The State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest bank, plans to introduce a separate digital entity. As part of the strategic approach, it is completely redesigning its banking app, YONO, in order to launch a digital bank named ‘Only YONO.’
The changeover will take place over the next 12-18 months, with SBI transitioning existing YONO users to Only YONO. “Only Yono is envisaged as the next generation of Yono which will make SBI ready to launch a completely digital bank with a leaner and modular architecture, more streamlined journeys, sleek and personalized customer-centric design, and capturing value from ecosystems,” the bank said in a notice.
As part of a notification issued by the bank, the development is part of the bank’s decision to be future-ready. “Though YONO has been adopted by customers at a very high pace, in order to consolidate its leadership position, it has been decided by the bank to give YONO a revamp as Only YONO not only in terms of features and functionality but also in terms of ease of use and customer experience,” the bank added.
ONLY YONO’s operating principles are supposed to be developed with modern technology, tools, and cloud power to withstand high volumes with excellent customer experience. The proposed platform will meet the company’s needs for implementing its goal within the next five years following the launch of ONLY YONO, it noted.
Digital banks are not a new phenomenon – banks all over the world have been exploring the idea of setting up a separate digital entity to accommodate the next generation of tech-savvy customers. There are currently neobanks that serve as a layer 2 entity alongside a bank. While the neobank provides banking services to customers, it actually collaborates with a bank to carry out the operations.
SBI appears to be taking a similar approach with Only YONO, with the app serving as a neobanking entity with all the character traits of a digital bank while relying on SBI’s infrastructure to offer banking services including accounts to the app’s customers. SBI YONO, which was launched in 2017, has 70.5 million downloads and 37.09 million customers.
In November of last year, India’s public policy think tank NITI Aayog published a report suggesting full-stack digital banks, a new variant of regulated entities. However, the RBI currently does not have any licensing systems in place. The report even included a template for India’s regulatory framework for digital banks.