number of financial products in the market as well as the largest number of partner organizations including the biggest nationalized and private banks, NBFCs, and insurance companies. Currently we have partnered with more than 50 institutions to provide more than 100 distinct products.
BankBazaar.com provides an end-to-end financial services. We have a full-fledged application platform where people can search of offers, select the one that suits them the best, and then apply for it online. BankBazaar.com does not close the process with the application. We provide constant support and assistance at every stage of the application process all the way to the final disbursal.
Unlike our competitors, we do not follow a lead-based system where all customer details are passed on to different banks as leads. Only once an application is submitted are the customer details are passed on the respective bank along with the application. We have strict privacy norms in place to make sure that customer data is not passed on to any third party, so there are practically zero chances that our customers will be spammed.
- Team Estrade: What’s your approach to developing and sustaining strategic alliances with banks & financial institutions?
Adhil Shetty: Traditional Players in the market spend a fair amount of money on brick-and-mortar investments as well as manpower, especially in Tier-2 and Ties-3 cities. We are challenging and changing the status quo and making the process better through the use of technology.
Online aggregation of financial products can save on customer acquisition costs. We can provide up to 20% cost savings to banks with our technology automation. We can verify PAN numbers and bank statements online, which makes sure that the right customers reach the bank.
Also, on an average, 40 lakh people use the platform monthly. This is a huge exposure for the banks. All these are big USPs for the banks.
“Financial institutions, both public as well as private sector have realized the interest shown by customers and are open to going online”
- Team Estrade: The ratio of applying loans online is just a fraction of what offline is, how do you think it can increase?
Adhil Shetty: Though the number of online applications is small a percentage of the total applications, we have seen a clear trend in favor of online purchases of financial products, both from customers as well as from the banks. We have seen a lot of traction from customers for a number of reasons, primarily security and accessibility. This is especially evident from the number of applications from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cites and the border regions. We have seen cases where the loan application amount was more than Rs.10 Cr. Financial institutions, both public as well as private sector have realized the interest shown by customers and are open to going online. So the one major road-block is infrastructure. Though there is Internet available in non-metro cities of India, the penetration is low and services could be better. As the infrastructure grows, the reach and popularity of the online model will also grow.
- Team Estrade: What is your customer acquisition strategy?
Adhil Shetty: BankBazaar’s goal is to help consumers access the right financial products and grow to be the dominant marketplace for financial products. To achieve these twin goals, we have simplified banking so that that it is as easy as shopping. We have made sure our customers have access to the maximum number of products from the widest range of financial institutions. We have introduced and strengthened mobile access and have made several processes, such as PAN card verification and bank statement submission, completely paperless.
Our main challenge at this point is the customer mindset, which has still not moved out of the traditional thinking that personal finance is tricky and complicated, and better left to experts. To overcome this challenge, we have started many initiatives to provide resources across media from blogs to videos for customers to educate themselves on all personal finance related matters.
“BankBazaar.com will continue to focus on mobile and paperless technology in 2016”
- Team Estrade: What’s your revenue generation model? Is it majorly advertising or lead generation and how do you track your leads?
Adhil Shetty: BankBazaar.com’s revenue comes from applications-based commission from banks. There is no commission or charge to customers. We are not lead-based aggregators but application-based end-to-end financial service providers.
- Team Estrade: What technology trends are likely to transform banking industry over the next 5 years?
Adhil Shetty: The transparency and security of online transactions are the biggest attractions. Over time, this attraction will only increase. So we are looking at increased security for online transactions. The biggest and most disruptive technology would be mobile. Mobile has already redefined the way we look at so many things, and this trend is here to stay. There is no question that mobile will change the way financial products are consumed.
The one thing that we see reducing drastically is the decision-making time and the related paperwork. More and more information will go online and paperless. We have already started implementing paperless bank statements.
- Team Estrade: Please shed some light on your roadmap for next five years?
Adhil Shetty: BankBazaar.com will continue to focus on mobile and paperless technology in 2016. Additionally, we will be focusing on market development for Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities as well as increasing our market penetration in the Metro cities. We are also speeding up our efforts to provide customer authentication. BankBazaar.com’s vision is to deliver completely paperless financial transactions with the shortest sales cycle, and we are looking to make this vision a reality in 2016.
Bank Bazaar: We offer the largest number of financial products online