MUMBAI, 28 May 2021: ICICI Bank has announced a unique way to assess the creditworthiness of a specific group of customers. The bank will use satellite data imagery to measure an array of parameters related to the land, irrigation, and crop patterns and use it in combination with demographic and financial parameters to make quick lending decisions for farmers.
The company claims the technology helps farmers with existing credit to enhance their eligibility, while new-to-credit farmers can now get better access to credit. Additionally, since the land verification is done in a contactless manner with the help of satellite data, credit assessments are being done within a few days as against the industry practice of up to 15 days.
The Bank has been using satellite data for the past few months in over 500 villages in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat and plans to scale up the initiative to over 63,000 villages shortly across the country.
This initiative gains significance at a time when people are advised to stay indoors and avoid travel in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Executive Director, Anup Bagchi ICICI Bank commented as saying that “ICICI Bank has a legacy of pioneering innovations in technology to create propositions that provide increased convenience to customers. We have created new paradigms in the financial services industry by taking the lead in introducing path-breaking innovations including firsts like internet banking in 1998, mobile banking (2008), Tab banking (2012), 24x7 Touch Banking branches (2012), Software Robotics (2016) and Blockchain deployment (2016)."
The bank is bringing forth yet another futuristic technology of using satellite data and analysis to provide key inputs for credit assessments for lending to farmers. Earlier, one had to visit remote locations to manually assess a host of parameters on the land location, irrigation levels, and crop quality patterns to forecast the future revenues of the farmers.
Now, imagery from earth observation satellites gives us the ground-breaking ability to track much information across large areas in a contactless and highly reliable manner. This, combined with demographic and financial details, provides strong information on the land asset of the farmers.
The Bank has partnered with Agri–fintech companies specializing in harnessing space technology and weather information for commercial usage. It has worked closely with them to build reports with over 40 parameters for assessing the creditworthiness of a farmer with a deep study of the land, irrigation, and crop patterns.
The analysis is put together using algorithms to analyze images available from satellites around the planet. Additionally, the Bank has worked on further scoring models to create indices at the district level, village level as well as for individual land to provide an estimate of the past and future agriculture income, the timing of harvest and sources of income, and thus, provide key inputs to credit assessments.
Image credit: cropom.com