Everyman’s Mobile Bank
Eko, the State Bank of India’s mobile banking alliance partner has launched SBI’s well received zero-minimum balance savings product, mini-savings on the mobile. This service is designed to address the low-income Indians in rural areas and the mobile extension will avail them of remittance services without having to head to the branch or counter.
“To sign-up for a mini-savings account all someone needs is a basic mobile phone. Consumers need only to visit a customer service point, usually a convenience store, and request an account opening package and, according to Varghese, a user must “simply be able to switch a mobile on and off and to dial out a set of numbers” to use the service. The initial account balance is only Rs50 ($1) and customers can maintain their accounts with Eko and SBI indefinitely with no further minimum balance requirements.”
Now while this service will meet the well publicized and dire needs of the Indian unbanked, SBI is an *enormous* institution. To give you a sense of scale, in April through September of 2009, customers opened a staggering 7.3 million accounts (saving & checking only does not include loans, CDs etc). Given this rate of account opening and sheer scale of of customer base, could there be an opportunity with the temporarily low-income, student population taking to the mobile, mini-savings services and we see a huge spike from the paltry 51,000 mobile users that SBI has with their current mobile banking offering?