EASE refers to Enhanced Access and Service Excellence.
The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, on June 8, launched EASE 5.0, the fifth edition of EASE Next programs that includes a ‘common reforms agenda,’ specifically for Public Sector Banks (PSBs).
What does EASE 5.0 include?
According to the new EASE 5.0, public sector banks must continue investing in new-age capabilities. They also have to deepen the current reforms, which will help cater to the ever-evolving customer needs, dynamic competition, and technological environments.
EASE 5.0 emphasizes building customer experience digitally. It also focuses on integrated and inclusive banking methods that will improve the future of banking.
EASE 5.0 also mentions supporting small businesses and investing in the agricultural sector in the country.
All public sector banks have to create a three-year strategic roadmap which will be designed according to the respective banks. The roadmap must entail strategic initiatives beyond EASE 5.0.
The strategic initiatives of the three-year bank-specific roadmap must revolve around diverse themes- Business Growth, Profitability, Risk, Customer Service, Operations, and Capability Building.
What is the significance of EASE 5.0?
The plan for the incorporation of EASE is to provide improved access and excellent services for the economic and financial growth of the country.
Let’s find out the importance and benefits of EASE 5.0.
The best approach in any form of business or service is adopting the customer-centric approach.
Any business or bank serves its customers; hence the service should be molded according to the needs and expectations of the customers.
EASE 5.0 focuses on incorporating a customer-oriented approach in PSBs to achieve the maximum results and maintain the integrity of banks in the country.
Employee development is a significant part of any company or business. The same approach stands tall for PSBs.
Hence, EASE 5.0 emphasizes that PSBs must adopt employee development programs and invest in the same for better functioning of the banks.
The employees are the mediators between the bank and the customers. Since the employees are the face of the PSBs, they must be trained well,l and employee development will be equally related to the bank’s development.
EASE 5.0 mentions investing in new-age capabilities and technological advancements to improve the banking system’s functioning.
PSBs will benefit by investing in technological advancements and new-age capabilities, as it can help them develop strong security mechanisms which will be an asset for future generations.
Support for Small Businesses
Small businesses are among the most affected ones during the pandemic. They have faced the wrath of the deadly virus by losing their homes, money, and livelihood.
These small businesses are the ones that require support from various financial institutions to stand tall again and support themselves and their families financially and economically.
EASE 5.0 emphasizes on PSBs lending support to small businesses to improve the economy of the country and maintain economic stability in the country.
Support for Agricultural Sectors
70% of Indians are farmers. The agricultural sector plays a major role in building and depleting the country’s economy.
EASE 5.0 urges the PSBs to extend their support to the agricultural sector in various forms, as it will help in boosting the economy of the country.
PSBs should indulge in learning about the needs and requirements in the agricultural sector and do the needful to improvise the agriculture sector economically.
Now, PSBs are profitable, and most of them have strong balance sheets. Hence, it is expected that PSBs must leverage their strong position to increase their competitiveness.
EASE 5.0 is a part of the EASE Next programs. The EASE Next programs always focus on bringing reforms that benefit customers and employees.
What is the pathway of the Evolution of the EASE Reforms Agenda?
The Indian Government and the PSBs united to launch the EASE Agenda in January 2018. The Indian Banks’ Association had commissioned the EASE Agenda. The Boston Consulting Group was privileged to author the EASE Agenda in January 2018.
The evolution of the EASE Agenda began with the introduction of EASE 1.0, after which each agenda was a part of the EASE Next Program.
- The report of EASE 1.0 showed significant improvement in the performance of the PSBs, especially in the resolution of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) transparently.
- The introduction of new reform Action Points across six themes was done through EASE 2.0. The six themes are- Responsible Banking, Customer Responsiveness, Credit Off-take, PSBs as UdyamiMitra (SIDBI portal for credit management of MSMEs), Financial Inclusion & Digitalisation, and Governance and Human Resources (HR).
- With the introduction of Ease 3.0, there was an enhancement in the ease of banking, especially in customer experiences, using technology – Dial-a-loan and PSBloansin59 minutes.com. It also ensured successful partnerships with FinTech companies, E-commerce companies, and Tech-enabled agriculture lending for the economic betterment of the country.
- Before EASE 5.0, EASE 4.0 committed PSBs to become tech-enabled, simplified, and adopt collaborative banking methods to further the agenda of customer-centric digital transformation.
With the announcement of the EASE 5.0, ‘Common Reforms Agenda,’ India will see a more stabilized and comprehensive banking system with improved PSB functioning of PSBs. EASE 5.0 is also a great initiative toward Digital India, which was a far-fetched dream a few years back. The main concepts of EASE 5.0 are- The common PSB reforms Agenda and a three-year bank-specific strategic roadmap for all PSBs. All in good faith to establish strong banking systems in the country along with adding to the economic improvement in the country.