How the EMI moratorium brought out the best in Nucleus Software

March 23, 2020, was just another working Monday for most people at Nucleus Software, much like any other company. The number of cases of COVID-19 was rising in India as the government announced a lockdown by the evening. It set in motion a series of events, perhaps never seen before.

Four days after the countrywide lockdown, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to defer payment of equated monthly installments (EMI) for borrowers. It was something that, perhaps, India had never witnessed. It was probably one of the longest working weeks for Nucleites.

Banks and financial institutions soon huddled up in emergency internal meetings and teleconferences with senior executives at Nucleus. Soon after the RBI announcement, banks needed to address the regulatory risk and ensure compliance. The immediate concern for the banks was to communicate to the customers of banks that they had to option to defer their EMIs.

Customers could exercise the option of choosing the EMI to be deferred, as per the RBI directive. A team of Nucleites was already reaching out to the banks to initiate the conversations to understand the technical needs. It could have been the most extended working weekend in the lives of Nucleites. It was just the beginning!

“Banks and FIs needed our helping hand urgently. The day of the week or the hour did not matter. We had to make sure we lived up to their expectations,” Mr. Ashwani Arora, Business Head of Global Customer Success Team, recalling the days a year ago.

2000 micro-offices at work!

With the lockdown already in place, everyone was homebound. Working from the Nucleus headquarters, the comfort of working with teams brainstorming together was over. In no time, nearly 2000 micro-offices across over 100 cities had been at work, working remotely with internal teams to understand the customers’ needs. The challenge faced by the customers was gargantuan against the challenges faced in remote working.

Two days after the RBI’s first announcement, a team of nearly 40 Nucleites from different verticals engaged in a two-hour brainstorming session. A second brainstorming session that lasted over two hours on that Sunday could finalize the guidelines for payment deferment. As the team assembled for work on Monday online, customers were sent a statement on the preparedness of Nucleus Software to meet the situation.

By Monday, a little over 48 hours after the announcement, phones across the micro-offices and different parts of the globe were constantly ringing. Nearly 40 teams from GCST and FinnOne Neo of various sizes worked in close cooperation with the leadership team to reach out to the customers.

A customer webinar to explain the scenario and possible options for solutions helped put the developments in perspective for banks and FIs for their loan origination, servicing, and collection needs. It detailed the scenarios that banks could face in implementing the regulatory requirement. For specific issues faced by various institutions, teams tried to work on solutions to suit their needs.

After calls with banks and financial institutions, it was clear two things were of utmost importance for them – getting their customers’ view on whether they wanted the EMIs to be deferred and settling the books in their monthly accounts.

“We just wanted to assure you that we, at Nucleus Software, are standing with you, have already analyzed the impact on our lending solution, and are ready to help you implement this regulatory requirement. Solution architects will get in touch with you starting Monday,” the communication said.

As the development teams started working on the patch, it needed regular testing with the banks’ systems. It had to be run with the databases to ensure that it worked to suit their requirements. Addendum from the RBI after its first announcement added to the complexity of the challenge. The patch finally rolled out on April 19, three weeks after the first communication to customers and partners.

Banks and financial institutions across India could heave a sigh of relief. The Nucleus suite of products supported over 60 million customers during the moratorium.

Global effort for customers

Meanwhile, a similar situation of deferment of EMIs at the regulators’ request also played out in several other countries. As the regulators in the Middle East, South East Asia simultaneously announced a similar policy, and support teams swung into action.

Three weeks of relentless focus on the solution helped the Nucleites achieve the task. Banks and financial institutions could now understand the effort from the teams at Nucleus that could ensure that the systems were updated. While calls from a few top leaders across banks appreciated the action, a few impromptu emails recorded their appreciation too.

The emails came from different parts of the globe. When the customer appreciated it, the effort was worth the days and nights that the team spent working for a solution.