‘Large banks have gone on a wrong path’

By : |March 31, 2008 0

Chennai-based Laser Soft Infosystems Ltd has come a long way to become a player to reckon with in the development of software for banking and financial service sector.

Incepted in 1986, by B Suresh Kamath, an M Tech holder from Madras IIT Laser Soft has product offerings for the entire banking operations including Core Banking and 24 other specialized products, covering the entire gamut of banking activities.

Now it is third leading player in the Indian banking software industry. With over 5000 installations in India and overseas, Laser Soft is today handling four Core Banking projects both in India and overseas.

                                 

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After concentrating much on the domestic market, Laser Soft is all set to enter the markets abroad in a big way, especially the US, says Laser soft Chairman and Managing Director B Suresh Kamath in this brief interview with B.F. Firos of CyberMedia News.


How has been the domestic market, which is your focus? Do you have any plans to enter the market abroad in a big way?

We have seen excellent growth for our products in the domestic market in the financial year 2007-08. This year has been the best year for Laser Soft since inception.

Our products have matured; we are the only company offering a pure Java technology-based Core Banking Solutions and the market has tremendous goodwill for our products and very committed customer support. We are already in the Middle East market and are now preparing ourselves to enter into the US market in a big way during the next financial year.

How many clients you have? Please name a few

We have more than 50 big banks in India and abroad. Our customers include Corporation Bank, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Ing Vysys Bank, Canara Bank, Amex, Andhra Bank, Bank Muscat International Bahrain, Janata Bank UAE, etc.

Where do you see more growth coming from? Abroad or domestic?

We see higher growth (in excess of 50 per cent) coming from the overseas sector. The domestic sector will see similar levels of growth (30 per cent) in the coming year.

How equipped you are to cater to the new generation solutions in the context of the arrival of foreign/private banks with their superior technology-based services?

We are the only company offering a most modern Java-based core-banking solution. In addition to that, we have all the products a modern bank requires including Trade Finance, Treasury, Cash Management, Private Banking, Internet Banking, Back Volume Server, Mutual Funds, Asset Liab Management, Anti-Money Laundering, Generic Recon Solution, Retail Loan Origination, Corporate and SME loan Origination, Software for financial Inclusion, etc.

All our competitors offer solutions with old technology wrapped with some browser technology.

Except investments by a few large and mid-sized banks, IT deployment is yet to be taken up in a big way by small, medium and co-operative banks in India. Do you see a change in mindset, which would ultimately be beneficial for companies like yours?

Large banks in the country have gone on a wrong path of high cost investments and low benefits. Moreover, they have implemented solutions that have very high transaction costs.

Small, medium and co-operative banks require cost-effective solutions that can run providing a very low transaction costs. This is very much required even by large banks if they have to go in a big way into rural and small town banking. We offer latest technology solutions, with very innovative technology and product design that can bring down transaction costs for banks in a dramatic fashion.

What is your strategy to grow the business?

Our strategy is to reduce transaction costs to our customers, at the same time offering them latest technology-based innovative products. The offerings will ensure all regulatory compliance, minimize risk in operations and help banks to retain customers and acquire new customers.

What do you think makes Indian banking software companies so popular in the global market? What makes it possible for the banking software segment to tide over competition from international players like Temenos?

Indian Software companies have access to a huge talent pool of software engineers. Indian software companies’ banking products and solutions are based on modern technology and they are used to handle volumes of transactions in the Indian market.

Most of the overseas players still use legacy technology and are finding it difficult to move over to latest technology offerings. Indian companies can offer latest technology solutions and can bring down IT costs for international banks.

Any plans to expand your solution portfolio into emerging potential areas like treasury, wealth management, etc?

We already have comprehensive products treasury for private banking (wealth management). We are working on bringing our Islamic banking product range: core banking and loan origination systems.

Do you see a shift in the focus of Indian banking solution providers from being a provider of branch automation software to one providing specialized products in areas like asset liability management, which calls for a greater amount of domain expertise?

This shift has already happened. The future is about offering all these under an integrated umbrella of a Core Banking System, so that banks can reduce the number of interfaces they have to develop and hence reduce the complexity in their IT deployments.

Any future plans?

Our plans are to enter the US market and create more and more employment for Differently Abled People.

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