2020 threw a wrench into many plans and predictions with the sudden outbreak of COVID19, which unsettled every human being on this planet. The digital transformation came to the rescue at such an unprecedented time. Banking, is one of the core sectors for socio-economic development, expedited adoption of digital technologies on priority as the lockdown hit. A lot of people claim that India is underbanked. However, the reality is that it is indeed overbanked. The only loose end is that the solutions offered by most banks are strikingly similar in a manner to say that they lack personalization, apt utilization of data, or technological inclusions to make the customer journey seamless and intuitive. Working in the Fintech space for a few years, Suman Gandhan, Founder, Finin, has always been aware of India’s banking landscape and its shortcomings. So it was a wave of decision-making when he decided to move back from Europe and create a ripple in this very well established industry. “The banking infrastructure is indeed a cumbersome and tedious journey. A hyper-personalized neobanking platform like ours is made with the purpose to bridge gaps using technology and help people develop a better relationship with money by simplifying antiquated banking services”, says Suman.
There is a general unawareness of finances and money management across India. Growing up, everybody is told to save but not quite told how. FDs and RDs ruled the roost, but the general populace is unaware of smart financial decisions, the right financial terms, and jargons and cannot, due to lack of awareness, pick the right options for themselves when it comes to selecting the best financial management suite. Banking institutions lack personalization due to their one-size-fits-all approach. It is also cumbersome to gain a 360-degree view of financial management and investments through such institutions. Having identified this problem, Finin aims to work as a go-to app for all your money management.
Introducing Neobanking to India
Right from high utility neobanking app offering improved features such as easy transactions, easy card management which includes blocking or unblocking a card at the click of a button or enabling/ disabling contactless payments, international payments, ATM withdrawals, and online transaction through the app easily and limitlessly, Finin also offers a suite of wealth management features such as budgeting and goal management. These features come gratis with nudge theorem-powered insights and analytics that will not only give you a full scape view of your finances but also guide you into financial planning, discipline, and independence. “We are based out of Bangalore, India, and we were founded in February 2019. We went live in 2020 as the first consumer neobank in India. Finin is an online-only consumer neobanking solution partnered with SBM Bank India. By creating an account, one essentially creates a Finin Savings account and is issued a Visa Signature powered debit card”, states Suman.
Having done his MSCIT from the University of Copenhagen, Suman has always been enterprising and a bit of a hustler. He had taken on odd jobs every once in a while during his college days. “I do not shy away from a challenge, nor do I dodge responsibilities. In Finin, I equally participate in tech activities, marketing campaign planning, I pick up the phone and call customers to resolve issues, and much more. It is important to be a leader who does not sit on a high throne expecting only his team to work. You have got to get your hands dirty”, says Suman.
When Suman came back to India with the idea to start a neobank in India, he was already bouncing ideas off of Sudheer Maram, co-founder of Finin who is also from a Financial background. Childhood friends that share an entrepreneurial mindset joined hands to start working on Finin in February 2019. The early core team was a well-picked list of recommendations from friends and family. The singular motive was to identify those candidates who had a passion for the idea and the appetite to work in a competitive environment. “Luckily for us, the core team is aligned to the company’s vision and mission and are keen followers of the Fintech and product innovation space. Our core team members are from Fintech background. Most of them have worked in startups where they have helped products go from 0-1, and everybody has a shared affinity for the problem we are solving”, adds Suman.
Considering launching Finin as one of the most significant milestones, Suman says, “Not only have I launched a neobank in India, I have launched India’s first-ever consumer neobank, and the roadmap is relevant. We are building this product day in and day out to make it the ‘Fitbit of Finances'”.
Taking the FinTech Industry by a Storm
Offering not just banking and wealth management features, Finin’s core savings driven approach is what jarringly sets them apart. Making users understand their money better, analyze the spending and savings, plan budgets, and goals, Finin helps them stay on top of their transactions at all given time. In turn, the idea is to convert borrowers and spenders to savers and eventually investors by inculcating financial discipline and eventually financial independence. “As a consumer-facing neobank, our customers are our clients, and by that we mean, every internet savvy, smartphone savvy individual in the country can find utility in the product. The application is free, and Finin is a zero balance savings account. We have an account linking feature that shows users the transactions across different bank accounts in one app. We have an insightful notification system that reminds users to cancel trial subscriptions, track refunds, and even get Swiggy super to reduce delivery expenses. We incorporate nudge theorem and 50-30-20 rule to guide users while viewing their spends”, explains Suman.
Being a brand new idea or a financial revolution in an entire country does come with its share of ups and downs. When Finin launched its waitlist, there was a noticeable uptrend in interest but with it arose perhaps doubt? However, they sailed through this armed with the right tools and have taken the journey step by step to ensure their customers are educated and trust them. Having a waitlist base of 11000+ users, the most important lesson or rather aspect of marketing a brand new concept is to spread awareness about the benefits and to tailor-make your product for your customers. Suman opines, “Every new concept comes with its fair share of hurdles but nothing difficult to overcome. We have fostered some very meaningful partnerships to align with our vision and offer the best version of the product we intended to create”.
To be a sustainable industry, traditional banking organizations cannot simply rely on providing banking accounts and access to funds. Competitors are eating away at significant parts of the banking value chain with the potential of limiting banks to becoming nothing more than utilities. With a very promising product roadmap, Suman concludes, “We have a lot of feature rollouts planned shortly. Mutual funds, investments, lending, and credit cards are a few of them. The aim is to lead users towards goal-oriented savings, better financial decisions, and powerful insights to guide them towards financial independence”.