JACKSONVILLE, Fla., and KOLKATA, 09 Oct. 2014 – FIS™ (NYSE: FIS), the world’s largest provider of banking and payments technology solutions and a global leader in consulting and outsourcing solutions, today announced it has been selected as the strategic technology partner for India’s largest microfinance institution, Bandhan, which is one of only two entities granted “in-principle” approval by India’s banking regulator to set up a universal bank.
The new banking licenses are part of an effort by India’s government to improve the country’s financial infrastructure, particularly in rural and semirural areas, because only 35 percent of Indians over the age of 15 currently have access to a bank account, according to the World Bank.
Bandhan, which is expected to commence banking operations in early 2015, started as a microcredit organization in 2001with the dual objective of poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. Bandhan already operates as the largest microfinance institution in India with more than USD1 billion in assets serving over 5.8 million customers from operations in 22 states across India. The proposed bank will continue this microfinance activity but is also expected to offer differentiated banking products to untapped market segments in the vast rural and unbanked areas of India. In addition, Bandhan will offer premium services in the urban and metro areas with new service experiences for its affluent clients. To meet the needs of the market, Bandhan plans to commence banking operations with about 600 branches and 10 million customers.
As Bandhan’s strategic technology partner, FIS will provide and manage a fully integrated banking and payments platform through a totally outsourced delivery model, encompassing core banking, channel solutions, treasury, trade finance and an entire suite of payments services that includes switching, debit card management and interbank network connectivity.
“This exciting opportunity to work with Bandhan clearly demonstrates FIS’ proven capabilities in the provision of banking-on-demand solutions. Our comprehensive, in-country servicing capabilities will allow Bandhan to launch its operations whilst remaining focused on bringing financial opportunities to large numbers of people across India,” said Raja Gopalakrishnan, group managing director – Asia-Pacific, and COO, FIS International. “Bandhan is relying on FIS to manage its entire banking infrastructure so that it can focus on the economic needs of its customers and on how to most effectively promote its business.”
“We have a two-pronged strategy to reach customers in both urban and rural areas,” said Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, chairman and managing director, Bandhan. “To quickly and efficiently reach those people, we needed an IT partner who could provide a scalable, agile and cost-effective platform that would grow with our business. FIS was the clear choice.”
FIS is the world’s largest provider of banking and payments technology solutions and a global leader in consulting and outsourcing solutions. With a long history deeply rooted in the financial services sector, FIS serves more than 14,000 institutions in over 110 countries. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., FIS employs more than 40,000 people worldwide and holds leadership positions in payment processing and banking solutions, providing software, services and outsourcing of the technology that drives financial institutions. First in financial technology, FIS tops the annual FinTech 100 list, is 426 on the Fortune 500 and is a member of Standard & Poor’s 500® Index. For more information about FIS, visit www.fisglobal.com.
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Bandhan was born in 2001 under the leadership of Mr. Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, a Senior Ashoka Fellow. The main thrust of Bandhan is to work with women who are socially disadvantaged and economically exploited. Bandhan works for their social upliftment and economic emancipation. Bandhan is engaged in the delivery of microfinance services to the disadvantaged women over the last 13 years.
Incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 and registered as a non-banking finance company with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Bandhan operates in 22 Indian states through a network of 2,016 branches catering to more than 5.8 million customers. It employs 13,000 people. In April 2014, RBI accorded an in-principle approval to Bandhan to set up a bank.
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