THE ASIAN BANKING MONITOR w www.rfigroup.com t twitter.com/RFiMediaGRB
ECONOMIC & REGULATORY
PRIORITY & PRIVATE BANKING
06 All banks in India to provide mobile banking
14 Facial recognition for payments on Samsung S8
17 Will RBC exit the Asian private banking business?
Welcome to the May 2017 edition of the Asian Banking Monitor – a newsletter designed to give you a quick update on news and trends within the Asian banking market. We cover movements in all areas of the market – economics and regulatory, retail banking, priority and private banking, and technology. In the May edition, our insights piece examines the rising risks on bank balance sheets emanating from a build-up of household debt in key Asian markets. Deteriorating asset quality should remain a cause for concern across the region as market interest rates shift upwards and repayment on financing such as mortgages and unsecured personal loans pressures household budgets. On the economic and regulatory front, all deposit-taking institutions in India have now been mandated by the government to provide mobile banking facilities to all customers who use the UPI or BHIM app thereby facilitating on-the-go banking. In Thailand, the central bank has
revised its forecast for growth citing an improvement in exports and consumer spending, while holding the one-day bond repurchase rate steady. Finally, in the retail banking space DBS announced plans to open a mobileonly bank in Indonesia slated for later in the year as part of its regional digital transformation initiative. The importance of technology underpinning financial services was further reinforced with Samsung’s announcement to deploy facial-recognition on its new mobile device, Samsung 8 to enhance security of payments made via Samsung Pay. Kind regards,
Mobasher Zein Kazmi Editor/Research Director – Asia email@example.com D +65 6597 7027 I M +65 9035 6307
CONTENTS MAY 2017
04 RFi GROUP INSIGHT Is Asia borrowing more than it can handle?
06 ECONOMIC & REGULATORY All banks in India to provide mobile banking
HK property sales increase for first time home buyers
PRIORITY & PRIVATE BANKING Will RBC exit the Asian private banking business?
Facial recognition for payments on Samsung S8
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RFi GROUP INSIGHT
IS ASIA BORROWING MORE THAN IT CAN HANDLE? WORDS ANDREW KIM, RFi GROUP
he US Federal Reserve increased rates in the face of improving economic conditions with the market anticipating further hikes over the year. The primary concern in Asia is the resulting increase in the cost of funding which will be passed on by banks to households, businesses, and governments in the region. There have already been many reports on the rising non-performing loan (NPL) ratio in Asia, as well as examples of restructuring loans to help recovery and there are two key markets we need to watch with respect to household debt as it slows economic growth.
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When it comes to household debt, there is a high degree of variation in the proportion of loan holders in the banked population around the region, from the 60% in Malaysia down to the 23% in Japan and on average, around 1 in 2 loan holders in Asia will hold a mortgage on the property they live in. However, when looking at loan holders and their intent to increase their borrowing, Korea and China stand out with a higher proportion of such loan holders and these countries may see an increase in toxic loans and defaults in their retail lending books.
RFi GROUP INSIGHT
% OF LOAN HOLDERS LOOKING TO INCREASE THEIR BORROWING
KOREA With 2 in 5 Koreans holding a bank loan and almost 1 in 4 loan holders looking to increase the amount they borrow over the next 12 months, there are concerns that Korea will reach debt levels reminiscent of its financial crisis two decades ago. Even with government intervention a few years ago, household debt reached has a record high 1,344 trillion Won, fuelled by demand for housing, education and business financing. With an ageing population and graduates struggling to find employment, Koreaâ€™s debt will remain a key issue facing the new government that steps in following the ouster of Park Geun Hye from the presidency who is currently on trial for corruption charges.
Source: RFi Group Retail Banking Council
Traditionally known for its debt aversion, there has been an increasing trend to borrow with around 1 in 4 of its banked population holding a bank loan. This has been spurred by rising property prices as 3 in 5 of loan holders hold a mortgage on their residential property, but this has put pressure on their discretionary spend as 3 in 5 loan holders have dipped into their savings to fund their lifestyle and 1 in 5 looking to borrow even more. Another increasing trend in China has been shadow banking where unregulated and highly speculated wealth management products (WMPs) are sold by banks to retail investors to raise money to loan to private businesses and entrepreneurs. While some investors leverage to take advantage of the opportunity to earn higher returns endorsed by state controlled banks, there have been cases where the investments have fallen through resulting in severe losses. The fundamental shift away from regulated bank deposits is an alarming trend and with 2 in 5 of the banked population citing to be very concerned with their current financial situation. Therefore the regulators are on a mission to curb the systemic risk that arises from such practices. It will be interesting to see how regulators in both China and Korea deal with their respective issues in controlling household debt levels, especially if interest rates continue to rise from international pressures. With such a growing demand for finance (and refinance), banks in the region will need to more cautious and diligent in their evaluation of asset quality as system risks arise not just for the likes of Korea and China, but for the overall region.
