India-based BFSI Consulting has brought to market a new remote banking solution, Egalite, based on the Android platform. Asomi Finance, a domestic microfinance entity, has become the first taker of Egalite. BFSI Consulting is now eyeing international markets and looking for partners.

Prakhash Nagabushanam, BFSI Consulting unveils new agency banking solution, Egalite

Prakhash Nagabushanam, BFSI Consulting

The name ‘Egalite’ is derived from the French word for equality, and is a mobile banking solution aimed at banks and financial institutions working on financial inclusion programmes.

To date, the agent and/or banking correspondent work has mostly been done either manually or via handheld devices (e.g. POS machines), says Prakhash Nagabushanam, founder of BFSI Consulting. ‘We are one of the very few companies to have developed a solution specifically for an Android tablet device. Furthermore, our solution can be directly connected via 3G to the core system of the bank, which is not possible with handheld devices. So to that extent, Egalite is a disruptive solution to this industry.’

Egalite’s functionality covers customer enrolment, cash deposit and withdrawal, deposit mobilisation, payments and remittances, loan disbursement and collection, and cash position management. As mentioned above, it is based on an Android platform. It is back-office system agnostic, and the ease of integration with a core banking system is among Egalite’s strengths, claims Nagabushanam. It has online and offline capability, is cloud-ready, and offers real-time interoperability when linked with the network, he says. It is also multilingual.

The product development was completed a month or so ago, says Nagabushanam, and Egalite has already gained its first taker, Asomi Finance Limited, a microfinance institution based in the Indian state of Assam. The north eastern part of the country, where Assam is located, continues to be under-developed and has only just started to align with other, more advanced regions, Nagabushanam observes. But even on a country-wide scale, banking services are yet to be mainstream, ‘with roughly 600 million people in India – out of a population of 1.3 billion – not having a basic savings account or anything to do with a bank’, he comments. Agency banking is crucial in reducing these numbers, he feels.

The government of India has recently launched a wide-reaching financial inclusion initiative, dubbed Jan Dhan Yojana, which seeks to provide bank accounts to 75 million identified households by August 2018.

Nagabushanam emphasises that Egalite’s scope is international. In Asia, the vendor targets Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. In Eastern Europe target countries comprise Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Russia. In Africa, these are Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. In the US, the plan is to ‘address the urban poor’ with the solution, and there are also sights on Latin America, he says. ‘We have reached out to Asia and Africa already. Soon we will be reaching out to the rest of the target markets.’ A search for partners is underway.

BFSI Consulting has traditionally focused on integration and implementation services around Oracle FSS’s Flexcube core system, with 30 end-to-end projects under its belt worldwide. The company was set up in 2007 and Nagabushanam says it was the first independent implementation specialist of Flexcube (Nagabushanam has an Oracle FSS background, having worked there as a consultant for six years, prior to setting up his own company).

‘When I started my career 20 years ago, I worked for State Bank and was involved in SME financing in rural parts of southern India. I have always felt that people in any part of the world should be given an opportunity to come out of the economic circumstances in which they are caught. This can happen only by credit flow at affordable prices to the bottom of the pyramid,’ he states. ‘Personally, I feel the educated section of the society has a moral responsibility to the not so fortunate ones living in impoverished places and this has been our motivation at BFSI Consulting to create Egalite.’

By Tanya Andreasyan.

by Darshana Adanwale