Asian Banking & Finance (October - December 2022)

Page 1

Issue No. 108

DISPLAY TO 31 DECEMBER 2022

EXEMPLARY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, INITIATIVES COMMENDED AT THE 2022 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS

Asian Banking & Finance

HOW SUPERAPPS ARE CHANGING DIGITAL BANKING DATA IS THE BANE AND BOON OF ADDRESSING SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENTGAP FINTECH FUNDING SLOWS AS COVID’S DIGITAL HYPE FADES THE FUTURE OF BANKING COULD LIE IN THE METAVERSE



FROM THE EDITOR

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irtual reality may be the answer to more digitally optimised financial services without sacrificing personalisation. So-called ‘superapps’ are already challenging existing mobile and banking players by being a one-stop solution for all consumer needs and demands, including payments. Meanwhile, there is a gap between what companies need and the data they have, which poses a challenge to when making informed ESG-related decisions.

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ANEXT Bank’s CEO Toh Su Mei talks about why digital banks are the key to staying ahead of SMEs’ financial needs on page 14. UNO Digital Bank is the newest digital-only lender in the Philippines. CEO Manish Bhai talks about his endeavors as the top digital bank for Filipino customers’ financial needs on page 16. Finally, Citibank’s Nilesh Kumar discusses how the new brand of personalisation is shaping the company’s digital banking journey on page 20. Get to know the top industry players in the Asia Pacific at the Asian Banking & Finance Awards. The prestigious awards programme pays tribute to the companies that produced the latest innovations that stood out in the banking and finance market. For the full event coverage, go to page 36. Read on and enjoy!

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MICA (P) 249/07/2011 No. 67

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 1


CONTENTS

22

36

EVENT COVERAGE EXEMPLARY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, INITIATIVES COMMENDED AT THE 2022 ABF AWARDS

FIRST 06 Fintechs to transform cross-border payments

08 Rising interest rates heighten challenges for digital banks

VOX POP 10 How superapps are changing digital banking

VENDOR VIEW 18 Data is the bane and boon of addressing sustainable investment gap

FINANCIAL INSIGHT 20 How financial institutions can

FINTECH ANALYSIS FINTECH FUNDING SLOWS AS COVID’S DIGITAL HYPE FADES

ANALYSIS

FUTURE OF BANKING 30 THE COULD LIE IN THE METAVERSE

FINTECH WATCH 21 Helicap plays matchmaker for underfinanced SMEs

INTERVIEW 14 How to stay ahead of SMEs’ financial needs

ANALYSIS 32 Banks face choice between higher margins, credit demand as interest rates rise

OPINION 108 Thoughts on digital banks in

16 Nowhere to go but the top for UNO Digital Bank

Singapore

110 Rethinking the mortgage lending

24 Bank Mandiri reveals its ‘blue ocean’ strategy

experience

112 How your business can get the

26 CIMB Niaga offers branchless

most out of the metaverse

banking with OCTO Mobile

28 The new brand of personalisation that’s shaping Citi’s digital banking journey

overcome the booming demand for ESG roles Published quarterly by Charlton Media Group Pte Ltd 101 Cecil St. #17-09 Tong Eng Building 2 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AND FINANCE | Q4 | MARCH 2022 2019 Singapore 069533

For the latest banking news from Asia visit the website

www.asianbankingandfinance.net


ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 3


News from asianbankingandfinance.net Daily news from Asia MOST READ

RETAIL BANKING

HK banks face ‘brain drain’ as talents flee amidst strict travel restrictions Hong Kong is increasingly becoming a less desirable place to work for expatriates and even for local talent, hampered by stringent travel restrictions that wear the workers’ patience thin. More HK-based talents have shown interest in moving to or have already gone to other cities.

CARDS & PAYMENTS

Singapore to eliminate all corporate cheques by 2025 Singapore is aiming to cease the use of corporate cheques by 2025, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said in a speech. Delivering the opening remarks for the Singapore Fintech Festival 2022, Wong said that the government plans to issue a public consultation on 2 November.

4 ASIAN BANKING AND & FINANCE FINANCE | Q4 | Q3 2022 2021

RETAIL BANKING

How Citi’s hiring spree sets into motion its $150b new AUM goal Citigroup sets bold goals of hiring new staff equal to almost 20% of your current headcount, and tripling the client assets you handle, all in just a span of three years? The bank’s Singapore arm alone plans to hire 1,500 bankers and more than double the number of its wealth clients by 2025.

RETAIL BANKING

How Singapore banks are closing the gender gap Top Singaporean banks are exceeding projected regional average growth of hiring women in executive positions. Deloitte’s Within Reach series predicted that by 2030, women in senior leadership roles, specifically C-suite, will grow to 20.5%, a moderate increase from 18.5% in 2021.

FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY

This fintech firm is ending the penand-paper era of financial advisors GoalsMapper, a Singapore-based fintech software-as-a-service firm, said that the pen-and-paper era for financial advisors and financial consultants should be over and done with as traditional methods lack the accuracy to cater to a client’s needs.

CARDS & PAYMENTS

Alternative payments dominate Asia as credit card use dwindles Credit card companies have room to sweat. Despite its current status as the so-called fintech disruptor, BNPL alone is unlikely to overtake credit card use over the next few years. But credit card firms aren’t off the hook, with more consumers in APAC expected to ditch cards in favour of alternative payments.


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FIRST 5 WAYS FIs CAN PROTECT AGAINST CYBER ATTACKS

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

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he Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Cyber Security Advisory Panel (CSAP) said there are five ways for financial institutions (FIs) to overcome cyber attacks and cybersecurity challenges. To create a line of defense, CSAP said FSIs should have processes in place to respond swiftly and decisively to new cyber threats arising from adverse geopolitical developments. In relation, the panel underscored the need for greater cross-border cooperation, including swift information exchange, and carrying out joint exercises to test cyber responses. The financial sector should also adopt a holistic approach in dealing with digital banking scams. The panel urged FIs to further fortify the security of their digital banking services by implementing measures such as verifying and restricting the device from which a customer can access digital banking services; using biometrics as an additional form factor to authenticate high-risk transactions; and leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning for real-time fraud monitoring. Monitoring cyber attacks To mitigate cybersecurity risks related to the increasing use of distributed ledger technology (DLT), the CSAP said FIs need to continually monitor for new modes of attacks and upgrade their security controls to protect their DLTbased services. FIs should likewise monitor the development of international standards on post-quantum cryptography, and begin the process of identifying weaker cryptographic solutions, said the CSAP. “Developments in quantum computing may compromise presentday encryption protection and threaten data confidentiality,” the CSAP said. Lastly, CSAP said FIs and the financial sector should harmonise cyber resilience standards. 6 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

MAS said the current state of cross-border payments is unfit for the 21st century

Fintechs to transform cross-border payments

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FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY

intech can potentially play a positive transformative role on two challenges in cross-border payments, Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said during a keynote speech at Sibos 2022. According to Menon, challenges in cross-border payments are ‘foundational issues’ that need to be addressed first before broader progress can be made. Menon said that currently, the state of cross-border payments is unfit for the 21st century. “It is slow, costly, opaque, and inefficient, relying on an archaic network of correspondent banks. According to the World Bank, the global average cost for sending remittances is 6.4% of the transfer value. This is particularly painful for the migrant worker who wants to send money home or the small business which wishes to reach overseas markets through e-commerce,” Menon explained. Menon enumerated three ways to solve challenges in cross-border payments. One is linking up faster payment systems. The second is to build a multi-CBDC common

It is slow, costly, opaque, and inefficient, relying on an archaic network of correspondent banks

Ravi Menon

platform and the third is to expand private sector blockchain-based payment networks. “Linking the faster payment systems of countries is an efficient way to carry over the benefits of cheap, fast, seamless payments from the domestic to the cross-border arena. Singapore has been actively working to connect our PayNow with the faster payment systems of other countries. We started with Thailand’s PromptPay, with a bilateral linkage launched last year, and are now completing our linkages with India’s Unified Payment Interface and Malaysia’s DuitNow. These linkages allow users in Singapore and our partner jurisdiction to transfer funds directly to one another’s bank accounts,” the MAS expert said. However, such bilateral linkages are time-consuming and expensive to implement. Menon said Singapore is solving this by creating a multilateral solution that can efficiently link up countries’ faster payment systems. They call it Project Nexus. Project Nexus Project Nexus aims to address the challenges of speed, cost, access and transparency, in line with the G20 goals set out for enhancing cross border payments. MAS believes Project Nexus will be a key enabler towards realising the vision of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) aim to have multilateral payment linkages across the region by 2025. Linking faster payment systems solve the cross-border payments problem but not settlements. This is where the second solution comes in: a multiCBDC common platform. “A common ledger utilising distributed ledger technology can potentially act as the global settlement layer for participating banks. Wholesale CBDCs, are well suited to be used on such a distributed ledger to support simultaneous settlement or the exchange of two linked assets in real-time,” Menon said. The third pathway is through private sector led blockchain-based payment networks. Securely-backed stablecoins or tokenised bank deposits issued by private sector players can also be used to enable cheaper and faster cross-border payment and settlement.


