20 April 2016 Current Affairs: Country's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has announced that it is open to investing in startups in the financial technology space even though it has not earmarked a dedicated corpus for the investments. But the bank has not earmarked a dedicated corpus for the investments. The banks is already working with startups either individually or through incubators. The bank officials stated that ICICI Bank is interested in technologies like big data and artificial intelligence, which will help it serve customers better.The smaller rival of the ICICI bank, the south based Federal Bank has already announced in September last year that it has dedicated Rs. 25 crore fund to invest in startups. Apart from Federal Bank since January, when the GOI has launched the 'Startup India' initiative, a slew of lenders have announced plans for startups, even as the most successful startups have seen an erosion in valuations. The lenders’ initiatives for startup revolve around having dedicated branches and products with a focus on financial advisory for new entrepreneurs. The SBI has also launched a dedicated branch for startups in Bengaluru, which was followed by a similar move by private sector lender RBL Bank.The bank has also declared the winners of a mobile application developing contest and said over 2,000 entries were received. The top honour went to Bengaluru-based startup employee Mohit Talwadiya for his 'Conversational Banking' app which will help do banking with ease of conversations based on natural language processing and artificial intelligence on multiple channels like chat and speech. The bank will try to incorporate the winning innovations into its digital strategy.
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