HDFC Bank has recently launched a digital distribution platform (DDP) called ‘HDFC Bank Smart Saathi’ to connect business correspondents and business facilitators to the bank. The platform was inaugurated in the capital city by Vivek Joshi, Secretary of Department of Financial Services (DFS), and Smita Bhagat, Group Head of Government and Institutional Business, Alternate Banking Channels and Partnerships, Inclusive Banking Group and Start-Ups, HDFC Bank.
The launch of this digital platform is a significant step towards fulfilling India’s vision of a cashless economy and true digital financial inclusion, said Vivek Joshi. The Smart Saathi platform will play a crucial role in providing banking products and services, especially credit, to rural customers, thereby contributing to the development of the country.
However, there are still some customer segments, like farmers transacting at mandis, that require behavioral changes to make cashless India a bigger success, added Joshi. He believes that business correspondents will help bring about this change.
Smita Bhagat added that the bank plans to reach two lakh villages over the next 12 to 18 months through a combination of branches and agent networks, and the launch of this platform is a vital step towards meeting this objective. Business correspondents have traditionally focused primarily on opening accounts and transactions. Still, HDFC Bank Smart Saathi will enable its agents to offer over 40 banking products and services, including loan products, making banking accessible to everyone.
This will not only enhance the income generation of agents but also enable customers to access easy credit. Furthermore, the platform will help build the capacity of agents and increase financial literacy among customers.