Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Paisabazaar.com transforms lending with ‘Paisabazaar Stack’, an end-to-end digital stack with Microsoft Azure and Azure AI

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Paisabazaar.com, India’s largest digital marketplace for lending products, has developed ‘Paisabazaar Stack’ – a digital lending solution using Microsoft Azure technologies and Azure AI to optimize loan disbursals and credit card issuance. Built on the Azure platform, the Stack is integrated with Paisabazaar’s partner banks and NBFCs to enable consumers to access credit products through end-to-end presence-less and contactless processes. In addition to help consumers stay safe, the Stack is also enabling banks and non-banking financial corporations (NBFCs) to disburse unsecured loans in a presence-less, completely digital manner, within 3 to 5 hours as compared to 3 to 7 days earlier.

Paisabazaar.com works with over 130 partners with lending products on its platform and caters to credit enquiries from over 1200 cities and towns every month. Traditionally, a loan application requires in-person meetings between the applicant and back representative to fill up forms, collection of supporting documents and verification of identity. This is followed by an additional manual verification by bank officials before a loan is granted or declined, and a final in-person signing of the agreement. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, there was a breakdown in these steps and processes. With the launch of the Digital Stack, the process has been restored digitally and the time required for loan disbursal been significantly reduced.

According to Mukesh Sharma, Chief Technology Officer, Paisabazaar.com,The Stack is actually a tectonic shift in the industry. Most large lenders and Fintechs were unprepared due to the lack of digital processes and infrastructure. We all had to wake up to a new reality and adapt to it. Everybody was impacted and our focus was to ensure that consumers could have access to the loans they needed, through completely paperless and presence-less processes. We recognized the potential of AI and Cognitive Services to make end-to-end digital loan disbursals a reality with our Digital Stack.  As the market leader with partnerships with most large banks and new-age lenders – and a culture of innovation since inception – we are well placed to accelerate this critical shift towards the much-needed digitization of the entire ecosystem.”  

To ensure continuity and minimize difficulties for customers, the start-up embraced a culture of innovation, which according to a study by IDC commission by Microsoft, identifies the synergy between technology, process, data, and people, that allows organizations to drive sustained innovation. 

Sharmaalso adds that the lockdown accelerated the process,”Wewere trying to create this stack before the pandemic hit us. We wanted to create paperless digital programs, but things were not moving because the industry was not ready. But when the lockdown happened, we were the first to launch this digital stack.” 

The Paisabazaar Stack is providing flexibility, scalability, security, and efficiencies to its lending partners. End users can access credit much quicker, from the comfort of their homes, with zero physical interaction. Each physical step in the lending process has now been built digitally:

  • KYC Verification – the Digital KYC Module in the Paisabazaar Stack includes offline KYC verification(O-KYC) and Video KYC that uses Azure Cognitive Services. Applicants can verify their identity and also their location and liveliness—ensuring they were real people and not bots. 
  • Income & Employment Validation – The Stack accelerates income validation and employment verification of consumers. An applicant’s bank statements are analysed digitally using AI to determine his/ her financial health and provide results to Paisabazaar’s lending partners, which enables quicker decision-making. Additionally, customers can provide self-attested proof of income viz., bank statements and salary slips digitally.
  • Repayment Set-up & Agreements –Using the stack, Paisabazaar has been able to fast-track theNACH process and streamlined verification of bank account details and set up repayment instructions through digital mandate on behalf of its partner lenders.

Moreover, their ‘Chance of Approval’ feature enables Paisabazaar to provide customized lending solutions to using a predictive algorithm model. Paisabazaar.com also provides ‘pre-qualified offers’ from partner banks and NBFCs.  The modelwhich is built using big data, machine learning and mass scaled using Azure Kubernetes and Container Services, matches a borrower’s profile like income, credit score, age, among others, with the various lending criteria of different lenders. It then provides customers with the odds of getting their loan application approved—Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor—against each lender.  This has improved loan approval rates considerably over the last 18 months since the feature was launched

Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India, said, Organizations in India understand that they need to improve across all culture of innovation dimensions, especially technology. It is encouraging to see business leaders recognize this, and plan to focus on technology to drive sustained innovation and realize their digital transformation ambition. Achieving success in digital transformation requires both the adoption of tools and technologies as well as enhancing own people’s capabilities – what we term as tech intensity – a critical component of the culture of innovation. Our goal is to realize an inclusive future where all organizations in India are dynamic and resilient – to recover well and thrive despite the crisis. At Microsoft, we are committed to working with organizations in India to make this happen, together,”

Culture of Innovation

Microsoft India and IDC have recently published a study highlighting that looks at the relationship between a culture of innovation and an organization’s growth. The Culture of Innovation refers to an organization’s ongoing ability to respond quickly to challenges and successfully perform in four dimensions – People, Processes, Data and Technology capabilities.

The study highlighted that innovation is not an option anymore – it is a necessity. The findings included the following:

  • 77% of Indian organizations have found innovation to be critical or important to their performance and resilience
  • In a short span of six months, organizations in India have increased their ability to innovate by 4% by maturing their Culture of Innovation.
  • Close to 78% of India organizations are speeding up digitalization in a variety of ways to adapt to the new reality. This included launching digital products and introducing digital payments to embracing ecommerce and automation.
  • As a result, Indian companies are aiming at increasing their revenue from digital products and services to 50% in the next 3 years from 36% at present.
  • 64% of respondents acknowledged that innovation has become easier in the post-COVID-19 era. Prior to the pandemic, only 32.5% of Indian business found innovation in their products and services easier.
  • 45% organizations indicated that for the next 12 months, they will focus on Technology as most essential for business resilience and recovery. 

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