How does the role of technology in banking differ from India to Canada?
Bernice: I wanted to actually know a little bit about how technology plays a role in financial services in India and how that differs… different in Canada.
Sumantra: Sure. I think the first thing that, Bernice, we need to remember is the development in India has been, you know, more recent and Canada has been a bit more mature in that aspect, right? So, I think banking traditionally was with a couple of banks which… which were very large banks in India and to a certain part… and I think until just a few years back, you know, they were just doing things manually. So, there was no concept of even a computer, forget mobile banking. I think in the last three to four years or five years maybe things have dramatically changed, right? So, everything has gone mobile. Everything really, you know, you can solve… literally transfer funds. You can look at your balance. You can look at a different type of products. Everything mobile and on the go, right? I think what’s really interesting is the fact that, in spite of the fact that, you know, there has been a significant penetration of technology and mobile phones. Somehow or the other, I think the tendency of human beings to go to a bank and get certain services done manually hasn’t really changed. And I think that really comes from the fact that has an internal satisfaction of going in, meeting a banker or an adviser, and getting some of your things done, right? So, the things differ when you are an individual. Things differ when you in a business. I may not be well-placed to talk about business as such, but I can tell you from an individual perspective, you know, I understanding the importance of mobile for technology. I would never really go to a bank, right? I mean, I would do things really on the mobile, right? Firstly, if I have to take cash the nearest ATM, right? I’ll go and pick up stuff there. However, traditionally India, if you actually take a look at, I mean, while mobile penetration has gone deeper there are people who really doesn’t know how to use that good, right? I mean, you know, let’s say about a good 30-40 percent of India is still sitting in villages or are slightly, kind of, you know, down urban market for a number of places and environment, right? So, when they go and open an account, right? Typically, I’m assuming a bank wouldn’t tell them to go to their mobile, launch an app and do that, right? So, a lot of the urban cities people would, you know, a lot of the office goers or people who are in service of business, they would use a lot of banking to transfer stuff. But, yeah. I mean, it’s been fairly good. Is it well covered? Kind of, yes. But… but, yet there is there’s a lot of coverage to be done, right? Because Internet as such is not really well penetrated overall in the country. Canada, I think, you know, I mean, again, as I said, I mean, I’ve been to the U.S., right? So, it wasn’t surprising and I’ve dealt with several people, you know? And when I spoke to my clients, my partners, things were just sort of our business. They were about weather. They were about banking. They were about, you know, what are we doing in Halloween? So on and so forth. So, you know, I knew that, you know, it will be far more advanced. You know, the nature of conversation. It’s going to be very professional to the point. You know, somebody isn’t going to direct me. It’s a self-serving country where you know you have to kind of download the app. You have to figure out what things are. So, yeah. I mean, that’s the difference and I think there’s a difference in mentality in terms of what you have and what you’re supposed to do yourself versus the convenience. You know, India plays on where, you know, there is someone of the other always. I mean, you go to a branch here, right? There would be a countable number of executives you see there. I mean, you will probably see about, probably 8,10,15, depending on the size of the branch. I mean, if you go to a brunch any size in India you won’t get anything less than 20-25. So, that’s the difference because there is always someone to kind of really help you there.
Sumantra: I think you know, the shift in mind from the convenience of someone always helping you and giving you right next door to a place where I think that’s the technology. That’s the difference technology has brought.
Are you using a banking app here in Canada?
Bernice: So, did you already download an app for the RBC to use RBC banking?
Sumantra: Oh yes, 4:30 I went to the bank 630pm and downloaded it. Sorry I can be very fast.
Bernice: You work very fast.
Sumantra: I mean, I knew what I’m going to do. It may sound really funny, but I had a real list. A checklist of day 1, day 2 and day 3. I knew what I’m supposed to do. So, yeah. I mean, and …and you know, what happens is, you feel nice when you go and meet someone, right? So say, for example, I’m speaking to you. If you give me the comfort, Bernice, I mean, I’d love to speak to you, right? So similarly, when I’m going to speak to an adviser and the comfort that she gave me was really unparalleled. And I think, you know, I could share it in terms of what I had. I even shared with her the kind of liabilities that I had. What plans you can give me. What can I do later on? I think that was great, that was very interesting.
Bernice: So you already talked about some financial planning strategies?
Sumantra: Absolutely I did.
Bernice: Oh ok.
Sumantra: I did. Again, I mean, yeah. I mean, this is what happens when you get old and you’ve become inflexible. But yes, I did.