Awards for Distinction 2021 – Best Domestic Private Bank – Digital Innovation & Services

Best Domestic Private Bank Digital Innovation & Services


Kotak Mahindra Bank

Best Domestic Private Bank – Digital Innovation & Services

Winners rationale

While the pandemic accelerated digital transformation for most private banks in the region, the growth curves of domestic lenders often differ from international players. To recognise the effort of domestic banks, Asian Private Banker added this category in 2021.

The severe pandemic situation in India over the last two years has made in-person meetings extremely challenging and has put client onboarding on hold initially since banks weren’t able to conduct KYC verification. Standing at the forefront of digital transformation, Kotak Mahindra Bank was the first bank in India to launch end-to-end digital customer bank account opening with a video-based KYC solution.

The solution not only allowed bank managers to verify original documents and detect fraud with liveliness checks and AI based photo-matching functions, it also significantly reduced the time needed for account opening from four to five days to five to six hours.

Another key business process affected by the pandemic was the collection of physical documentation required for high-value transaction requests which are not permitted to be processed through digital platforms. In order to ensure continuity of business and provide a seamless customer experience, Kotak Mahindra Bank launched a digital signature solution which substantially shortened the time needed to take and verify client orders while reducing the bank’s carbon footprint by going paperless.

Kotak Mahindra Bank caters to both the banking and investment needs of clients, which is a rather unique business model only shared by a few of the largest wealth managers in the country. Being part of the banking system, Kotak Wealth Management, Kotak Mahindra Bank’s private banking arm, has to comply with both banking and securities market regulations, which require a KYC and risk profile review of all U/HNW clients every two years.

The bank turned the entire process into a self-served solution for clients and — after obtaining the consent of clients — tapped into the country’s Unique Identification numbers, named as “Aadhaar”, issued to all residents of India (the Indian equivalent of the US Social Security numbers). This served as a golden data source to verify KYC information.

These changes have been done and overseen by a dedicated digital team which sits within the wealth management business. The objective of the team was not just to digitise, but also to improve the adoption of current platforms by conducting customer and RM surveys to take feedback and understand gaps in the current offerings. Such a well planned digital makeover resulted in an impressive 83% adoption rate of the bank’s digital platform among active clients.

For all these reasons, Kotak Mahindra Bank is the winner of Asian Private Banker’s inaugural Best Domestic Private Bank – Digital Innovation & Services 2021 Award for Distinction.

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