What could the Finnish financial sector learn from India?

Finland (FFI) recently published a report on the payment systems and the
digitalisation of financial services in India. The report, written by Soumiti
Ghosh, looked at how India, a country with 1.3 billion people from dozens of different
ethnic groups has been able to create a biometric authentication system that
covers almost the entire population. Ghosh’s work was part of the Hanken School
of Economics internship programme for educated immigrants.

The Indian financial system has always relied heavily on cash. The government is now taking steps to digitalise not only health services and training materials, but also encourage electronic payments and online banking services.

“In the countryside, people struggle to get cash. ATMs can often be empty”, explains Soumiti Ghosh, who is about to complete her internship at FFI. Ghosh has lived in Finland for two years, but she has over ten years of experience in the banking sector in India.

The Indian economy has been booming for years. This has yielded in new digital financial services, including the world’s largest authentication system Aadhar, which helps people open a bank account if their identification papers are incomplete.

“To a Finn, not having a bank account is incomprehensible. But India has 190 million people who don’t have one.”

The report seeks to introduce the solutions India has adopted and bring them to the Finnish and European financial sectors’ knowledge. The report may also generate new ideas and business opportunities.

Ghosh originally moved to Finland for her husband’s work and has lived in Espoo for two years. She is planning to start job-hunting in Finland after finishing her internship at FFI.

“Writing the report taught me a lot. After my internship, I will start studying Finnish and try to get a job in Finland – hopefully in the banking sector.”

The report is available here.