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Impactful Embedded Banking With EST: Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar

We recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar, Chairman and Founder of EST Group and also a Forbes Council Member. 

A thought leader in the banking and financial services sector, Dr. Sindhu is also a firm believer in innovation-driven entrepreneurship. He has brought together over 30 partners in this conglomerate of ventures and a market presence in 17 countries across the globe, firmly setting EST Group towards the goal of borderless banking. In this insightful interview, Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar shares his perspective on emerging technologies and challenges, navigating through the trends, and maintaining operational efficiency. Dr. Sindhu is leading an initiative to impact a majority of the world’s population in the rural and farming sectors, healthcare and edutech.

Beginnings First

We started the interview by asking, “Can you walk us through your professional journey and how it led to where you are today?” 

dr. sindhu bhaskar

Dr. Sindhu responds, “My professional journey as a banker took a significant turn with the advent of the cryptocurrency revolution. Witnessing the shift towards digital currencies, I realized the need to adopt traditional banking principles to the new digital landscape. This led me to attend cryptocurrency conferences in New York, where I formulated the idea of creating a new breed of bankers.

My goal was to integrate the robust, time-tested principles of economics with the innovative technology of cryptocurrencies. In just four years, this vision has materialized into a digital banking system that extends to remote areas, garnering a subscriber base of nearly seven million.

dr. sindhu bhaskar

As a New Age Technology Evangelist, I am dedicated to transforming the financial ecosystem through digital evolution and financial inclusion. I contribute as a global speaker and author on banking topics, and I hold fintech certifications from Oxford University and MIT, affirming my commitment to leading the digital transformation in banking to create an Impact in the lives of all.”

Adaptability Amidst Market Challenges 

Challenging phases are an inevitable part of any business. We asked Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar, “Reflecting on your career, what have been some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?” 

He shared, “The first aspect is the theoretical premise that all our different verticals, like Financial, Healthcare, EdTech, and others, are also the horizontals for us. This creates multiple transactional points for revenue. It happens because we have disintermediated others and intermediated ourselves. There are many cross-connections and intersections. For example, students may belong to a farming family in a rural area. When we create digital knowledge empowerment for rural students, we give them exposure to the latest technology. They get incorporated into the aggregate about the new technology we are talking of and how to incorporate those. Making them aware of the use of these technologies in their field and different activities is the very first challenge that we faced.

The second challenge for me is the scattered nature of the agricultural assets and its fragmented nature. I am not compelling them or insisting upon them that they have to follow this technology. Once they understand the concept of ecosystem and Community Systems, they will automatically come in.

Lastly, I will say that every developing country has a subsidy system. The first thing for me was to connect all those subsidy systems to these people in a very transparent and honest manner so that there is no leakage. The complete amount must reach the actual beneficiaries, and that entire money should be used for agricultural practices.”

Balancing Vision And Needs 

We were curious to learn more about how Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar balances vision and requirements in his organization. So, we asked, “How do you balance long-term vision with short-term operational needs?” 

He shared, “Our vision at EST is to make banking as intuitive as unlocking your phone with a fingerprint. This vision is achievable by unleashing the potential of emerging technologies, understanding the problems of different countries, and investing in alliances and partners to complement the ecosystem. Finance and money are everywhere. That is why we talk of ‘embedded finance, and this becomes the driving force.’

Current Offerings 

To learn more about the services offered by Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar at EST, we asked, “Tell us more about your services and if you are planning to add something new in the future.” 

Dr. Sindhu replied, “Being a strong proponent of digital development banking, digital asset services, AI, IoT, and Machine Learning, I ensure all facilities interact with classical banking principles to create a new development mantra.

At EST Global Inc., we are making considerable strides toward creating a more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable world. Our prominent work areas include financial inclusion, rural economic transformation, high-tech agriculture systems, healthcare, and education. Our initiatives demonstrate how businesses can effectively blend profitability with positive social impact.”

He added, “We are catering to migrant communities, people moving from villages to urban centers for their livelihood, yet their families back in the villages lack banking facilities. Therefore, we are striving to solve how they transact money, and we have had great success too through branchX, a neo bank. Even though it’s a distant model, we have created small offices because most are uneducated and often fear new technology. To alleviate this fear, we have established small offices to introduce the new technology, and they are adopting it with open arms. This approach will create a real digital revolution in any developing country.”

Navigating The Trends 

We were curious to learn about the approaches adopted by Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar to navigate the trends and their impact on his business. So, we asked, “What methods do you use to analyze market trends, and how have these influenced your business decisions?” 

He shared, “I’m following traditional methods rather than trying to create something out of the blue or exotic. What I aim to do is to utilize my aggregator model of lending. We are amalgamating all the loans to create digital assets with a five-year term.

Government of India has issued rural bonds for five years with an eight to nine percent coupon, which aligns with the regulatory system. I don’t face any regulatory challenges, and people are buying them. Also, there’s a tax rebate implication for people, so I’ve employed the same technique. As a result, farmers aren’t dependent on these loans for just one year; they have a five-year stretch for repayment, so they’re under no pressure.”

Impacting The Business 

The fast-paced digital transformation is taking a toll on businesses. We asked, “How has digital transformation affected your business model?” 

Dr. Sindhu shared, “The technological transformation and the digital revolution are transforming how we live our lives. This revolution has changed my vision; however, despite the technical aspects behind Crypto being fresh and still spreading its roots, the theoretical aspects and economic principles remain the same as before.”

Envisioning The Future 

To learn more about the thoughts of Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar on the future of this industry in the upcoming years, we asked, “What emerging technologies do you believe will have the most significant impact on your industry in the next five years?” 

He replied, “I’m leading a global initiative to enable a program that is a unified, secure, sovereign banking solution that is seamless and enables financial freedom. Financial inclusion shall shore up the country’s economy and growth-quotient and digital composite banking will be the driving force behind it.

This vision will only be possible through unleashing the potential of emerging technology, understanding countries’ problems, and investing in alliances and partners to complement the ecosystem.” 

Locking The Legacy

We ended the interview by asking, “How do you want your business to be remembered, and what steps are you taking to secure that legacy?”

“We are designing the operations and solutions at our organization with sustainability at the forefront. We ensure alignment with the principles of the circular economy-reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency towards the regeneration. 

Besides this, our work contributes to sustainable climate goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations. EST’s primary areas are transforming from innovation to providing value in innumerable lives, marking our continuous legacy in this field.” Dr. Sindhu concluded. 

Follow Dr. Sindhu Bhaskar on LinkedIn

Find EST Group on LinkedIn or visit here to learn more.

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Monday, May 27, 2024

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