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Taiwan Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 7


FIRST

Tamma Febrian

A softer economy could also affect the banks’ target customers disproportionately

Rising interest rates heighten challenges for digital banks FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY

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any newly debuted digital banks in the Asia Pacific will find achieving financial viability more challenging now due to increasing interest rates and tightening funding conditions. It’s a matter of how much risk they’re willing to bet on in order to rake in more profits, according to Fitch Ratings analysts Tamma Febrian, Elaine Xu, and Matt Choi. These banks net interest margins will be influenced by their risk appetite. “In general, we believe the best opportunities for digital banks in APAC are in markets with larger unbanked populations. However, lending to underserved sectors carries higher risk, with their lower income

and limited credit history posing key challenges for digital banks trying to crack the market,” Febrian, Xu, and Choi warned. The analysts added that they expect credit costs to rise more significantly for these segments in a higherinterest-rate environment. A softer economy could also affect the banks’ target customers disproportionately, raising asset-quality risks, they added. APAC countries have recently been engulfed by a digital banking spree. In late 2020, Singapore handed out licenses for virtual-only banks, with the winners just having kicked off operations in mid-2021. These include two wholesale banks, Green Link

The best opportunities for digital banks in APAC are in markets with larger unbanked populations

Digital Bank and ANEXT Bank; and GXS Bank, a retail digital-only bank backed by Grab Holdings and local telecommunications giant Singtel. In Indonesia, the regulator opted to change banking rules to allow for digital-only banks; whilst Malaysia also recently granted five digital-only bank licenses, with GXS Bank notably obtaining one of the licenses as well. A path to profitability Making a profit will also be increasingly challenging for many digital banks in APAC, Febrian, Xu, and Choi said. The viability of digital banks is highly influenced by the size of the market, local industry competitive dynamics, the strength of their franchises, and the banks’ strategy and ability to execute it. Many leading digital banks in the Asia-Pacific region are sponsored by established corporations or are a part of a consortia, whose existing vast customer base provides critical mass for these banks to quickly and effectively scale their business. But having a complementary ecosystem and leaner cost structure may not be enough for these disruptors to start making a profit. “For example, all of Hong Kong’s digital banks remain in the red even after three years of operations, although most are owned by conglomerates or established corporations, in part due to continued investments as well as the industry’s highly competitive market,” the analysts said.

BNPL, DIGITAL WALLETS ACCELERATE GROWTH OF E-COMMERCE FRAUD: STUDY

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rowth of e-commerce fraud will be accelerated by the increasing use of alternative payments, notably digital wallets and buy now pay later or BNPL, which are creating new fraud risks, according to England-based market researcher Juniper Research. The total cost of e-commerce fraud to merchants is expected to exceed $48b globally in 2023, with 22% of this coming from the Asia Pacific region, their study found. Online payment fraud counts losses across the sales of digital goods, physical goods, money transfer transactions and banking, as well as purchases like airline ticketing. Fraudster attacks can include phishing, business email compromises and socially engineered fraud. Juniper Research gave particular focus to BNPL, naming it as a major risk going forward.

8 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

“Given the delayed nature of BNPL payments, fraudsters can make several illegitimate payments using stolen card details before the fraudulent activity is identified, creating significant risk. In turn, the research recommended that BNPL vendors conduct robust identity verification at the point of onboarding to mitigate these risks,” Juniper Research said in the report. Vendors are called to build platforms providing AI-powered risk-based scoring as a measure against fraud. “To combat this fraud, e-commerce merchants must implement simple steps such as address verification, combined with risk-based scoring on transactions, which will allow merchants to best mitigate the massive fraud threats present,” added research author Nick Maynard.


ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 9


VOX POP

How superapps are changing digital banking FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY

Safdar Khan Division President, Southeast Asia, Mastercard Today, superapps are challenging existing mobile and banking players by being a one-stop solution for all consumer needs and demands, including payments. For a long time, superapps had limited options and control when integrating payments. However, with growing adoption of open banking and technologies that enabled their application, superapps are now exploring how to better embed financing options into non-traditional channels. Superapps are also bringing new opportunities to traditional and modern financial players. For banks, including digital banks, partnerships with superapps allows them to access remote consumers or consumer segments they are unable to serve. These partnerships also allow banks to experiment with innovative digital offerings without the up-front investment and any associated risks. Banks can also use these technology firms as a pool of specialised skills that they would find challenging and expensive to assemble on their own.

Representative Analyst, Maybank Investment Banking Group Over 6 in 10 Southeast Asians are unbanked or under-banked, according to a report by Bain, and superapps will play a big role in that. Superapps are multi-vertical apps anchored by a strong mobile wallet, with more mature superapps transforming into platforms-as-a-service (PaaS) players by rolling out mini-app features for other developers to build apps within their eco-system. The wallet is often mandatory within their eco-system as the payment gateway, allowing them to earn commissions on economic activity that occur on their platform. Superapps are just one type of player in the mobile money space. Others include telco-led mobile wallets (e.g. LinkAja, Dash, mPay), digital native mobile wallets (e.g. FavePay, PayPal) and bank-led mobile wallets (e.g. Paylah!, K+). Early mobile money offerings led by telcos tried to emulate M-PESA as an SMS-based wallet, but with smartphones, most mobile money offerings now have moved to an app-centric model.

JungKiu Choi Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group SuperApp is a platform that aggregate all services and offerings consumers need in one single app. It’s designed to win the battle for app usage and user daily screentime when mobile users suffer from app fatigue and crave convenience at the same time. SuperApps have unfettered access to massive consumers and data, as well as the economic opportunities that emerge from that access. SuperApps and the ‘SuperApp’ concept are creating an impact to the digital banking landscape in many ways. Some SuperApps have built their own digital banking arm to better support its ecosystem strategy and most have proven successful. A number of challenger banks who started with single/small suite banking offerings are also harbouring the ambition to become a SuperApp, such as Tinkoff, Revolut, and Nubank. Traditional banks are responding to the SuperApp trend through ‘partnership’ or ‘self-build’ models, depending on their size and assets they possess.

PRODUCT WATCH

Singapore’s DBS dives into the metaverse

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BS Bank has announced plans to create its own interactive metaverse experience under the name DBS BetterWorld. Singapore’s largest bank by assets has teamed up with The Sandbox, a decentralised gaming virtual world, for its metaverse services. Under this partnership, DBS acquired a 3x3 plot of “LAND”–the unit used for virtual real estate in The Sandbox metaverse–on which it will develop DBS BetterWorld. DBS said that it aims to use the metaverse as an additional engagement platform for its customers to learn more about ESG concerns. In particular, the bank said that it will use the platform to

10 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

“profile social entrepreneurs in Asia who have been driving positive impact through innovative business models.” The bank further plans to connect DBS BetterWorld with LiveBetter, the bank’s digital platform aimed for encouraging more eco-conscious living amongst its customers. LiveBetter offers ecofriendly tips, channels for easy donation to sustainability causes, and investment opportunities in sustainability-themed funds, amongst other services. As for its carbon footprint from operating in the metaverse, DBS said that it plans to purchase carbon offsets in order to ensure that DBS BetterWorld will be carbon neutral.

Photo by Nicolas Lannuzel


ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 11


THOUGHT LEADERSHIP ARTICLE

The changing face of intraday liquidity management

Today, global financial regulators prioritise the active management and monitoring of intraday liquidity systems and processes.

Authority’s Capital Requirements Directive IV. From a regulatory standpoint, the focus has shifted from monitoring and reporting financial institutions’ liquidity usage, to the clear demonstration of actual management of their liquidity at regular intervals (in effect real time) — rather than just at the start or end of the day — demonstrates how their intraday liquidity position unfolds throughout the day, and when ‘peak’ daily funding requirements are likely to occur.

Intraday liquidity challenges There are two constant challenges for APAC banks in managing intraday liquidity: the first is falling short of liquidity and the second is having too much, both of which, Nadeem said are a waste. Both can drive up the cost of intraday liquidity. “Currently, factors that drive the cost of intraday liquidity are related to increased interest rates,” said Nadeem. “If you don’t know what your liquidity need is going to be during the day, and you make your funding decisions on that basis, then it’s likely that a late request of liquidity will come from the business leading to borrowing late in the market and potentially higher cost of such borrowing.” “But on the flip side, if you don’t know your liquidity needs, you may end up leaving n 2008, lax lending standards and cheap Nadeem said these frameworks have credit fuelled a housing bubble that when served the industry well, given its dynamic more money, more liquidity in the account. There’s a cost associated with leaving extra eventually burst left banks holding trillions nature. The BCBS 248 involves a review liquidity at the Central Bank, nostro agents of dollars of worthless investments in and strengthening of processes, data subprime mortgages. availability, data quality, and calibrating of as well. Instead of getting interest income, you ended up paying the cost of leaving This was the crisis that rocked internal models. It also requires banks to unplanned liquidity,” Nadeem added. the banking and financial industry, review counterparty behaviour through Nadeem’s comment is drawn from reverberating throughout the world current state assessments and stress tests. his role at SmartStream, overseeing the resulting in some major financial institutions These reviews aim to enable banks offerings related to cash and liquidity being unable to both pay depositors and to efficiently perform informed liquidity management, ensuring that these tools provide sufficient liquidity to cover their management operations and navigate provide clients with the confidence, requirements for the day. market uncertainties amid high-volatility compliance, and control of short-term Analysts would tell you dozens of situations and changing fiscal and liquidity with automated real-time visibility, things about what caused this crisis, but monetary conditions. monitoring and management, including the bottom line is it was caused by a BCBS 248 reporting. lack of data and non-existent regulatory Continuously evolving SmartStream, whose solutions span frameworks for stress testing risks. Mainly, A 2008 paper was followed by the Basel the financial transaction lifecycle, has a most financial institutions were uninformed. Committee’s Monitoring Tools for Intraday 40-year track record of serving the world’s Liquidity Management in 2013, which top banks, capital markets, and buyRegulatory adoption equipped national banks with tools to side corporations. Its cash and liquidity Not wanting a repeat of that disaster, monitor banks’ management of intraday European and Asia Pacific countries liquidity risk and to evaluate their exposure to management solution assists financial institutions to consolidate siloed have adopted and implemented Basel future liquidity crises. infrastructures to create a single, global Committee on Banking Supervision The process continues to evolve. Today, view of balances across all currencies and (BCBS) 248 in their regulatory framework. global financial regulators are prioritising accounts. Nadeem Shamim, Global Head of the active management and monitoring of “At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cash and Liquidity at SmartStream, intraday liquidity systems and processes. there was so much liquidity sitting around, explained that the BCBS 248 is a set of In its guide to the internal liquidity there wasn’t enough focus. Now, with guidelines that would enable banks to adequacy assessment process, issued in higher interest rates and quantitative effectively monitor and manage their November 2018, the European Central intraday liquidity and related risks in a Bank reiterates the requirements laid out tightening, banks want to know which department and which underlying timely manner. in Article 86(1) of the European Banking

