Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesian banks, insurers need to step up to serve changing local demographics

Jakarta, Indonesia – As the financial services industry in Indonesia is returning to a state of normalcy, local banks and insurers are encouraged to step up their engagement strategies amidst a changing demographic landscape in the country, new data from sales engagement solutions provider Vymo.

According to the insights, around 73% of consumers say a differentiated experience, not just an acceptable experience, is what it takes for a customer to remain loyal. Meanwhile leading banks and insurers will use relevant and responsible personalization as a key differentiator to create loyal clients, while dedicated advisors will be responsible for creating stronger brand loyalty for customers.

It also noted that financial service institutions will need to build a salesforce that can adapt, attract and retain the loyalties of Indonesia’s digital-savvy consumer class with considerable spending power. While the quality of financial products and services from data utilisation has improved significantly, customer expectations in terms of product relevance, personalised buying experience, and post-sales support are key differentiators in the digital landscape.

Rajesh Sabhlok, managing director for APAC at Vymo, said, “Previously, lifestyle insurance was based on life stages. Someone starts a family, you talk to them about the increased cover they need. They change their jobs, there’s a salary hike, you advise them to set aside a part as insurance. But today, you can’t meet them in person. Here’s where technology enables remote engagement with customers.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank taps Temenos to modernise banking system

Vietnam – The Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) has tapped cloud banking platform Temenos to modernise its core banking system. Through the partnership, MSB’s multiple homegrown and legacy systems will be replaced with Temenos’ open platform for composable banking.

Through Temenos core banking solutions for retail and corporate banking, including analytics, payments and data lake capabilities, MSB can bring innovative new products to market much faster at a significantly lower cost. It can also leverage the power of big data to deliver hyper-personalised customer experiences. This will provide the bank a competitive edge to keep pace with the current and future banking needs of Vietnam’s largely young and increasingly affluent population.

Nguyen Hoang Linh, CEO of MSB, said, “MSB aims to become a universal bank for the digital 4.0 era on a par with the best and biggest international banks. Revamping our technology infrastructure with Temenos’ open platform will accelerate digitization and increase automation.” 

He added, “Such efforts will help to significantly reduce costs, improve customer experience and heighten the bank’s competitive advantage. This transformation with Temenos is already well underway, helping MSB meet ever-changing retail and corporate customer demands in a highly competitive market.”

Meanwhile, David Becker, managing director for APAC at Temenos, commented, “MSB has an ambitious five-year digital roadmap, transforming the bank for the open, digital era. We are proud to support and partner with the bank on this journey. Temenos has proven technology and local expertise in Vietnam with more than 20 banking clients across retail, corporate and wealth sectors. With our deep regional expertise and open platform architecture, MSB is well-positioned to capture the opportunities brought about by Vietnam’s digital banking boom.”

Temenos has been previously tapped by local bank Saigon-Hanoi Bank in order to accelerate the bank’s digital transformation.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Alliance Bank launches new digital loan solution to support SMEs in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Alliance Bank Malaysia has launched its latest digital solution, Digital SME, which aims to help SMEs manage and grow their business faster by leveraging the bank’s suite of innovative digital solutions.

The Digital SME loan offers up to RM500,000 collateral-free financing via a simple online process that only requires submission of the company’s six-month bank statement. To facilitate the application process, the Digital SME loan application is available in three languages, namely English, Bahasa Malaysia, and Mandarin. The bank also provides advice to SMEs on how to establish credit history and improve their credit profile.

Kevin Shum, Alliance Bank’s SVP and head of Digital SME, noted that they know that micro-enterprises may face issues obtaining financing due to their limited credit history, so they wanted to help them build their credit history by starting them with a small credit line, and subsequently help them expand by providing them quick access to financing via Digital SME once they are ready. He further shared that this financial year, they aim to provide up to RM200 million in digital SME loans.

“We want to enable our business customers to remotely open a digital business current account anytime, anywhere. The digital business account will comprise several innovative features, including a small overdraft line and business credit or debit card to help business owners manage their expenses more efficiently,” said Shum.