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ECONOMIC & REGULATORY
Economic and Regulatory All banks in India to provide mobile banking WORDS GRACE CHRISTIANTY
n a step to push a digital payment system following last year’s demonetization, the Indian government has asked all banks in the country to provide mobile banking services to its customers. The nationwide campaign aims to ensure that all people who have a mobile phone will be able to transact through their mobile device. Banked customers who are using the UPI or BHIM app which enables sending and receiving money directly to a bank account through a mobile phone will be automatically enrolled for mobile banking.
The nationwide campaign aims to ensure that all people who have a mobile phone will be able to transact through their mobile device. Following the move to push mobile banking, ICICI bank – one of the largest banks in India upgraded its mobile banking app – Mera iMobile to cover 11 local languages. The bank’s app will be available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Odia, Assamese and Punjabi. On top of this, the bank’s app will enable its customers to pay bills, top up balances and other frequently used services through SMS, not requiring internet connection in a market where internet penetration is below 30%.
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ECONOMIC & REGULATORY
Following the move to push mobile banking, ICICI bank – one of the largest banks in India upgraded its mobile banking app – Mera iMobile to cover 11 local languages.
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ECONOMIC & REGULATORY
Thailand holds key interest rate, while raising economic growth forecasts WORDS CHRISTOPHER GOH Thailand’s central bank held its key interest rate at 1.5%, where it has been for nearly 2 years, whilst raising its economic growth forecast for 2017. Albeit, the decision by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) was widely expected, as the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep the one-day bond repurchase rate steady since April 2015. The central bank said monetary conditions would remain accommodative, despite improvement in economic activity and rising inflation, largely due to uncertainty about the global economy. The BOT is relying on government spending to support economic growth, as it raises its 2017 economic growth forecast to 3.4% from 3.2% in December 2016. This is expected to be attributed by rising exports and domestic spending. RFi Group data shows that retail banking consumers are most concerned over Thailand’s economic outlook over the next 12 months, with 54% stating that they are very concerned.
HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE FOLLOWING AFFECTING YOU OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS? H2 2016
Very concerned (4 + 5)
100% 80% 60%
The Asia-Pacific economic outlook
The US economic outlook
The European economic outlook
20% 0% Thailand’s economic outlook
Changes in interest rates
Source: RFi Group – Thailand Retail Banking Council (H2 2016)
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Instability of the banking sector
ECONOMIC & REGULATORY
Singapore’s inflation rate turning positive WORDS RUSSELL QUAH Singapore saw a year-on-year increase of 0.7% in its consumer price index (CPI) in February. This comes after two years of deflation, primarily due to falling oil prices, lower car prices and housing costs. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the increase in inflation this year is largely due to higher private road transportation costs as well as food and services costs. The MAS and the Ministry of Trade also released a joint statement stating inflation for 2017 is expected to rise. However, core inflation, which measures the everyday expense was 1.2% in February, 0.3 percentage points lower than January.
HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE FOLLOWING AFFECTING YOU OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS? Inflation 1 - Not concerned
5 - Very concerned
The impact of the increase in inflation is yet to be seen on the exchange rate as inflationary pressure is normally met with tightening monetary policies to allow an appreciation of the Singapore dollar. The MAS will be releasing a statement regarding the exchange rate policy in the coming month. RFi Group data for Singapore indicates that 24% of consumers in 2016 H2 indicate that they are “very concerned” regarding inflation affecting them in the next 12 months. The percentage of concerned customers, those who rank 4 and 5, have increased by 8% when compared against those in H2 2015.
According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the increase in inflation this year is largely due to higher private road transportation costs as well as food and services costs. The MAS and the Ministry of Trade also released a joint statement stating inflation for 2017 is expected to rise.