I

12 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022


THOUGHT LEADERSHIP ARTICLE customers are the users of liquidity so that potentially banks, the Treasury or the ALM (Asset Liability Management) department can start charging funds transfer pricing within the organisation. So, there’s a revenue driver as well.” Meanwhile, real-life challenges also hound intraday liquidity management that affects funding decisions. These include varying interpretations of regulatory and compliance principles across different jurisdictions, legacy systems, and fragmented operations due to siloed technologies across trading, trade finance, core banking, and other internal systems. Data and organisation are other challenges as some financial institutions still perform time-consuming and labourintensive manual data collection. “This process requires employees to collate the information, cleanse the information, prepare daily reports for the business and period reports for the regulator,” Nadeem explained. “If a bank operates in two jurisdictions, you have two regulators to comply with. If you’re global, you have your home regulator and then all the other operating regulators to satisfy and that needs additional effort and resources.” “These manual processes cannot inherently give you real-time information. It means that there’s a lot of handover of data from one part to the other, extracting data from one system, validating it, handing it to somebody else, keying it into a second or third system, validating it. This leads to a lot of reconciliation of data from between different parts of an organisation,” Nadeem stressed.

position” Nadeem said. AI-driven solutions are the next stage in predicting liquidity. As cloud computing evolves and becomes more affordable, financial institutions will be able to consolidate historically siloed data, and leverage AI or machine learning technologies. One benefit to this is having the power to adopt forecasting or predictive modelling. “Asian banks are data rich, but information poor. Having a tool that gives them the ability to gather that information into one place and provide analytics to find the liquidity is critical,” Nadeem continued. “When the above regulatory requirements are embedded in banks’ operations, having those automated systems doing the regulatory work is easy. Having an integrated liquidity solution that has the ability to distil that data into information, provide analytics on liquidity usage and deliver automated regulatory reporting is key.” “That then becomes the BAU (business as usual) process. Solutions like ours provide real-time cash management, real-time intraday liquidity management, regulatory reporting, stress testing, all in real-time and on-demand,” Nadeem said.

and consider how this affects their daily maximum intraday liquidity usage, available intraday liquidity at the day’s start, total payments and time-bound payments • Counterparty stress, when a major counterparty is unable to make payments • Customer bank’s stress, when a customer is unable to make payments, the correspondent bank must consider its impact and extend intraday credit lines • Market-wide credit or liquidity stress could limit a bank’s ability to raise intraday liquidity from a central bank or correspondent banks. These automated stress testing solutions not only simplify operations but also keep banks in good standing with their regulator by providing a more comprehensive way to comply with regulatory reporting.

What banks can do now As the problem of most Asian banks is being too data rich but information poor, the cost of analysing data is considerable. What they can do is to let cloud computing consolidate data usually siloed in various systems and locations at a lower cost. Stress testing This also means banks can leverage In this ever-changing and hard-to-forecast new tech such as AI and machine economic and regulatory landscape, APAC learning, moving from historical databanks need to balance cautious liquidity and based modelling to forecasting/predictive intraday liquidity, amongst others. modelling. One such valuable application of “The whole purpose of regulatory such technology is that it lets banks assess if reporting is to help manage the business and when unsettled transactions will settle, in a more efficient and risk-mitigated, not especially once the market liquidity starts risk-free, manner,” Nadeem said. To do reducing. this, banks must test their positions against This will act as an early warning various scenarios. Bridging the gap with technology mechanism for banks to make decisions Where stress tests were previously As the global financial landscape changes, on when to draw on their intraday credit conducted periodically, regulators have called lines with the central bank or with their institutions have the opportunity to transition to automated, responsive for shorter periods between the tests. “Some correspondent bank, but also on releasing liquidity management systems to meet the Asian banks operating on a global basis run further payments to that particular demand for real-time and faster payments. this on almost a daily basis because they counterparty. understood the value of it.” Instant payments and Distributed Ledger A regular risk Automated, dynamic stress-testing tools Eliminating the risks that come with Technology (DLT) are becoming increasingly will enhance the banks’ risk identification, intraday liquidity is impossible, as with any pervasive, whilst SWIFT GPI now allows prevention and management capabilities, cross-border transfers within minutes. risk. According to Nadeem, these risks will with tangible metrics. SmartStream’s own continue to challenge Asia Pacific banks. Central banks are moving toward 24/7 intraday liquidity stress testing modules operations whilst securities markets are “What banks can do, however, is to reducing settlement cycles. enable institutions to run comprehensive be able to monitor and manage that risk “Specific to intraday liquidity, automated scenarios in minutes based on four stress on a regular basis and update the risk tests: systems provide proactive management management framework,” Nadeem said. • Own financial stress, when a bank has by systematically generating alerts. The SmartStream’s On Demand / SaaS tools will tell you your current point in time to fund more payments than they have solution is a good way for banks to explore a proactive, effective technology that can Asian banks are data rich, but information poor. Having a tool address the challenges of intraday liquidity management, whilst taking advantage that gives them the ability to gather that information into one of reduced cost of ownership and cost of implementation. With this, a bank can now place and provide analytics to find the liquidity is critical be both data and information-rich. ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 13


INTERVIEW

How to stay ahead of SMEs’ financial needs

ANEXT Bank’s CEO talks about why digital banks are the key to this challenge.

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oh Su Mei recalls a time during the early days of her career when a former colleague made a data entry mistake in the bank record of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME). “That seemingly small mistake ended up affecting the SME’s request and access to a credit line to fund his business operations. That was when I realised banking was more than just a job for me,” Toh, CEO of ANEXT Bank, told Asian Banking & Finance. Prior to that, banking just seemed the natural course of action given Toh’s education background, saying that she “stumbled” into the industry after graduating with a major in Economics. But moments such as this cemented to Toh how critical their role is to small and medium enterprises. “I’ve not looked back since my first experience where I witnessed first-hand how the right financing solution and quality of banking services could make or break a business. And for small and medium enterprises, this was even more apparent,” she said. It became more than just banking to Toh. “It was an opportunity for me to make an actual difference – it’s not about financing a business, but a person’s livelihood and aspirations. Constantly and actively listening to customers is key, and I enjoy the deep relationships built with my customers in this process. If I somehow had to choose my first job again, I’d pick banking and do it all over again!” the CEO explained. Decades later, Toh is now Chief Executive Officer of ANEXT Bank, one of the newest digital-only banks granted a license to operate by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), with over two decades of serving SMEs both in Singapore and across the region. Prior to her new role, Toh was regional head, SME loan product management & alternative lending for DBS Bank. It was a role that prepared Toh to lead one of the country’s most anticipated virtual banks, and she has incidences like the one she shared earlier in mind as she and her team took advantage of their structure as a digital-only bank to find ways to better service SMEs. “[A] key differentiating factor for digital banking is the ability to ensure a consistent service and operating model at scale versus say a RM-led [relationship manager] approach where incidents like what I shared earlier, will be far and few,” the ANEXT Bank CEO shared. You made the jump from being a head in a traditional bank to becoming the chief executive of a digital-only bank. So far what has been the difference? Tell us about your leadership style. What kind of work culture do you cultivate as the CEO of ANEXT Bank? Traditional bank or digital bank, I believe that for it to be successful, its people have to be passionate and obsessed with the desire to understand and serve customers. That’s

14 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

It became more than just banking – it was an opportunity to make an actual difference (Photo: Toh Su Mei, CEO, ANEXT Bank)

why for us, having the right people and culture is the most fundamentally important part of setting up the business. I strongly believe that with the right people, you can achieve anything as one team. Our local team is formed by people that are passionate, driven and leaders of their own fields. Over 90% of our staff at ANEXT Bank are local hires, [and] they bring with them a range of industry experiences from banking, fintech to technology. The average working experience of the team is more than 15 years. I’m also an advocate of an open and transparent company culture, people are encouraged to speak of their minds freely, take ownerships and collaborate.

