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SBI plans to position YONO as complete digital bank

By Abhijit Lele
Last updated on: March 11, 2022 14:08 IST
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The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) will revamp its banking application (app) YONO and position it as a complete digital bank (DB) under a new rubric ‘Only YONO’ for enhancing customer experience and ease of use.


Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

The bank plans to bring in a consultant to help draw up the project plan, keeping in mind business goals for the next five years.

With 54 million monthly active users (MAUs), SBI YONO has seen growth of over 35 per cent in MAUs in 2021.


The gamut of the advisor’s work will cover the launch, with focus on continuous innovation, adoption strategy, speed of delivery of new journeys, and positioning it as a DB, said senior SBI executive.

The bank has issued an expression of interest to appoint an advisor.

The customer experience has to be taken up on priority to present only YONO as a competitive product/platform in the market.

It will improve the cost-to-income ratio of the bank, said the executive, but did not provide a timeline for making the app a complete DB.

Asked about YONO being carved out as a separate unit, an executive said the bank has maintained that YONO has the potential to be a standalone entity.

It has more potential to exploit a customer base of 460 million and that needs to be realised before talking about monetisation.

In November 2021, NITI Aayog published a paper on licensing of DB dealing with features of proposed DB entities.

They will issue deposits, make loans, and offer a full suite of services.

However, they will principally rely on the internet and other proximate channels to offer their services and not physical branches.

DBs will be subject to prudential and liquidity norms on a par with incumbent commercial banks.

This could eventually lead to guidelines by the regulator — the Reserve Bank of India — to establish a variety of DBs, said the executive.

The DB is expected to have a leaner and modular architecture with more streamlined journeys, sleek and personalised customer-centric design, capturing value from ecosystems and also improving the cost-to-income ratio.

SBI launched ‘You Only Need One’ (YONO) in 2017 as a digital app catering to banking, as well as lifestyle needs of customers in a seamless omnichannel manner.

YONO has three facets, namely DB for seamless and intuitive banking services.

Secondly, it works as a superstore for financial solutions from mutual funds to investments and insurance products of joint venture partners.

And finally act as an online marketplace for fulfilment of lifestyle needs in collaboration with merchant partners.

The design of Only YONO is expected to have strength to roll out multiple journeys and bring in improvements quickly to meet the business expectations and maintain the bank’s competitive edge in the retail segment.

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Abhijit Lele in Mumbai
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