State Bank of India is planning to launch a loan product – SAFAL – primarily focused on organic cotton growers who don’t have any credit history, said a top official of the country’s largest lender.
The bank is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in a big way for generating business, SBI Managing Director C S Setty said speaking at a Fintech conference organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). “We want to go beyond this so-called retail segment and reach out to… like farmers. Today I am not only giving crop loans… We are about to launch a product called Safe and Fast Agriculture Loan (SAFAL). There is a company which has created a database of all the organic cotton growers in the country using blockchain,” Setty said.
He further said that any buyer of this cotton across the world can check whether the farmer actually is growing the organic cotton. “We are just taking the data and providing the credit linkage to them because they don’t have the credit history. They are not borrowers of crop loans but we have the ability to pick them up because the technology has brought them together and provided the market visibility to them,” he added. Citing another example of use of AI and ML, Setty said the bank has done 1.7 million pre-approved loans and 21,000 crore businesses have been booked under this product during the lockdown. Observing that the power of data analytics has been fully appreciated by the bank, he said, “Our AI/ML department is not an experimental department, it is a business-oriented department. We have had a net income creation of about Rs 1,100 crore in the last two years.”