There is no lack of trying by the banking sector. The challenge is the rapidly changing needs of SMEs

Why does the banking sector still find it hard to meet the financial needs of SMEs in Asia? There is no lack of trying by the banking sector for sure. The challenge is that the needs of SMEs today are changing rapidly - the markets they operate in, the business models they adopt and the financial needs they have are much more diverse each day. As a digital bank, we are looking to tackle these diverse needs by providing financial services at scale – for example, providing more accessible and effortless financial services to SMEs of all sizes, and not just to the bigger boys. As business models evolve towards a hybrid and digital-


INTERVIEW agencies. By leveraging on each partner’s unique position, knowledge and subject matter experts, we are able to tackle industry pain points at scale. What are your goals as leader of ANEXT Bank? Both business goals and people goals are important to me. On the business side, our goal is to truly deliver on our promise, that is to bring about what’s next in financial services and provide micro and small businesses digital financial services that are innovative, accessible and effortless to enable them to succeed in business. On the people side, I’d like to build the right culture to allow everyone to excel and shine in their job roles.

Toh Su Mei during the digital-only bank’s soft launch (Photo from ANEXT Bank)

first model, so should financial services. According to a Deloitte research, small businesses account for more than 85% of cross-border e-commerce market in the Asia Pacific region. And that’s just one segment of the “unserved and underserved” SME community that ANEXT Bank is looking to serve. Essentially, SMEs who have pivoted their business models to a hybrid and digital-first one, and for whom we’re anticipating and serving their financing needs through embedded financing – basically enabling access from where they’re doing their businesses digitally. I also believe that there is room for the traditional banks to collaborate with fintechs and digital banks. Together, the industry can complement each other and truly provide diverse services to SMEs across their growth journey. As head of SME banking in past banks, what have you and your team(s) done to solve the financing gaps of SMEs– and how do you plan to bring these solutions and services to the next level as the leader of ANEXT Bank? First of all, we truly live our mission of “providing innovative, accessible and effortless banking services” in our product design. We want to make banking an easy and rewarding experience for SMEs, because we know business owners have no time to “operate bank accounts” and spend time to figure out cross-border FX, interest rates, amongst others. It was with this mindset that we launched the ANEXT Business Account – a no frills business account that did not require fees to start nor maintain so as to help defray operating costs. We enabled remote onboarding which meant an SME abroad did not literally have to go all the way to open an account, and we’re seeing a lot of foreign business owners take advantage of this feature, which in turn motivated the team to dive deeper into the needs of the different SME personas so as to push out even more relevant features. Our next priority is to innovate together with partners. Adopting an open and collaborative approach, we believe in joining hands with industry partners and public sector

There is room for the traditional banks to collaborate with fintechs and digital banks

What three things have you learned from your experiences that shaped you as a banker? First, know your customers. This is fundamental and the first step to getting things right. Stay focused on the long term: It’s easier to go from 0 to 1, than to go from 1 to infinity. Although I’ve said that launching ANEXT Bank is the most memorable moment so far on this journey, I know it’s just the start. The focus now is on building a scalable, sustainable and customer-centred business model for the bank. Remember that there are humans behind the technology: A passionate team who truly cares about the customers defines the quality of products and services, and defines who we are as a bank. What are the biggest challenges in building a neobank from the ground up, and how did you and ANEXT Bank overcome these challenges so far? The biggest challenge was really in attracting and building a team of like-minded people that’s driven and passionate in enabling effortless access to financial services for SMEs. To reimagine business banking and how it should be, we needed to have diverse talent that could look at things from a different perspective to solve the needs of our customers, and we were fortunate that many believed in our mission and values to join us in our journey to being Singapore’s newest digital wholesale bank. We believe that in pushing boundaries to bring about what’s next in financial services as a team, it will also help support the local talent development as we work with all participants in the financial services industry to raise the bar for the sector. Together, we can cement Singapore’s reputation as a leading fintech and innovation hub.

ANEXT Bank with Sopnendu Mohanty of MAS at the digital-only bank’s soft launch event

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 15


INTERVIEW

Nowhere to go but the top for UNO Digital Bank CEO Manish Bhai said they want to be first for their Filipino customers’ financial needs.

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or the newest digital-only lender in the Philippines, UNO Digital Bank, there’s no other place they want to be but at the top of the country’s banking and finance industry. “We want to be number one when it comes to impact on financial inclusion, number one in terms of lending balance sheet, number one in terms of innovation, number one in simplicity and customer experience,” Manish Bhai, CEO of UNO Digital Bank, told Asian Banking & Finance in an exclusive interview. This goal is reflected in the bank’s own name, Uno. “Uno means first, or the leader of the pack. Everything that we execute, everything that we stand for—we want this spirit of UNO to be the overarching guiding light,” Bhai said. The first step to this goal starts in the Philippines, where UNO Digital Bank successfully secured one of the five digital-only bank licences offered by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). As for how they plan to stand out? The company is about credit. “Whilst there are five other digital banks licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), what sets us apart from them is our thrust towards credit. Our focus will be around lending even though we are a full spectrum bank,” Bhai said, adding that they plan to help build a more financiallyinclusive banking landscape in the Philippines. Financial inclusion remains modest in the Philippines, with only 53% of adults having a deposit account, according to BSP’s financial inclusion survey. And of the Filipinos who currently have outstanding loans, around half went to borrow money from informal settlers and even family and friends--showcasing how many adults in the country remained underserved by formal creditors. “Our primary target market is the mass and mass affluent segments across the Philippines, which include both the unbanked and the underbanked. We are creating a bank online for people that may have only experienced technology with their mobile phones,” Bhai said. Why launch a digital bank in the Philippines? We saw a great opportunity for digital banking in the Philippines as the country has a very high internet and smartphone penetration. According to Statista, the Philippines currently have around 84.67 million smartphone users in 2022, and is forecasted to grow to as much as 91.48 million in 2026. However, whilst there is a high mobile penetration, access to financial services—even a basic savings bank account—is still low. As of the first quarter of 2021, only 53% of Filipino adults had a basic deposit account. Meaning, there is still a lot of work to be done if we aim to contribute to BSP’s goal to have 70% of the adult Filipino population have a formal financial account by 2023. 16 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

Whilst there is a high mobile penetration in the Philippines, access to financial services is still low (Photo: Manish Bhai, CEO, UNO Digital Bank)

UNO Digital Bank aims to help close the financial access and financial inclusion gap by leveraging the country’s high smartphone penetration rate. UNO Digital Bank will enable any Filipino with a smartphone to open a bank account and have access to all the financial products and services we offer, using one app and one card to transact and meet all their life’s financial needs. As we see a pivot of consumers to online platforms for tech-driven services for basic and non-basic financial needs due to the pandemic, we forecast a continued uptake of digital payments, giving us a stronger business case to launch in the market as Filipinos continue to embrace digital transformation.

Our primary target market is the mass and mass affluent segments across the Philippines

What makes UNO Digital Bank stand out? UNO Digital Bank is fully digital. We have no physical branches and our entire infrastructure is built on the cloud. We provide one trusted digital interface that allows users to save, grow, borrow, transact, protect, and invest to meet all their life’s financial needs. We are a credit-led full-spectrum digital bank, which means that we have a very high credit and credit inclusion focus. Personalisation will also be at the forefront of UNO’s technology. Using AI and data analytics, we will be able to offer our customers customised products and offers to provide them services that are relevant to them at every significant life stage they are in.


INTERVIEW We see educating the unbanked as a key challenge

Although we will use sophisticated algorithms and dynamic decision making, we will, along with automated messages and calls, have a contact centre and feet on the ground to compliment our digital services. What services do you currently offer? What other services do you plan to launch in the future? UNO Digital Bank offers one mobile app and one card that enables anyone, anywhere in the Philippines to save, borrow, transact, invest, and protect their finances with convenience, speed, and ease. We have launched a savings account that comes with a Mastercard virtual and physical Debit card. We also have two versions of time deposits. This will be followed closely by our loans and insurance products. Next year we will add investment and crypto products as well.

UNO’s key target market is the unbanked and the underbanked

In a media roundtable, you said that the bank will make use of alternative credit data in processing loan applications. Could you walk our readers through the process of how this will work? Our credit decision approach is based on the established and tested traditional principles of credit risk management but delivered instantaneously through the help of technology. In addition, we will also be using the available alternate data to augment our credit decisioning. Today, there are various forms of alternate data available from bespoke telco scores, mobile usage behaviour metadata, social media and typically these are delivered in terms of a score which is developed using models. Typically, a high score signifies higher credibility. Different lending organisations then do their own modelling and adoption of these scores based on their risk objectives and appetite. UNO plans to also build its own proprietary risk models which could be combination of traditional and alternative data sources. What challenges do digital banks face when entering the Philippine banking and finance market? Our key target market is the unbanked and the underbanked - with focus on the mass and mass affluent segments. Few reasons why people remain unbanked is that they lack enough money, or lack documentary requirements, or they simply don’t see value in opening a bank account. Hence, we see educating the unbanked as a key challenge. To address this, we plan to have an extensive information and education campaign that will effectively make use of social media and other digital platforms. We will utilise formats that are user friendly, engaging and easy to understand such as short videos to help people understand the importance and benefits of digital banking. Secondly, establishing trust with a purely ‘digital bank’ is something that people need to get comfortable with. People who have never used a digital service before need hand holding. People still want to work with people, and not a nameless, ubiquitous interface. There’s still a need for a bank to have a human touch. For example, people get stuck in an onboarding journey, they get nervous when they do not see “a person” to speak to. Hence, when it comes to engagement and servicing, we will still need to offer human touch.

