CxO of the Week: Rahul Chopra, Chief Digital Officer, Clix Capital

By : |August 12, 2020 0

CxO of the Week: Technological advancements like AI and ML have given a major boost the digital lending space in India. Especially in a time where digital transactions are seeing a major boost, given the changing consumer behaviours in the pandemic, similar alterations are also expected in the way lending has been happening in the country. Thus, CIOL took an opportunity to talk to Rahul Chopra, Chief Digital Officer, Clix Capital about the lending space in India.

How Covid-19 accelerated the transition to digital for the lending industry. What will the new normal be in lending?

The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a game-changer for digital financial services. The industry has leapfrogged 5 years digitally in just a few weeks. Advancement in mobile money, FinTech services, and online banking are resulting in higher financial inclusion and lower cost of operations which will ultimately boost economic growth.

Digital payment services are evolving into digital lending, as companies accumulate users’ data and develop newer ways to use it for underwriting credit.

Digital Lending is the ‘New Normal’. Small businesses have to move into fully digital lending eco-system where speed is the key. Loans that once may have taken weeks to get into customers hands are now getting processed and funded in a few hours. Improvement in speed, cycle time & cost are key focus areas.

Do you think demonetisation accelerated the speed of our acceptance digital payments?

While demonetization gave a short term boost to digital payments, the long term impact was rather subdued. The boost reversed significantly once the cash was again in abundant supply. More than demonetisation it is the Covid-19 pandemic that has boosted Digital Payments. I would say Indians are now dumping cash for Digital payments.

This time boost in digital payment is different from demonetisation time for the simple reason that this time it is more consumer-led move towards digital payment rather than anything else.

Do you think the Pandemic forced us to move to digital lending?

Digital lending in some form has been a part of the Lending ecosystem in India for the past few years. However, the fact is that pandemic gave it a fresh boost to make it genuinely digital and absolute contactless.

Pandemic has resulted in re-modelling of the traditional brick & mortar sales engagement business model to new hybrid &/or fully Digital engagement models.

What is the future of Digital Lending?

I would say the future is Digital Lending. ‘Little to No person’ visits for consumer loan powered by automated evaluations leveraging on technologies like Analytics, AI/DI(Decision Intelligence), Digital footprints as a substitute to physical documentation, usage of third party data (e.g. e-commerce) to define eligibility boosting underwriting assessments will slowly become commonplace in Digital Lending.

Partnerships and Direct to Customer channel are going to be the key business drivers. Earlier Digital was enabler but now the whole business model has to pivot on Digital.

How has Covid-19 altered consumer behaviour and its’ repercussions for the lending industry?

While the Consumer behaviour at large has not changed, as in the consumer is still optimistic, and positive per se. However in the short to medium term, there are setbacks, but the Indian consumer has always been buoyant and will bounce back to reflect in the long term. Consumers are more online than ever, which will only benefit Digital Lending more.

Clix is an NBFC. So, what according to you is increasing the gap in the market and the core financial service providers like banks?

NBFCs provide financing to consumers whose banks are unable to reach or service due to a variety of factors. It’s not that these consumers are not creditworthy. NBFCs play a pivotal role in economic development by providing financing to these customers and enabling financial inclusion. NBFCs are more agile and more flexible to meet the different requirements of different customers. Banks and NBFCs co-exist and both are needed to provide credit to all users.

What are your plans for Clix?

At Clix, a customer comes first, second and third. ‘Digital Mature companies’ and ‘Digital focused companies’ are coping best during this time as pandemic has led to ‘forced digital move’ which actually helped Clix to accelerate & improvise on end to end Digital Customer Experience.

We are in the middle of launching various industry-first digital innovations. Our ‘Direct to Customer’ online channel is designed to offer loan decision under 2 minutes and loan disbursal to the customer account in less than 15min.

Strategically we are also focusing on ‘Digital Commerce thru conversational Apps’ by creating human-like bots. Our WhatsApp Business account & Clix’s AI-powered virtual assistant, Maya is proving to be quite a boon in the current scenario. Maya has multiple use cases, is multilingual and has been very well received with the majority of our total customer queries being addressed through it in just a few months.

As a digital leader, what are some key things, which you suggest, that any company should focus on?

Re-examine all strategies, interventions & product roadmaps. It’s very important to keep customers at the core of anything we do. It’s critical to have the end state from a customer’s perspective in mind.

Focus on your existing customer base, if we take care of our customers ‘they will stay with us’ and at the same time do empower employees to help service customer better hence put focus around customer service. Put an exclusive focus on customer acquisition thru data-driven.

Digital Marketing & strategic partnerships to acquire new customers, retargeting existing base in innovative ways to boost repeat customers. AND this focused approach will surely give better ‘ROI’.

What’s your mantra to become successful in life and what would you like to give back to society?

‘Success is a mindset’. To me being happy, content at peace is Success and there is no Mantra for it other than striving for best. Every human being has a light inside which guides one-selves to achieve the impossible. Let the light inside be a flame outside for the world to see. ‘You are what you want to be’ so ‘Don’t wish for it, work for it’.

I feel privileged and can’t thank God enough for making me the chosen one however I truly believe that there are people in society who are less privileged than me and I have onus towards them. Carrying forward this ideology have associated me with an NGO which deals in educating the students. I am inclined towards the upliftment of the NGO in physical, financial, social & emotional way. Hopefully, if we are able to bring change in these children. We will bring change in society and at a very minuscule level play a part in building our nation.

Read here for the previous CxO of the Week.

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