The speaker for the talk was Mr. Himansu Panda, Circle Head, Rural Banking Group,HDFC Bank. He is a Post Graduate in agricultural economics with an MBA in rural management from XIMB. Mr. Panda has a vast experience of more than 16 years in financing in rural and agricultural sector in various parts of India in large banks like ICICI and  HDFC bank in various capacities like product development, proposal assessment and devising strategy for rural finance penetration to deep-geo locations to leading teams for executing the strategies.

In his talk, Mr. Himansu shared about the challenges in rural finance, especially credit where the ticket size differentiation between urban and rural, the lower population density in rural areas is becoming a challenge. Besides having rural banking infrastructure and agents is driving up cost in finance sector. He then emphasized that digitization in the rural finance sector can help to overcome these challenges. This will provide people more choices, remove agents and also reduce the need of having local infrastructure and provide better services at lower interest rates to  people.