Leadership & Innovation do we really learn?

natwest-van-mobile-bank-branchGrowth and development are critical for all parts of the world. Developing infrastructure is a key solution for long term sustainability and growth. Hot in the world news at the moment is the need for India to have a more structured financial system, for more of its population to have bank accounts, and yet only a small percentage of the population does. To meet this goal the Indian government is currently offering licenses to open new banks, and the requirement of being granted the license is for the businesses to open village based branches. The BBC World news call this “A banking revolution in India” But we know from the UK experience that the main banks are closing small branches, as they are not cost effective to run, so why are India following this 200+ year old strategy?

statistics suggest that there are more people with mobile phones than toilets in India, and that currently some 26% of the population have phones, and this is expected to head towards 90% by 2015. So why are local shops and mobile being looked at rather then traditional brick and mortar buildings? Even in Africa phone banking is taking off faster than traditional branches. Indeed many of the public trust phone providers more than banks!

One bank in the UK, NatWest has a mobile banking service based on a small fleet of vans –  this provides personal service to customers and areas not serviced by physical bank branches.

In Denmark, for the Danske bank chain, sure their are branches, but increasingly they are discouraging people from using the branches, making all activities available online or through mobile services. It wont be long before most of the branches disappear.

Why copy models that are dying?

Why is the Indian government (and others) seeking to follow a model which much of the developed world knows does not work? With the likes of low cost tables and mobile phones costing just a few dollars. it will be cheaper for banks to include a phone as part of the banking deal, if in association with a vehicle based branch for small regions. The worlds cheapest mobile phone currently costs £1, that is less than $2! e these banking solutions need not be expensive and can also be inclusive for communities.

It’s time for change at an international level

When any organisation or country looks to solve a problem, it bust avoid “bench-marking” what others do as the “main plan”, for this is a risk adverse solution, and often not really sustainable. What many of us seem to forget is that many of the systems in the West were developed over 10s if not 100s of years, and look at how they are changing post the banking crisis of the late naughties. So why copy things that just no longer fit in a modern world? Leadership and innovation at national and international levels needs to change. Copying solutions from organisations and countries that were developed for an older age is no longer appropriate



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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.

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