In addition to financing, Digital SME also offers financial advice on managing the business more efficiently. Aaron Sum, Alliance Bank’s group chief strategy of marketing and business development officer, stated, “Micro and small businesses face their own unique challenges while running their business, such as limited access to operational resources and recruiting talent. Through our BizSmart Solution portal, businesses can access relevant products and services such as digital marketing, logistics, accounting and data analytics at better rates to help them grow and run their business efficiently.”

BizSmart Solution portal is a one-stop online business community portal with over 200 partners, enabling business owners to reach out to new customers and access a wide range of business solutions at preferential rates.

The Digital SME financing is applicable to businesses that have been in operation for at least a year and with an annual turnover between RM50,000 and RM30 million.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

ANEXT Bank launches as Singapore’s newest digital wholesale bank for MSMEs

Singapore – ANEXT Bank, a digital wholesale bank in Singapore under Ant Group, has announced its soft launch. This follows its receipt of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) approval to commence business on 2 June 2022. 

The new digital bank will focus on providing digital financial services to local and regional MSMEs, especially those engaging in cross-border operations for growth and global expansion.

Toh Su Mei, ANEXT Bank’s CEO, believes that it’s time to offer the next generation of financial services that are accessible and effortless for growing businesses, and financial services have to evolve and be where SMEs are doing their businesses digitally.

“We are well-positioned to live up to this vision, leveraging Ant Group’s deep bench of technologies and know-how, along with our customer-obsessed local team dedicated to serving the SME community. Adopting an open and collaborative approach, we believe in joining hands with industry partners and the public sector to provide SMEs with financial services that are simpler, safer and more rewarding,” she said

Meanwhile, Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS, said that this marks yet another milestone in Singapore’s digital bank development journey, a strategic effort to ensure the banking sector remains progressive, globally competitive and vibrant. 

“MAS expects the digital banks to thrive and synergise with our dynamic financial institutions and raise the bar in delivering quality financial services and uplift Singapore’s financial sector to better support the growth of SMEs in Singapore, the region and in emerging markets,” added Mohanty.

ANEXT Bank has also signed a two-year MoU with Proxtera – the entity supported by MAS, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and private sector entities, to transform and enable holistic cross-border trade amongst SMEs and businesses by making marketplaces efficient and discoverable globally, with embedded financing, fulfilment services, and SME empowerment.

The MoU will see both organisations jointly create and establish an open framework for all participating financial institutions as they provide financing and risk mitigation support for SMEs and platforms in global trades. ANEXT Bank will also be Proxtera’s first participating digital wholesale bank in Singapore to lead the way in providing financing solutions to the buyers and sellers on Proxtera’s network.

Saurav Bhattacharyya, Proxtera’s CEO, shared that their commitment is to simplify global trade for SMEs and uplift them with the power of networks, leveraging modern technology to improve discoverability, accessibility, availability, and affordability of innovative digital services. 

“This mission is closely aligned with ANEXT Bank’s focus to serve SMEs engaging in cross-border operations. Together with ANEXT Bank’s digital-born identity and digital-first capabilities and services, I’m confident that we can make trade easier, more seamless and efficient for SMEs,” said Bhattacharyya.

As part of its soft launch, ANEXT Bank has provided a preview of the ANEXT Business Account, a dual-currency deposit account with proprietary security measures including three-factor authentication verification, as well as features, such as remote onboarding and daily interest. 

The bank is also calling on SMEs to share their thoughts on what they hope to see in financial services – it recognises in order to bring about what’s next in financial services, it starts with the needs of SMEs. Entries, as well as registrations of interest to open an account, are available from today via its website The ANEXT Business Account will be made available to the general SME community in the third quarter of 2022.

Marketing Featured APAC

Around 73% of APAC consumers say they still trust traditional banks over digital ones

Singapore – Despite the rising number of digital-only banking offerings, around 73% of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region still trust traditional banking systems, compared to the 44% of consumers saying they trust digital-only banking systems, according to the latest data from YouGov.

While 82% of Indonesians trust traditional banks, only around 38% trust digital-only banks. Similarly, 78% of Singaporeans trust traditional banks, and 37% trust digital-only banks. 

Meanwhile, confidence in digital-only banks is highest among consumers in Australia and India – where trust is at most 21% points lower than that for traditional banks. Around 62% of Australians trust digital-only banks versus 75% for traditional banks, while 51% of Indians trust digital-only banks versus under 72% for traditional banks.

