Mumbai: The new goods and services tax regime is bringing some unintended benefits for banks. Many lenders, including DCB Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, are now offering companies the option of filing their monthly GST returns through their website.
This will help banks enhance their credit appraisal systems, keep track of corporate invoices and cash flows, and also get access to new clients by tapping their suppliers.
This service offered by banks is particularly useful for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are intimidated by the new GST regime but are comfortable with internet banking.
“Our site helps customers create an invoice and reconcile their accounts,” said Praveen Kutty, president for retail and SME banking at DCB Bank. “Our expectation is that customers using our site to fill their monthly returns will eventually make ours their primary bank account. It also enhances our ability to give loans, monitor cash flows and also will help us get access to their suppliers.” He said.
DCB has 5 lakh customers, 90% of which are self-employed. Axis Bank has also allowed its customers to file their returns through its website.
“This is an additional service, customers still need help to file returns,” said Jairam Sridharan, chief financial officer at Axis Bank. “This service will gain traction only when they are comfortable with filing returns. It remains to be seen as to how much it enhances credit appraisals,” he said.