“We were surprised to see how these people are developingworking on technologies to solve some of the problems we didn’t even know exist ed,“ SBI CIO Mrutyunjay Mahapatra told ET. Traditional, stodgy lenders for long have dominated the financial services space and controlled most as pects of lending, payments and in vestments. With the emergence of new-age fintech startups and the ad vent of mobile and internet banking, tech-savvy consumers have been pre sented with alternatives for financial solutions that have the potential to significantly disrupt traditional banking. Which is why they are ac tively engaging with startups to avoid disruption from payment banks, mo bile wallets, new-age financial tech nology startups and crypto-curren cies such as Bitcoin.
On Thursday, Citi launched a corpo rate accelerator programme for the AsiaPacific region to engage actively with star tups from countries like India. The 8-10 week accelerator programme, called the Citi Mobile Challenge, will combine a virtual hackathon with an incubator and Citi is inviting developers from all across the region to participate in this programme.
Citibank India’s head of consumer banking Kartik Kaushik said that the bank had already started engaging with a number of startups in India.
“This is the first time we’re opening up APIs,“ he said, referring to the software tools that allow building of applications. “We’ve taken a long time to get here, but it’s always better late than never.“
For this exercise, Citi is partnering with a number of Indian and multinational corporates to help handpick startups in sectors such as ecommerce and payments. IBM, Google, Amazon Microsoft Ventures, PwC Wipro and Nasscom’s 10,000 startups programme are among those who have signed up as partners for this initiative. HDFC Bank has tried to cash in on the digital boom with its PayZapp app that combines deals and offers from online retailers with its payment solution. It has also bought a minority stake in auto classifieds portal CarDekho.