Lastly, in China and Hong Kong, trust in digital-only banks lags that of traditional banks by 30% and 37% points respectively.

In terms of Gen Z consumer behaviour, trust in digital-only banks lags traditional banks the most among Gen Z consumers in Singapore by 29 points and Hong Kong by 26 points – above the APAC average of a 19-point trust gap – less so in Indonesia by 13 points and Australia by 8 points.  

Meanwhile, around 39% of Gen Z consumers in Hong Kong trust digital-only banks, significantly lower than that of the APAC average of 48%. Additionally, Gen Z consumers’ trust of traditional banks is also significantly lower in Australia, around 53%, but significantly higher in Singapore at around 79% when compared to the APAC average of 67%.

Among millennials, 72% trust traditional banks while around 47% have confidence in digital-only banks. Trust in digital-only banks lags traditional banks the most among Millennial consumers in Hong Kong and Singapore, both by 33 points– above the APAC average of a 25-point trust gap – less so in Indonesia by 22 points and Australia by 15 points. 

Notably, millennial consumers’ trust of digital-only banks in Hong Kong of 37% and Singapore of 40% is significantly lower than that of the APAC average of 47%. Additionally, Millennial consumers’ trust of traditional banks in Australia of 61% is also significantly lower than that of the APAC average of 72%.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Saigon-Hanoi Bank taps Temenos to accelerate digital transformation

Geneva, Switzerland – Saigon-Hanoi Bank in Vietnam has tapped cloud banking platform Temenos to accelerate the bank’s digital transformation. For SHB, the move to Temenos digital banking platform is a crucial step toward its goal to rank first in efficiency and technology among Vietnam’s commercial banks by 2025.

Through the partnership, adopting the digital banking capabilities on top of Temenos open platform for composable banking will enable SHB to reimagine how it engages with customers and deliver a consistent, seamless experience across multiple channels. 

Additionally, SHB will leverage Temenos’ open architecture – with its combination of APIs, microservices and Micro Apps – to create a true omnichannel experience across all channels, including internet, mobile, branches and ATMs.

Do Quang Vinh, deputy general director and director at SHB Digital Banking Division, said, “SHB aims to become a leading digital bank in Vietnam in the next five years. We are confident that choosing Temenos, the world leader in banking software, will enable us to complete the transformation project in the fastest and most effective way. With a modernised and secure system, we will be able to engage existing customers better and attract new customers through a digital banking experience that meets their current and future financial service needs.”

Meanwhile, David Becker, managing director for APAC at Temenos, commented, “SHB is a visionary bank with a clear digital transformation roadmap, and we are proud to support and partner with the bank on this journey. Temenos has nearly 30 years of experience in implementing core and front-office solutions for over 20 clients in Vietnam. This deep expertise together with the powerful capabilities of our open platform will help SHB accelerate the digital transformation initiatives that will differentiate its service and realize its growth ambitions.”

Platforms Featured South Asia

Bank Alfalah, Paymob team up to drive digital payment acceptance in Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan – National private bank Bank Alfalah has partnered with fintech platform Paymob to drive payment acceptance in Pakistan, which will empower over 100,000 merchants across Pakistan and launch new innovative services in e-commerce acceptance for online merchants.

Through the partnership, both entities have collaborated to activate and support merchant acquisition and integration services across Pakistan. This is Paymob’s first collaboration outside its Egyptian home market and comes as part of its expansion strategy in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region.

Bank Alfalah’s partnership with Paymob will drive financial inclusion and lead the way for swift payment acceptance, and will follow Bank Alfalah’s objective to support merchant acquisition and integration services across the country. This collaboration will enable an instant onboarding feature for the first time in Pakistan using Paymob’s advanced solutions such as payment gateway integration, POS terminals and SoftPOS.

Atif Bajwa, President and CEO of Bank Alfalah said, “Bank Alfalah is proud to partner with Paymob in one of Pakistan’s largest Fintech partnerships. Our collaboration will aim to serve thousands of merchants across Pakistan and the industry-first ‘Tap-on-Phone’ service will allow us to reach even the most remotely located merchants in Pakistan.”

