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BW Businessworld

“Retail Has To Be Driven By Digital Means”

In a conversation with BW Businessworld’s Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Annurag Batra, Saloni Narayan, DMD, State Bank of India talks about how the State Bank of India faced various challenges posed by the pandemic and overcame them

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What were the key trends over the last eleven months? What stayed the same?
Regarding the home loans, the first three months were a complete wash-out. We were in a negative territory. From July, we saw some uptick but not much. But once the festival season had started, this traction really built. The home loans were back on track.

We have just crossed the one lakh crore of sanctions during this year. Going forward, this is going to continue. 94 per cent of our customers are first-time borrowers. So, you can imagine the need the customers are facing.

What is the one major change that you see is seeing happening in the banking sector?
One very prominent trend that is coming out now is the retail has to be driven by digital means. We are making sure all our offerings are on digital. We are trying to build more and more products around the digital. So that the customers
have to come less to the bank.

What are the innovations that the SBI has adopted in its processes to make it more customer-centric and in tune with the latest technology?

One thing the bank can be proud of is Yono (a digital banking platform). Most of our retail offerings are coming on Yono. One of the main areas we have actually worked on is looking at what the pain points of the customers are.

Today’s customers’ whole expectation is changing. The experience they are getting through Google Pay, Netflix – same experience they come to a branch. The customer is the centre-point of whatever changes we make. We are focused on improving the customer experience in a big way.

What more is required on the Digitisation front? Why is going digital important?
Digital adoption by the banks has to be far more than what it is. For the State Bank, we are totally aligned. We have developed very fine digital architecture, nevertheless, we are continuously looking at the competition and looking at what the big tech is doing. This is the age of partnership and collaboration. And to maintain the leadership position, the digital is the key.