What is your outlook for digital banks in the Philippines? We see great potential for digital banks to thrive in the Philippine market in the coming years based on the significant shift during the pandemic. We forecast continued uptake of digital payments, making this an ideal time for us to launch and anticipate that our products and services will be well-received by the Filipino consumers. However, we also acknowledge that we need to have a differentiated approach when it comes to our strategy. There are hundreds of neobanks globally, but very few are successful—the ones that succeeded are those that got their lending strategy right from the start. We at UNO Digital Bank are taking a similar approach. Our differentiated strategy is how we define ourselves as a credit led, full spectrum digital bank. When we say “credit led,” this means that our focus is around lending even though we are a full spectrum bank. UNO Digital Bank wants to help build a more financially-inclusive banking landscape in the Philippines where access to formal credit remains limited. Where do you see UNO Digital Bank in the next three or five years? What are the bank’s goals? Our two-to-five-year plan is to be in three or four key markets in Asia. However, the first two years will be focused on growing and stabilising our platform and financial offerings in the Philippines.

UNO offers one mobile app and one card. Next year the digital bank will add investment and crypto products to their offerings

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 17


VENDOR VIEW: DATA

Data is the bane and boon of addressing sustainable investment gap

Wielding this tool the right way is key to pushing and meeting ESG goals, says Experian’s Sisca Margaretta.

The lack of standardised, defined benchmarks means much of the ESG data companies are providing right now is not useful enough to support investment decisions

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hilst data holds the power to make more informed ESG-related decisions, there is a gap between what companies need versus what data they currently have. “A few years ago, we didn’t have enough data available to support ESG investing. Whilst there is much more data now, it’s fragmented across different sources, including company reports, news articles, data vendors, and rating agencies,” Sisca Margaretta, Chief Marketing Officer, EMEA & APAC at Experian, explained to Asian Banking & Finance in an interview. In a separate study, professional services firm EY also found that 46% of asset managers and 25% of banks find the lack of real-time data on ESG to be limiting. The lack of standardised, defined benchmarks means much of the ESG data companies are providing

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We have ample information to drive fund allocation towards sustainable causes if we interpret it efficiently

right now is not useful enough to support investment decisions, the Experian expert added. “Beyond problems like inadequate disclosure and data availability, a lot of companies today also adopt practices like ‘greenwashing’ – which refers to using marketing tactics to over-amplify their ESG efforts – to gain favour from stakeholders,” Margaretta warned. In a survey of 6,000 bank customers globally, cloud platform provider Mambu found that over 67% of respondents believe that their banks are guilty of greenwashing: that is, they believe that their banks are overstating their sustainablerelated efforts. In financial hub Singapore, that’s 68% of respondents. This is where a system of checks and balances becomes essential to make sure that any and all ESG data is accurate, honest, and reliable, according to Margaretta.

Sharing the right information is also key to ensuring that consumers are aware of banks’ ESG. Raising investments Beyond beating away reputational risks and meeting the increasing sustainability mandates of both regulatory bodies and the public, the right use of data can also encourage and push up investment activities in the ESG space. “When reliable and adequate data is made available, investments tend to rise. Given that over 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last five years, we have ample information to drive fund allocation towards sustainable causes – provided we choose and interpret it efficiently,” Margaretta said. Margaretta noted the growing awareness around ESG investing over the last few years, which in turn made it a central concern for


VENDOR VIEW: DATA Hong Kong steering group launches sustainable finance internship programme

A chief player to this push is the younger generation of investors, who are “passionate about addressing systemic concerns”

the financial sector. A chief player to this push are the younger generation of investors, who were noted to be “passionate about addressing systemic concerns like climate change and social inequalities.” “As this cohort moves up the corporate ladder, they have more assets at their disposal to address these issues through responsible investment,” she added. Another factor is increased global awareness for action towards environmental preservation, culminating with the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) held late 2021, which further brought this issue to the forefront for both governments and private players. These factors are collectively enabling massive growth in both the volume and diversity of ESG investing, and it is now estimated that ESG assets will account for a third of the projected total assets under management globally,

surpassing $41 trillion by the end of 2022 and $50 trillion by 2025, according to Margaretta. All these makes data all the more a necessary feature of winning in and thriving at the sustainable finance space. “Technology will play a key role in shaping the future of sustainable finance,” Margaretta said, adding that tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can address challenges, “by developing models to make sense of varied data sources.” “They can also go a step further by integrating different datasets into a comprehensive view – eliminating the bulk of noise, whilst retaining the information that truly matters,” the Experian expert added. “Analysing and processing ESG data is a relatively new and evolving concept. The industry needs to remain agile in order to continue adapting to developments in the landscape,” Margaretta concluded.

Whilst there is much more data now, it’s fragmented across different sources (Photo: Sisca Margaretta, Chief Marketing Officer, Experian)

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he Green and Sustainable Finance CrossAgency Steering Group has launched the Sustainable Finance Internship Initiative, which aims to create more internship opportunities in Hong Kong for students, as part of a collaborative effort to build capability for the industry. The initiative offers students an opportunity to gain practical hands-on experience in sustainable finance, to deepen their understanding of this sector and related career prospects in hopes of inspiring them to specialise in this field. To facilitate access to sustainable finance internships, postings will be centralised at the internship repository of the Centre for Green and Sustainable Finance. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission, the Insurance Authority and the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority are encouraging their respective constituents to join the Initiative. Steering Group agencies will also soon commence hiring interns to support their own policy and market development work in sustainable finance. Established in May 2020, the Steering Group is cochaired by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Securities and Futures Commission. Members include the Environment and Ecology Bureau, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, the Insurance Authority and the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority. ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 19


FINANCIAL INSIGHT: ESG AND HR

How financial institutions can overcome the booming demand for ESG roles

Data from portal Indeed showed that ESG job offers in Hong Kong soared 442% in 2022.

recruitment agencies given its cost. “I review job boards on a regular basis, whether that be what’s being posted on LinkedIn, Jobs DBE, Financial Careers. It’s interesting to see the repetition in which organisations are posting the role, which leads you to believe they’re not filling them; hence, the role continues to be recycled until they find the right talent,” the HR expert said. Currently, most ESG jobs offered in Hong Kong are coming from accounting and consultancy firms, as well as financial services firms. This was echoed by Wisely Wong, Business Director at Hays, adding that accounting firms like the Big 4—EY, KPMG, Deloitte, and KPMG—are expanding ESG hiring actively in Hong Kong “in response to the increased requirements from corporates and institutions who are facing tougher reporting rules.” In April 2022, Deloitte even announced that it will “offer a robust curriculum of sustainability training courses to all 345,000 professionals along with its clients and suppliers.”

Companies struggle to fill their ESG roles because some refuse to seek help from recruitment agencies

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ong Kong’s finance sector has never been truly invested in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) piece, according to HR expert Steve Parkes. “Strong ESG people” across the globe, who could have been considered to fill the roles are already less interested in Hong Kong for reasons like politics and the city’s pandemic response. “There’s not enough talent. I don’t think the market was prepared for the quantity of people that was going to be required,” said Parkes, Senior Partner at Page Executive Hong Kong. According to portal Indeed, ESG job offers in Hong Kong soared by 442% from April 2021 to April 2022. To strengthen Hong Kong’s weak pipeline of ESG talent, Parkes suggested that companies do not necessarily need to hire employees specifically with ESG-focused. Instead, they can look for individuals who are familiar with looking into the risk profile of a business. Parkes said companies can also take current talent and upskill them. They should start asking whether they have employees who can take on the ESG responsibility. “ESG has certain components, be it risk or compliance related. Oftentimes, people in these capacities are then shifting into an ESG role from an internal perspective,” said Parkes. The harder way for Hong Kong to address the issue of the widening gap between demand and supply of ESG talent is to “home grow,” which will be up to the universities, said Parkes. Unable to fill roles Apart from lack of talent, companies struggle to fill their ESG roles because some refuse to seek help from 20 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

The market was not prepared for the quantity of people that was going to be required

Steve Parkes

Wisely Wong

More than a compliance Compliance regulation being the main driver for most companies when making ESG decisions, as stated by a PwC study, is worrying and concerning, according to the Page Executive expert. “There’s a term being used called greenwashing, meaning organisations are painting a very pretty picture of either what they have internally, or what they’re doing, from a financial perspective,” Parkes said. “Right now, we’re starting to see progress in organisations, but what’s the longevity of this? What’s the sustainability of this? What is the true rationale for it? Are we truly trying to make our world a better place? Or are we just doing it to fill up a certain corporate void?” he added. Wong, for his part, added that the benefits of assigning ESG specific roles goes beyond compliance of regulatory requirements. According to Wong, creation of ESG roles will also leave a positive impact on the labour market. “More roles will be created with more opportunities to come. For example, the front office would require more coverage bankers with relevant sustainability knowledge to step up the game in order to further educate ESG knowledge to their customers,” Wong said. “There will also be an increase in issuance of Green Bonds, leading to an increased demand for investment bankers with sustainable finance experiences. Research analyst and data analyst will also be sought after as climate change and other sustainability factors will require data and studies to value investment projects. Risk experts would also be needed to further verify and value these investment projects,” he added.