Furthermore, the instant onboarding feature made by the partnership is empowered by the digital onboarding regulations recently published by the State Bank of Pakistan and comes as one of many positive steps the State Bank has led to enable MSME merchants in order to further digitise the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Alain El-Hajj, COO of Paymob, commented, “This is a remarkable moment for Paymob. We are honoured to partner with Bank AlFalah under its progressive leadership to provide reliable and seamless digital payment services for SMEs across Pakistan. With this partnership we aim to contribute to the shared vision of economic growth and digitization of SMEs.”

SME Featured South Asia

State Bank of Pakistan launches challenge fund for local SMEs

Islamabad, Pakistan – The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has announced the launch of a challenge fund for local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs). According to their latest circular, SBP instructs local banks to develop innovative technological solutions to cater the banking needs of the SME sector. In addition, this will also enable the SME sector to increase the access and usage of digital financial services.

Said challenge fund will be focusing on developing SME banking solutions, digital payment solutions for SMEs, developing e-commerce or online marketplace, and digitising loans application and credit management.

The grant size will be determined according to the financing requirements of the proposal under consideration. However, each grantee will contribute 15% of the total cost. Depending upon the quality and innovations of the proposal, the grant size can vary, however one bank will get only one grant. 

The duration of the projects to be implemented through CFS grant should not exceed 8 months.

In addition, commercial banks–both conventional and Islamic, are eligible to apply for grants under the fund. Banks can also apply in partnership with non-banking financial Institutions (NBFIs), fintechs, electronic money institutions (EMI) and software houses. However, lead responsibility will rest with the applicant bank.

Marketing Featured ANZ

ANZ appoints Mark Evans as new country head of Singapore

Australia Australian multinational bank, The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), has announced the appointment of Mark Evans as the new country head of its Singapore market. In addition, Evans has been named as ANZ’s head for  Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. This follows the retirement decision of the incumbent Vishnu Shahaney after a 40-year career with the bank. 

Evans is currently head of strategic planning and execution based in Sydney. Prior to joining ANZ, he previously held senior roles at HSBC overseeing its trade and supply chain business first in Australia, before moving to Hong Kong in a leadership capacity across Asia Pacific. He has also held positions earlier in his career at National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and St. George.

Simon Ireland, managing director of International of ANZ, shared, “Singapore is a critical market for the Bank given its status as a key financial hub and gateway location for the world’s largest multinational companies with trade and capital flows across ASEAN. As one of our most experienced banking executives in both our home markets and in Asia, Mark is well placed to drive strategic opportunities, growth and value for our business and our customers.”

He added, “Vishnu is a true veteran of our business and the banking industry across the region. The leadership team at ANZ thanks him for his significant contribution over many years and wish him well for the future.”

To ensure a smooth transition, Evans will relocate from Sydney to Singapore in May and report to Ireland while Shahaney will depart the Bank in July.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Oliver Wyman, GFT team up to support ARBM’s dev’t of Islamic digital bank

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – In a bid to support the leap of the Malaysian banking industry to go digital, global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman and Technology and software engineering company GFT have teamed up to support Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia’s (ARBM) desire to design, build and launch a cloud-based digital bank.

To set new standards of excellence for Islamic banking in Malaysia, ARBM will undertake a complete digital redesign of their products, services, and channels for this new digital bank

Arsalaan Ahmed, chief executive officer at ARBM, said that they have invested significantly in innovation as they lay the foundation of a customer-focused digital bank which offers best-in-class digital banking propositions and channels to benefit individual and business customers.

“We are tapping into the vast potential of innovation and partnering with key experts to provide added value to our customers and better serve the Malaysian market, and ARBM is seizing the opportunities in both digital banking and Islamic finance by striving to become the number one Islamic finance innovation bank in Malaysia,” Ahmed said.

Meanwhile, Dan Jones, partner at Oliver Wyman Digital, said, “The architecture and technology stack we’ve recommended will allow ARBM to provide disruptive, mobile-first, and highly scalable banking services.”

Lastly, Chris Ortiz, global markets and region manager for APAC and UK at GFT, commented, “GFT supports the design, build and launch of ARBM’s digital bank. This new digital bank will enable ARBM to respond to its clients’ needs for simpler, faster and better banking.”