Monday,22 April 2024

SBI’s Krishnan: “We prioritise high availability, scalability and security”

5 min read

Interviewed By Chris Kapfer

SBI Singapore’s CIO discusses YONO’s global expansion in US and Singapore, and its integrated super app that caters to over 60 million registered users and wielding significant impact

Vidya Krishnan, deputy managing director and chief information officer at State Bank of India (SBI) in Singapore, talked to us about the bank’s strengths, digital empowerment goals, and the international expansion of its integrated digital lifestyle superstore YONO (You Only Need One). YONO debuted in late 2017 in India and is now accessible in nine overseas markets as well. The YONO app offers services and products across a range of needs including banking, lifestyle, insurance, investment, and retail. 

Expansions plans include launches in US and Singapore, with the latter focusing on retail banking, investments, and cross-border payments. SBI will also expand services for the Singapore-India payments corridor. This aligns with the integration of Singapore’s PayNow network with India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system in March 2023.

While it may seem unusual for a state-owned commercial bank to develop a super app strategy, SBI has opted to go in this direction for good reason. It is India’s largest retail bank with over 22,000 branches and more than 430 million customers globally. In India, the bank holds a market share of over 20% across products and customers and commands a 30% market share of the more than 10 billion monthly transactions on the country’s UPI.

The YONO platform currently has 60 million registered clients who log in 50 million times per month. Krishnan said that the platform’s goal is to give consumers a one-stop shop to support their lifestyle. Some 58% of users live in rural and semi-urban areas. YONO also conducts over 500,000 international and local remittance transactions daily.

The financial superstore includes services for booking travel and movie tickets, bills, and paying for cell phone subscriptions. YONO integrates with multiple third-party financial and non-financial providers via application programming interfaces, covering a range from real estate to insurance and investments. It also features sub-apps like YONO Business for corporates, YONO Global for overseas clients, and YONO KRISHI for farmers.

YONO has become a critical sales engine for SBI. Krishna stated: “On a daily basis, we open 35,000 new bank accounts that contribute between 60% to 70% of all accounts opened at SBI India today.” The app has disbursed $11.5 billion in pre-approved personal loans to 4.8 million customers since 2017. The entire process is digital and fully automated, including pre-approval, powered by machine learning tools.

In 2023 alone, YONO is expected to report the issue of 500,000 new credit cards, 800,000 insurance policies, and $110 million in mutual funds. The platform rests on the bank’s Finacle IT architecture. Krishnan highlighted that high availability, scalability, and security are paramount from an operational perspective.

She added that SBI is preparing to launch a major update with YONO 2.0, scheduled for release by 2024 that will bring further improvements in uptime and speed to market. The bank is integrating customer relationship management and artificial intelligence elements into its customer products.

YONO has expanded into nine international markets, aiming to replicate its domestic success in India. This strategy steers clear of a one-size-fits-all approach while maintaining consistent design principles, product offerings, and regulatory compliance to cater to different customer expectations and market conditions.


Keywords: Digital Empowerment, International Expansion, Banking, Lifestyle, Insurance, Investment, Retail, Digital Lifestyle Superstore, High Availability, Rural Areas, International Remittance Transactions, Learning Tools, Credit Cards, Mutual Funds, Finacle It Architecture, International Markets, Retail Banking, Investments, Cross-Border Payments, Paynow Network
Institutions: State Bank Of India (SBI)
Country: India, USA, Singapore
People : Vidya Krishnan
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