FINTECH WATCH

Helicap plays matchmaker for underfinanced SMEs

Its technology evaluates the funding needs of SMEs in Southeast Asia and positions them as attractive investments.

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ost investors, like family offices and high-net-worth individuals who are new to the private debt industry, have one big problem: how to find legitimate and attractive portfolios to invest in without having to do rigorous and time-consuming research. On the other hand, small businesses struggle to obtain financing. This is where Singapore-based fintech startup Helicap comes in, trying to fill these gaps. Founded in 2018, Helicap developed its MAS-licensed institutional-grade credit analytics technology that churns and analyses Southeast Asia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs’) loan data points and extracts meaningful credit rating insights. Helicap’s subsidiary companies, through a risk-management framework, curate them as investment opportunities and then position the SMEs as attractive investments to help investors in turn. The company’s name comes from the words “helicopter capital” which reflects the company’s vantage point as it observes attractive firms in the region, David Z Wang, CEO and cofounder of Helicap explained to Asian Banking & Finance. “For investors, we do the heavy work of analysing the companies that we think are worth investing in. This risk management is done on our part, leveraging our analytics technology to do the large-scale analysis and to give us speed. For issuers, we ensure that we understand their businesses, in order to provide them with access to funding to further grow their business,” David said. Lack of financing has always been the number one problem of SMEs. A survey by Bain and Company in 2019 said that 80% of SMEs need to borrow money but lack access to credit. Funding and plans The data that Helicap’s technology comes from origination platforms such as Funding Societies. It gets its

data from the loan books of lending companies to understand the performances of SMEs. “We started with a vision to use fintech-powered risk management to provide vital liquidity to the region’s top growth companies, thus enabling financial access for millions of underbanked consumers and small and medium enterprises,” David explained. of US$15m which ErudiFi will use to help the students across the Philippines and Indonesia by offering them affordable tuition instalment plans. Helicap recently raised $6.94m in a strategic funding round. The round was led by Temasek-backed international alternative asset management group Tikehau Capital, and integrated Asian financial house PhillipCapital. After the funding round, Tikehau Capital’s Global Co-chief Investment Officer Jean Baptiste Feat and Phillip Private Equity Executive Director Grace Tang joined Helicap’s advisory team. David said they plan to use the fresh funds to expand their suite of data-driven products and services like Helicap’s

We started with a vision to use fintechpowered risk management to provide vital liquidity to the region’s top growth companies

David Z Wang

Institutional Analytics Software and its Credit Analytics software and continue to democratise access to private investments through a datadriven fintech investment platform that prioritises risk management. Since its founding, Helicap has completed 300 deals worth $205.45m (US$150m) in volume by working closely with leading alternative lending platforms and presenting investors with positive returns throughout. One such deal Helicap helped is the fundraising of tech-based education financing solutions startup ErudiFi. Through Helicap, ErudiFi managed to secure a debt facility. “Most platforms of today focus on providing multiple products and letting their customers select these products either through their risk appetite or through an AI recommendation. Our platform provides registered users (who need to be Accredited Investors) curated access to deals where the risk management has been done by our proprietary risk management tech stack. Accredited Investors would have a certain level of sophistication themselves in understanding private market investments, and deal structuring to make their own decisions,” David added. With Helicap’s technology, investors won’t need to spend too much of their time trying to research the perfect investment. Technology does it for them.

With Helicap’s technology, investors won’t need to spend too much of their time trying to research the perfect investment

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FINTECH ANALYSIS

Fintech funding slows as COVID’s digital hype fades

Valuations of technology stocks, both public and private, are down 60%.

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intech funding hit a record number of volumes in 2021, with 5,684 fintech deals for a whopping US$210b in total investments garnered during the year–the second highest annual total ever, according to data from KPMG. Yet come a year later and the global fintech investment market is in a downward trend. Global fintech funding fell 33% quarter-overquarter to hit $20.4b — its lowest level since Q4 2020, CB Insights revealed in a report. The APAC region was not spared, where apart from a few certain markets, the fintech sector saw investments funneled towards them shrink in the first half of 2022. This is not just a fintech problem, analysts told Asian Banking & Finance. The volatile stock and investment market situation has pushed investors to take flight to the sidelines and keep their monies close at the moment. Fintechs were not spared from the cautiousness. “There’s been a consistent

declining trend in 2022 across IPOs, SPACs and M&A transactions, not only fintech funding. Investors bearing losses from stock market valuations will become more selective in making new investments,” Tzu-Chung Liang, Southeast Asia Financial Services Strategy and Transaction Leader at EY, told Asian Banking & Finance in an interview. In particular, the rising interest rates and renewed fears of a recession encouraged investors to focus first on business fundamentals and exercise more caution on where they sink their funds into, explained Anton Ruddenklau, Partner and Global Head of Fintech, KPMG International. “Rising interest rates to combat inflation has added to the cost of capital and therefore the required return on that capital. This has sharpened investor resolve to target fintech firms that are more structurally profitable, are at a later stage in the funding journey or that have demonstrated

The volatile stock and investment market situation has pushed investors to take flight to the sidelines

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There’s been a consistent declining trend in 2022 across IPOs, SPACs and M&A transactions, not only fintech funding

operational profitability post scaling,” Ruddenklau noted. Ruddenklau noted that the digital hype that rose during the COVID years have faded, which is also currently driving down valuations of technology stocks by up to 60% lower. “Again, this has resulted in investors looking for differentiated technology business models, investing in the next generation of sectoral change or focusing on firms with a clear path to profitability. Unicorn minting has stilted as investors take a more sanguine rather than speculative view of the business fundamentals of fintech firms,” Ruddenklau explained. Going up The good news is that the dismal state of funding will likely not last, according to analysts. “Interest in fintechs in the APAC region remains strong, especially those targeting growth markets such as China and Southeast Asia,” Liang said. Ruddenklau also forecast that funding will grow as financial technology innovation ramps up over the next 7 years. “Based on the addressable market, we nonetheless forecast financial technology innovation growth to


FINTECH ANALYSIS

Tzu-Chung Liang

record-high investment value in the first half of the year. According to a report by information services provider Fintech Global, investment value in Indonesia in January to June 2022 has already surpassed the previous year, with US$1.8b reported across 51 deals in 2022. In comparison, US$1.6b investments were received by Indonesian fintechs for the full year of 2021. For the full year, Indonesia’s fintech investments is expected to reach US$3.6b, whilst deal activity in the country is expected to increase slightly by 5% reaching 102 deals in 2022.

COVID capped off the last 10 years of digitisation of financial services with a significant focus on connectivity

Consolidation in the cards But even operating in a market as stable as Singapore, some fintechs just are not meant to last, analysts told Asian Banking & Finance. “There are over 1000 fintech firms based in Singapore, representing over two thirds of the ASEAN fintech market. Many are too subscale to be commercially viable in the short or medium term,” Ruddenklau said. “Equally, investors are focusing less on funding start-up phase businesses and more on supporting their later stage investments. Between the start up funding squeeze and loss-making scale up firms, acquisitions will be highly attractive,” he added. KPMG International now anticipates consolidation to be concentrated in the last wave of fintechs – those focused on bankfintech relationships. “Some fintechs will invariably be left to fail – particularly zombie crypto firms – and others will be acquired by legacy institutions to support their innovation agendas,” Ruddenklau noted. Liang echoed this sentiment, adding that current financial services players will be the ones to snap up fintechs with offerings that compliment their current digital services. “Incumbent financial services players and ecosystem players may have the opportunity to start acquiring fintechs for new technology to complement existing products and improve user experience, whilst valuations are more amicable now,” Liang said.