Source: RFi Group – Singapore Priority & Retail Banking Council (15H2, 16H1, 16H2)
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Retail Banking Hong Kong property sales increase for first time home buyers WORDS EUNICE KOH
here has been a spike in Hong Kong’s property sales in the past two months. The country’s Land Registry registered an increase of 35% property agreement sales and purchases for all type of buildings in February, compared to 14% in the same month last year. This increase was due to changes in the property stamp duty fee. Hong Kong government increased the stamp duty surcharge on residential property transactions to 15% for non-first-time home buyers. While this was implemented to cool Hong Kong’s overheating housing market, this crack left by the government has led to a loophole which allowed firsttime buyers to buy multiple flats at one go and paying only a 15% flat stamp duty.
The Land Registry registered an increase of 35% property agreement sales and purchases for all type of buildings in February. As the loophole was made known to the authorities, there has been critics of this gap and urgency to end it. In response to the lawmakers, Anthony Cheung Bing Leung, secretary for Transport and Housing, mentioned that they are looking into this issue and will need time to carefully examine the situation before making any decisions. According RFi’s Group data from Hong Kong Retail Banking Council, mortgage ownership incidence has been stable in the past year with 15% of banked customer in Hong Kong owned a mortgage in 16H1 and 17% in 16H2. If this loophole remains, this number will surely increase.
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Prohibitions on BTN amid fraud investigation WORDS GRACE CHRISTIANTY State-owned lender Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) has been banned from opening any type of new bank accounts at its cash offices and also from finding third-party funds, be it through marketing efforts or opening new branches. Both prohibitions have been handed down by the Financial Services Authority in Indonesia. These prohibitions come amid an official enquiry into a time deposit slip forgery case, which alleges complicity of BTN’s staff. Four institutions and an individual are involved in this fraud case. Police have arrested Bambang Suparno, the head of BTN Cikeas cash office in West Java, due to his alleged participation. According to data from RFi group, BTN is the market leader in mortgages, holding 33% of all mortgage relationships and capturing 30% of all main mortgage relationships. The measures will last until BTN’s internal control improves and its operation risks decrease. BTN corporate secretary Eko Waluyo has ensured that his firm will work in accordance with current regulation.
Bank Tabungan Negara’s prohibitions come amid an official enquiry into a time deposit slip forgery case, which alleges complicity of BTN’s staff. Four institutions and an individual are involved in this fraud case.
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According to Maybank, the volume of transactions being carried on its app has been growing at a faster rate compared to transactions carried online (through computers or tablets). As of December 2016, the bank has seen a 72% surge in mobile banking transactions versus a 41% surge in online transactions.
Maybank sees increase in mobile banking transactions WORDS GRACE CHRISTIANTY Following an upgrade on its mobile banking app two years ago, Maybank in Malaysia has seen a significant increase of its Maybank2u app usage in the past two years. According to the bank, the volume of transactions being carried on its app has been growing at a faster rate compared to transactions carried online (through computers or tablets). As of December 2016, the bank has seen a 72% surge in mobile banking transactions versus a 41% surge in online transactions. Maybankâ€™s Chief Strategy Officer, Michael Foong contributed this growth to the refreshed Maybank2u app which offers its users a significantly faster and easier interaction. Maybankâ€™s customers who use phones which enables fingerprint recognition, will be able to log in into their account easily. Once logged in, customers can get instant access to their aggregated balances, giving them a better view of their overall financial state. In addition, the app will introduce a new feature to help customers enjoy enhanced security on their transactions by allowing them to acknowledge and verify transactions through the app. Delay in receiving One-Time-Password (OTP) via SMS will be eliminated since this new feature allows OTP to be generated on the app itself. This new feature, Secure2u will be introduced by end of April and the bank expects to see an increasing number of customers transacting digitally in the next few years.
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PROPORTION OF BANKED CUSTOMERS WHO CONDUCT BANKING TRANSACTIONS THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES ON A MONTHLY BASIS
WORDS BOON SIONG TAN
100% 80% 68%
DBS to launch mobile-only banking service in Indonesia
40% 20% 0% H2 2015
Source: RFi Group – Indonesia Retail Banking Council (H2 2016)
Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) plans to open a new mobile-only bank in Indonesia in the second quarter of 2017 to promote a new experience for its customers. Customers can expect to use biometrics and electronic ID (e-KTP) to register or use DBS’s banking services. According to data from RFi group, there is a growing group of banking customers who use their mobile devices for their banking transactions. DBS’s digital stance has already been rolled out in India, and looks to expand it across to Indonesia through a soft launch in April this year. Digital transformation is part of DBS’s larger plan for the region, where it is leveraging on delivery of innovative technology solutions to reach out to customers more efficiently. The smartphone-based mobile option will enable DBS to not only connect with its customers but also reduce the cost to serve.
