As India went into lockdown to contain the Covid-19 crisis in March, the country's third-largest private sector lender Axis Bank moved swiftly to ensure that employees have access to critical applications to maintain business continuity.
The crisis tested the resilience of the banking sector, given that even the most robust business continuity plans were not prepared for an event of this magnitude. Overnight, several customers moved their shopping and transactions online through cards and UPI (unified payments interface).
In an interview with TechCircle, Ratan Kesh Axis Bank's executive vice president and head of retail operations and service spoke about how the pandemic has shaped the bank’s digital strategy. The event has led the bank to think digital delivery of its products and cloud-first for its applications.
According to Kesh, technology has to become pervasive for the banking sector to withstand a situation when 70% of the employees work remotely.
Axis Bank's artificial intelligence-based solution already processes most cheques and helps automate customer identity verifications apart from video know-your-customer (KYC) services.
Kesh, who joined Axis about 18 months ago, was promoted to his current role in April amid the pandemic and was previously heading the process transformation and customer experience. An industry veteran, Kesh worked at Yes Bank for four years and eight at HDFC, the country's largest bank by market capitalisation. A mechanical engineer from NIT-Durgapur, he earned his post-graduate diploma in management from NMIMS University, before starting his career at ICICI bank in 2005.