SBI planning to launch loan product 'SAFAL' for organic cotton growers

SBI is planning to launch a loan product called SAFAL (Safe and Fast Agriculture Loan) primarily focussed on organic cotton growers who don't have credit history. The bank is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning(ML) to generate 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 brought all the organic cotton growers and created a database on the basis of 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.”

Currently, he said, the bank has more than 40 Machine Learning based models which it uses across the spectrum for business, risk mitigation, fraud management. The bank has built a capability which is unmatched in the banking industry, he claimed.

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