Anton Ruddenklau

Investors are focusing less on funding start-up phase businesses and more on supporting their later stage investments

increase over the next 7 years, with the market tripling in size by 2030 – circa $600b annualised funding,” Ruddenklau said. In particular, Ruddenklau identified three waves of innovation that will sweep through the financial services sector: embedded finance, AI-enabled advice and complex brokerage, and the transformation of risk taking and balance sheetbased manufacturing. On the other hand, investors will likely become more selective with higher interest rates unlikely to abate in the near future, Liang said. Connectivity Connectivity will be a central theme in the future of banking and finance, bringing investment potential that investors will surely not be able to resist long-term. In fact, although funding has dipped in 2022 compared to the past year, there are fintech sectors–and markets– who are being positively impacted by the recent market correction, as well as their position as “the next wave of digitisation,” now that COVID has marked the “closure” of the first round of digitisation. “It would be fair to say that COVID capped off the last ten years of digitisation of financial services with a significant focus on connectivity – this included digital payments, mobile channels, open data and the first wave of blockchain,” Ruddenklau said. “This year, we have seen several fintech sectors positively impacted by the recent market correction. These sectors are very much aligned to the

next wave of digitisation and include Climate & Carbon, Physical Supply Chain, Agribusiness, Regtech, AI, Crypto infrastructure and Crypto Risk software,” he noted. Outliers Whilst most markets are on a downward trend, some countries in APAC actually managed to remain relatively stable: Singapore and Indonesia, analysts said. “Singapore is holding its position well. As the trusted hub for high growth and rapidly digitising Asian markets, the diligence in developing an open, cross-border ecosystem is paying dividends,” Ruddenklau said. Singapore reported “robust” fintech funding results in the first six months of 2022. This is mostly thanks to receiving a boost in its cryptocurrency funding, according to Ruddenklau. “Both fintechs and investors looking to Southeast Asia’s growth opportunities will likely look at Singapore first, being the strategic entry point. Many start-ups that are headquartered in Singapore have key markets in Southeast Asian countries,” he added. In a separate report, KPMG said that Singapore even doubled its global market share by deal value to 6.4% in Q2 from just 3.1% in the whole year of 2021. Its share in the number of deals globally also went up to 5.1% from 3.4%. The country’s deal sizes have likewise grown up to 10% to average US$43.9m in Q2 22 from US$39.8m across FY2021. Neighbouring Indonesia also bucked the global trend to hit a

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 23


INTERVIEW

Bank Mandiri reveals its ‘blue ocean’ strategy

Thanks to this strategy, its net profit grew 61.7% YoY in the first semester of 2022.

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or Bank Mandiri, the traditional ‘red ocean’ strategy, or bloody competition, has become obsolete. It has now fully embraced the ‘blue ocean’ strategy, opening itself to collaborations amongst its fellow industry players, partners or competitors alike. Bank Mandiri found that the disruption of technology, the work culture of millennials, and changes in consumer behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic have made the collaboration theme even more relevant. “The ‘Leveraging Digital Ecosystem’ strategy is one of the implementations of integration and collaboration strategies that are intensively carried out by Bank Mandiri,” said Thomas Wahyudi, SVP of Transaction and Banking Retail Sales at Bank Mandiri to Asian Banking & Finance.

Collaboration efforts Bank Mandiri collaborated with 10 partners across various industries—including culinary, beauty and health, events and attractions, fashion, sports and activities, games and entertainment, and travel—to develop Livin’ Sukha, a feature of Livin’ by Mandiri super apps. Livin’ Sukha allows customers to fulfil the needs of a number of transactions such as purchasing airline tickets, train tickets, entertainment, and game vouchers without having to switch applications. The ten partners are Telkomsel, Traveloka, Garuda Indonesia, KAI, Indosat, XL, Indomaret, Kopi Kenangan, Kopi Janji Jiwa, and XXI. Bank Mandiri actively played a role as the main payment channel in several events in Indonesia, such as ticket sales for concerts of foreign and domestic artists (Westlife Concert and We The Fest Concert, etc.), major sporting events (Mandiri Jogja Marathon, FIBA Asia ​​ Cup Indonesia 2022, etc.), and art events (Army Smile Art Exhibition). Bank Mandiri presents reliable digital banking solutions like branch services in the palm of your hand, as well as the lifestyle needs of customers through the Super App Livin’ by Mandiri. Bank Mandiri is fully aware that they must adapt quickly, providing an excellent customer experience, especially facing the rapid penetration of the IT-based financial industry. “And Livin’ Sukha is one of our responses to the adaptation,” said Thomas. Thomas said that Bank Mandiri’s services are available in a “one-stop solution for all your lifestyle” based on the 3S concept—Santap (Eat), Sehat (Healthy), Santai (Relax). To realise this concept, Bank Mandiri is actively working hand in hand with many partners. 24 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

Bank Mandiri presents reliable digital banking solutions like branch services in the palm of your hand (Photo: Thomas Wahyudi, SVP, Bank Mandiri)

“Because we want Livin’ by Mandiri to be an application that accommodates the entire banking experience at Bank Mandiri, from account onboarding, savings, transfers, loans, to investments that are all done in the palm of your hand,” said Thomas.

Collaboration with clear goals, focus, and shared execution will drive productivity

Beneficial collaboration According to Thomas, collaborating with top players in the banking ecosystem is a step towards creating a mutually beneficial synergy for each party. However, Thomas also emphasised that in establishing collaboration, the vision and goals of synergy are the first things that need to be harmonised. Next is to build and sustain long-term trust through communication and coordination. “Collaboration with clear goals, focus, and shared execution will drive productivity which is a positive response to the challenges. This productivity will become a competitive advantage in a business organisation, including at Bank Mandiri and the effectiveness of collaboration will determine the level of productivity,” said Thomas. Market expansion, quick time to market, targeted campaigns and promo programs, and strong image recognition are some products of collaboration between


INTERVIEW Indonesia’s finance and banking sector second most cyber-attacked industry

Digital transactions at Bank Mandiri on a month-to-month basis in 2022 moved steadily with the growth of around 30% to 50%

Bank Mandiri and its partners. These collaborations are reflected in Bank Mandiri’s net profit in the first semester of 2022 which reached IDR 20.2t, a 61.7% growth year on year (YoY). This achievement was also supported by the company’s good intermediation function, where the credit position on a consolidated basis grew by 12.22% YoY to IDR 1,138.31t in the first half of 2022. Digital transactions at Bank Mandiri in the 2022 period on a month-to-month basis moved steadily with the growth of around 30% to 50%. This is of course inseparable from the collaboration that has been carried out by Bank Mandiri whilst continuing to improve digital transaction services and performance, such as super apps Livin’ by Mandiri, ATM, EDC, Mandiri Internet Bisnis, QRIS, eCommerce, and Mandiri eMoney as Electronic Money. The collaboration between Bank Mandiri and its partners is a mutual benefit. “This means that not only do we benefit consumers with the convenience they receive, merchants also benefit from Bank Mandiri’s large database of at least 13 million customers,” explained Thomas.

Bank Mandiri continues to improve digital transaction services, such as super apps Livin’ by Mandiri, Mandiri Internet Bisnis, and Mandiri eMoney

We want Livin’ by Mandiri to be an application that accommodates the entire banking experience at Bank Mandiri

Financial institutions were attacked triple the average global every week

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ndonesia’s finance and banking sector is the second most attacked industry by cyberattackers in the country, according to a study by cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point Software Technologies. On average, Indonesia’s financial institutions were attacked 2,730 times a week in the first six months of 2022–more than triple of 252% more than the global average of 1,083 attacks a week. Indonesia’s higher attack rates as compared to global statistics mean attackers are more successful in the country, warned Deon Oswari, country manager, Indonesia, Check Point Software Technologies. “In the case of Indonesia, Check Point Research is seeing increased attacks on its mobile banking platforms and applications. It is critical that the banking industry be vigilant and review their best practices,” Oswari said. Notably, the Central Bank of Indonesia was hit by a ransomware attack, with hacker group Conti Ransomware claiming the attack and leaking part of the allegedly stolen files. Globally, the finance and banking sector was the 6th most cyber-attacked industry, the study found. Phishing emails remain amongst the most common delivery mechanisms for ransomware. Check Point Research found that 92% of the malicious files in Indonesia were delivered via email in the last 30 days. “All it takes is one uninformed employee clicking on a link in a malicious email, and it can hold an entire company hostage,” they warned. ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 25


INTERVIEW

CIMB Niaga offers branchless banking with OCTO Mobile The app serves 2.7m users and sees a 130.5% increase in financial transactions annually.

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ith Indonesia’s vast geographical area, information dissemination and banking infrastructure are still focused on big cities. This encourages the banking industry to launch digital banking that can be accessed from anywhere, even on the outskirts. Based on the results of the National Financial Literacy and Inclusion Survey, financial inclusion in terms of accessibility of financial services and products reached 83.60% in Indonesia’s urban areas, whilst only showing 68.49% in rural areas. CIMB Niaga clearly saw this trend of digital banking opportunity in the country and updated its offerings with new and improved features. Asian Banking & Finance spoke to the President Director of CIMB Niaga, Lani Darmawan, to learn about the current trends and challenges faced by banks in Indonesia. She also discussed CIMB Niaga’s strategies in relation to the industry’s banking demands. What are the current trends in the banking industry and how does CIMB Niaga respond to this trend? The current trend is the emergence of a lot of digital banking. But what becomes our note is in terms of its unique selling point. Long before the boom of the trend, since 2017, CIMB Niaga has prepared itself to always focus on developing products and digital access. When the pandemic came, we were ready to serve the needs of customers who are more dependent on digital services. Of course, there are other digital banks appearing, but in terms of features, we are very complete. For example, we have various products for transactions such as payments using QRIS for QR scan with several sources of funds including savings, credit cards, rekening ponsel (mobile accounts), and cardless payments. We also have the most complete investment products such as mutual funds or reksa dana, bonds, rupiah deposits, foreign exchange, insurance, and term savings. We provide loan products such as credit card lists, three months fixed instalments with interest rates of 0%, personal loan to cash withdrawal from credit card limit. The key is only one—we present features that are relevant to the needs of customers in OCTO Mobile. We always update the display so it is easier for customers to use and enhance our security technology so that it provides more security for digital transactions. What problems are people still experiencing in accessing services of their banking system in the midst of current banking digitalisation and how does OCTO Mobile solve these problems? The vast geographical area of ​​Indonesia, so that the dissemination of information as well as infrastructure is still focused on a few big cities. However, with OCTO Mobile, 26 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

OCTO Mobile is one of CIMB Niaga’s strategies to provide a convenient and safe digital banking experience for customers (Photo: Lani Darmawan, President Director, CIMB Niaga)

we have a savings account opening feature, so it is no longer a problem for cities that we have not yet reached by branch offices. Because now customers can open savings accounts and transactions banking from anywhere, as long as the place has an internet signal. Education is also an important thing, specifically how easy and safe it is to transact through digital channels as long as customers follow the instructions from the bank.