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Technology Facial recognition for payments on the new Samsung S8 WORDS MICHELLE HO
outh Korea giant mobile manufacturer, Samsung Electronic Co. will be launching enabled facialrecognition technology to enhance security of payments made through its new device, Samsung Galaxy S8. This new feature will enable identification through fingerprinting and through a smart-assistant named Bixby, and face recognition for verification through mobile payment such as Samsung Pay. This signifies a large leap forward for image-based biometrics which will hopefully propel their market penetration in the mobile wallet space in total. Samsung’s close competitor, Apple is not far behind – its technology recently won a patent for the ability to recognize faces through information in video feeds. This signifies the mobile company’s belief that mobile wallets are and increasingly becoming very important to consumers, with huge investments in upgrading mobile wallet as key differentiators against each other.
With the growth in technology and digital payments, rapid advancement in such technologies is expected to match up and address concerns on security when making payments. RFi Group data brings insight into attributes affecting mobile wallet usage. The table illustrates how markets across Asia have expressed security as a key concern when making payments overall, in stores and online scenarios. With the growth in technology and digital payments, rapid advancement in such technologies is expected to match up and address these concerns.
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CONSUMERS’ CONCERN WHEN MAKING PAYMENTS Feeling uncertain with transaction security 50% 40% 30%
20% 10% 0% Malaysia
Source: RFi Group – Payment Council (H2 2016)
Singaporean Bank p pilots roboadvisory service WORDS MICHELLE HO OCBC has announced a partnership with the Singapore-based fintech firm, WeInvest to pilot a robo-advisory service â€“ marking the first bank in Southeast Asia to do so. The new platform offers services such as advice on investment and reviewing existing investment portfolios to reduce the need the need to interact with a relationship manager. The lowest entry into the investment portfolio is $3000 Singapore dollars, and the service offers updates through emails and SMS texts based on varying performance and market conditions. The progress of this banking technology is certainly an increasing trend as RFi Group data findings validate the importance of digital accessibility and wealth management advice amongst priority banking customers. Could the movement towards technology and artificial intelligence as a delivery of banking service signify the diminishing importance of relationship managers and the human touch? While that will be a topic worth exploring, RFi Group data from Singapore Retail Banking Council shows that consumers still consider wealth management advice as one of the top 5 critical determinants in selecting a priority banking program.
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Samsung Pay launched in India WORDS GRACE CHRISTIANTY Samsung Pay, one of the leaders in mobile wallet applications announced its official launch in India in the first week of March. The app allows payment using near-file communication (NFC) technology, which enables credit card information stored in oneâ€™s mobile wallet to be detected by the terminal. The user just needs to key in a verification code such as finger print or pin on their phone to authorize the payment. Currently this service is available only on Samsung Galaxy devices and supported by limited big banks in the country such as Axis Bank, HDFC bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and Standard Chartered. Samsung Pay is still working to support payments made by American Express and Citibank issued cards. India marks the 11th market now where Samsung Pay operates. The recent demonetization initiative introduced by the Indian government designed to tackle money laundering and boost tax transparency has greatly impacted the use of cashless payment methods in the country. According to RFi Group data from the India Priority & Retail Banking Council, in the past six months the incidence of digital wallet usage has seen a marked increase. About 4 in 10 customers have used digital wallets to settle a range of payment scenarios. The launch of Samsung Pay in the country will likely make digital wallet led payments more common in the country.
% USED DIGITAL WALLET IN ANY SCENARIOS By age group H1 2016
80% 60% 49%
20% 0% 18 - 24
25 - 34
Source : RFi Group â€“ India Priority & Retail Banking Council (H1 2016)
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PRIORITY & PRIVATE BANKING
Priority & Private Banking Will RBC exit the Asian private banking business? WORDS GABRIEL LOW Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) joins the list of banks which may pull out of Asian private banking as it reviews its wealth management business in Asia. Many international banks have already sold their private banking operations; ABN Amro exited with a sale to LGT late last year to strengthen and grow its private banking business in Northwest Europe. Despite Asia generally being considered a key growth market, tightening margins are likely to be the culprit for most of the divestitures. The cause for the tightening of these margins are related to the rising compliance costs (largely to do with the BSI scandal in Malaysia last year) and the higher demands of Asian customers from a cost perspective. RBCâ€™s profitability and future in the Asian private banking business remains uncertain with the $10 billion it has in assets under management.
Despite Asia generally being considered a key growth market, tightening margins are likely to be the culprit for most of the divestitures.
