US firm bets big on online banking

US firm bets big on online banking

The growing number of netizens in India and a paradigm shift by banks to technology-based banking to enhance customer service augur well for companies that provide embedded online financial applications in the personal financial management (PFM) space, according to US-based Yodlee Inc.

The $75-million company, which serves about 600 clients globally including two in India - private sector lender Yes Bank and broking and distribution services company Aditya Birla Money - is gung-ho about the prospects of growing its business in India, according to Anil Arora, Yodlee Inc's President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We are in talks with both public and private sector banks in India. Some banks like ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, have more than 5 million online customers each. The growth rates of online users are astounding here in India, compared to what's happpening in the rest of the world. Online users of PFM apps are growing at unbelievable clip in India.”

According to  the Internet in India Report released by IMRB and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), there were 138 million Internet users in India in June 2012, 111 million of them active. The number was poised to reach 150 million by December 2012.

Yodlee, Arora said, is keen on doubling its non-US revenues, from 7 per cent currently, to about 20 per cent in two years, for which it is eyeing growth in India and four more geographies. He was non-commital about closing deals. “We are in advanced discussions with global banks, apart from Indian institutions, but I cannot predict how many of them will come to fruition.”

He said Yodlee's unique selling proposition lies in leveraging its capabilities in data and payments to build services that allow users to manage their personal life better. “We combine our own core financial applications that include spending, budgeting, cash flow and investment applications and integrate them with proprietary applications of our clients, apart from third party applications.”

Security and trust, the two overriding concerns that customers have in the PFM space, are the reasons why Yodlee offers its services through its clients’ websites. “People would trust their bankers a lot more than they would trust Yodlee, or a Google or Yahoo!,” Arora said. The firm’s global operations are managed predominantly from its India office, which houses 75 per cent of its 700 workforce globally.

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