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PRIORITY & PRIVATE BANKING
Citibank deepens its wealth management services in Korea
WHAT WOULD BE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU IN SELECTING A NEW PRIORITY BANKING PROGRAM? - TOP 5 Potential priority banking customers
WORDS GRACE CHIA 30%
Citibank Korea, has introduced its Total Wealth Advisor system for its affluent customers under the Citigold program. The system offers various investment portfolios based on the individual’s financial goals and risk appetite. Valentin Valderrabano, head of retail products and segments division at Citibank Korea states, “We’ve provided efficient wealth management services in accordance with customers’ objectives for asset expansion, contributing to customer profits.” RFi Group data shows that the wealth management products and services are a key consideration when selecting a new priority banking program and Citibank Korea has enjoyed more than 20% increase in the number of wealth management customers with KRW 50 million to KRW 100 million in asset under management in February 2017 compared to November 2015. The bank has ambitious plans to double its wealth management assets in Korea by 2020, and it is currently widening its physical network and investing further in digitization.
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5% 0% Discount/ Wealth Reputation Wealth preferential management for the management rates on products product advice banking and services products
Source: RFi Group – Korea Priority Banking Council (H2 2016)
Premium credit cards
PRIORITY & PRIVATE BANKING
Credit Suisse pushes for digital solutions in Singapore WORDS JONATHAN ENG
PLEASE INDICATE WHICH OF THE BELOW YOU USE TO CONDUCT YOUR DAY-TO-DAY BANKING ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR MAIN BANK? % of affluent who use channel frequently (at least once a month)
Credit Suisse has rolled out two digital solutions to align with what their customers are looking for in Singapore. These include a digital onboarding for private banking clients and an automated account aggregation and reporting. Credit Suisse hopes that the digital onboarding will improve the experience for their customers and help to streamline processes. Christian Huber, Credit Suisse’s COO of private banking Asia Pacific, also stated that they have seen growth in terms of adoption and engagement through their digital private banking platform. RFi Group data shows that among the affluent, there has been an increase the usage of digital channels for day-today banking from H1 2016 to H2 2016. Credit Suisse has partnered with Mesitis, to allow their clients access to the Canopy software. This will allow their clients a holistic view of their assets across different geographies and asset classes. It can also provide analytics and insights for the bank’s customers too. Francesco de Ferrari, Credit Suisse’s head of private banking Asia Pacific and CEO Southeast Asia and Frontier Markets, said that their customers indicated they “would like to have a single portfolio view available in one place, and to be able to plan, analyse and track their wealth across multiple institutions and asset classes.” And Canopy will enable Credit Suisse to help their customers achieve this.
100% 83% 83% 85%
40% 20% 0% Online (computer/ laptop)
Mobile device/ Tablet
Source: RFi Group – Singapore Priority and Retail Banking Council (H2 2016, H1 2016, H2 2015)
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I D E N T I F Y T H E U N TA P P E D P O T E N T I A L A N D C A P T U R E T H E O P P O R T U N I T Y W I T H I N O N E O F T H E FA S T E S T G R O W I N G B A N K I N G S E G M E N TS I N T H E W O R L D . W H I C H M A R K E TS A R E P O I S E D T O C A P T U R E T H E M A J O R I T Y O F T H AT G R O W T H AND HOW WILL THEY DO IT?
G LO B A L I S L A M I C B A N K I N G CO U N C I L
88% of Malays in Malaysia are open to the idea of subscribing to Islamic banking products and services – about 2 in 5 Malays will only choose Islamic banking products and services
More than 1 in 2 of Islamic banking participants in Indonesia
Middle East and becoming a global norm. Whilst consumer appetite is there, global acceptance will fundamentally require increased effort from key industry stakeholders, including regulators and market participants, to standardize best practices. In response to the growing interest in Islamic Banking globally, RFi Group recently launched the Global Islamic Banking Council. The Global Islamic Banking Report a key deliverable of the council looks at the changing attitudes and behaviors of consumers towards Islamic Banking products and features, the competitive landscape in key markets across Asia as well as the opportunities and trends shaping the industry. For further information, or to purchase this report, please contact:
are highly likely to advocate their Islamic banking provider
Ritin Malhotra Business Development Manager – Asia email@example.com +65 6597 0926
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RFi Group is a global intelligence and digital media provider focusing exclusively on financial services. We specialise in data and information gathering, customer based insight generation and business decision support for the world’s leading financial service providers. RFi Group combines global intelligence and local knowledge to provide insightful, valuable and actionable insights across our 44 key global markets.
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