OCTO Mobile puts forward advanced technology without forgetting the human aspect

What kind of experience for customers does CIMB Niaga want to build through OCTO Mobile? OCTO Mobile is one of CIMB Niaga’s strategies to provide a convenient and safe digital banking experience for customers. CIMB Niaga’s customers from various segments can fulfill their banking needs more easily and seamlessly via smartphones from anywhere and anytime without having to come to the branch office. OCTO Mobile puts forward advanced technology without forgetting the human aspect. We look at what aspects are relevant to customer needs, when they need it, and what is needed in the future. So that our strategy is more customer centric. One of the approaches taken by OCTO Mobile is to build a strong emotional bond rather than just being transactional. Thus, OCTO Mobile is known as a digital product that transforms daily financial needs. For example, customers


INTERVIEW no longer need to take cash or cards from their wallets for transactions because everything is cashless and cardless. Through OCTO Mobile, we also want to continue to build customer awareness of sustainability. One of the ways is by providing customers with access to paperless e-statements or account mutation records in the form of digital copies. This solution is in line with CIMB Niaga’s commitment to support the implementation of sustainable development goals, including reducing the carbon footprint. What can we find in the OCTO Mobile app? What are the main features that CIMB Niaga wants to highlight in OCTO Mobile and why? OCTO Mobile is a super app, an all-in-one application that can be accessed anywhere, everywhere. Customers can do various banking activities because OCTO Mobile has a lot of features, such as saving money feature, where customers can open their first CIMB Niaga savings account or other CIMB Niaga savings digitally. When the customer already has their account, they can do savings or pay a deposit via OCTO Mobile. Because the process of opening a savings account is fast, customers can immediately enjoy various benefits without having to wait for an ATM/Debit card to be issued to them. Customers also can open their account into 11 foreign currencies. We also provide complete investment features such as: mutual funds, bonds, savings and deposits starting from IDR100 thousand. This is also managed by 11 Investment Managers both local and multinational. In addition, there are various transactions. Customers can perform domestic and international transfers, bill payments, top-up credit and data packet for phone, top-up for e-wallet, electricity bill, as well QR payment with QRIS. Customers can get this from several sources of funds including savings, credit cards, rekening ponsel (mobile accounts), Poin Xtra, and virtual card number. For customers who want to withdraw cash but forget to bring their ATM/Debit card, there is no need to worry because OCTO Mobile has a cardless withdraw cash. With this feature, customers can withdraw cash via mobile phones at all CIMB Niaga ATMs, Cash Deposit Machines, or Indomaret outlets, one of the leading minimarket chains in Indonesia. Through the use of the cardless feature, customers also contribute to reducing the use of plastic cards, in line with CIMB Niaga’s initiatives to support the SDGs. Next feature is loan products. Customers can enjoy credit card registration, personal loan, and cashplus. In addition, customers can also change credit card transactions into

OCTO Mobile is a super app, all-in-one platform that can be accessed anywhere, everywhere (Photo from BranchlessBanking.CIMBNiaga.co.id)

Through OCTO Mobile, we also want to continue to build customer awareness of sustainability

installments for as long as three, six, and 12 months. In addition, there are features that provide several options for insurance purchase such as: life, health, travel, and theft insurance. The next feature is services, where customers can update their data, block and unblock credit/debit cards, PIN request/ reset, and see Poin Xtra, a feature that allows customers to earn and redeem points when shopping at various food and electronic merchants. In addition, customers can also use the features on OCTO Mobile to purchase airline tickets. What is the ease and speed of access provided through OCTO Mobile and what does CIMB Niaga have to be able to provide that? OCTO Mobile provides transactions that are very easy and fast for the customers. We are very focused on providing a good user interface and user experience to customers. This is proven by the value given by customers in the AppStore which is 4.9 out of a scale of 5. We also always update the application system. How does CIMB Niaga provide and guarantee data security of the customer? The bank is a highly regulated business that is monitored directly by the regulator such as the Financial Services Authority and Bank Indonesia. Therefore, for us, secure customer data is one of the top priorities. We also always check and audits our systems to always meet standards of high security periodically. In addition, we also ensure compliance with regulations and those safety signs. How many OCTO Mobile users and how many transactions have been made so far through the app? As of 30 June 2022, the number of OCTO Mobile users has reached 2.7 million. It reached 55 million transactions—an increase of 130.5% year-on-year. So far, how did customers respond to their experience using OCTO Mobile? What still needs to be improved? We see that customers are enthusiastic and happy using OCTO Mobile. Proven by an increase in the number of transactions by 105% when comparing year-to-date 2021 with year-to-date 2022. In line with campaign Anda #YangUtama or ‘#YouMatter’ that we just launched, we are continuing strives to provide continuous innovation and best customer service experience which provides added value for all customers. We want customers to be able to do digital banking transactions anytime and anywhere. We also regularly conduct customer surveys to ensure OCTO Mobile is always easy to use and also safe. What is CIMB Niaga’s target in 2022 onwards through the super app OCTO Mobile? We want to be a bank that can provide the best digital transaction services through complete features in OCTO Mobile. So that it can become a partner for customers in achieving their dreams without the limits of time and place. This is in line with CIMB Niaga’s brand promise #KejarMimpi (Pursue Dreams), because through OCTO Mobile we also want to make it easier for customers to stay productive and be more successful in pursuing and make their dream come true. ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 27


INTERVIEW

The new brand of personalisation that’s shaping Citi’s digital banking journey Customers want options, but curate it–don’t just offer it, says Citibank’s Nilesh Kumar.

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he word personalisation gets thrown around a lot when it comes to digital banking. With 80% of their customers logging into their applications monthly, Citibank knows only too well about these expectations: a customer experience-centred banking journey, right at their fingertips. But walking the tightrope between personalisation and creating a seamless banking experience is no easy feat, and banks run the risk of “over-personalising” their offerings to the point that the service takes a full 180 turn and appears impersonal. “Just because you have a service, don’t just offer it all to them, curate it,” Nilesh Kumar, digital channels and experience head of Citibank Singapore, told Asian Banking & Finance. “The customer wants to see all the options upfront. They don’t want banks or any institution to make decisions for them and show them only one option. “Give me the choices and I will make the decision” is what the customer’s preferences are now.” This is different from the past, when banking interaction consisted of customers focused on completing one specific task. “They’ll come with a very specific task and complete it, that’s what the banking interaction was. Now it’s changed. I would say that expectations have increased,” Kumar recalls. Now, it’s all about having options. But curating the right set of options to offer the customer is not as simple as it sounds–especially with financial institutions still attuned to old ways of thinking. Focus on the individual One notable pitfall that banks and financial service providers often fall into, Kumar said, is treating customers as part of a larger segment–whether they are a particular demographic, a particular risk profile, or a particular customer belonging to a bucket based on your assets under management or AUM. Kumar said that this no longer works because customers nowadays have distinct behaviors. For example, he notes two investors of similar demographics, with similar AUMs and risk profiles. “If we talk about our earlier banking, then we would just send them a similar offer. But if you look at them as an individual, especially in a market up or down situation, they will behave differently. One’s outlook to money can be different from their neighbor’s,” Kumar said, adding that one may engage in panic selling whilst the other may choose to top up on stocks during a market downturn, for example. This is why data analysis is now central to Citi’s operations. Citi sends their customers outlooks based on where the market may be going in the future, which in turn is based on data from the bank’s own analysts as well as industry analysis available. “With this, the customer can make an informed decision: should they top it up, or sell it out and maybe enter again. So having that data for the customer, giving them the right information and sending it using the right channel–that’s

28 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

Banks run the risk of “over-personalising” their offerings to the point that the service appears impersonal (Photo: Nilesh Kumar, Digital Channels and Experience Head, Citibank Singapore)

what personalisation means. You’re treated as an individual and not a bucket of customers.,” Kumar said. Apart from personalisation, speed is another factor that customers seek in their digital banking experience. Speed, according to Kumar, is not just about how fast your web page or app is loading, but rather operational efficiency. This refers to ease of access to contextual information and channel performance. As an example, Kumar notes of a scenario in which a relationship needs to have a pertinent document signed by a customer. “Earlier, if you wanted to get a document signed, either an RM would book time with the customer, or give the customer a schedule to come to the branch. Now we have virtual banking. An RM can simply initiate a video call with the customer, share the screen, share the document, and then walk through all the discussions and advice the customer needs. Once all those things are done, the document can be sent digitally and customers can simply use their mobile app to authorise and digitally sign it.” “Give me the choices and I will make the decision” is what the customer’s preferences are now

Constant self-improvement In order to further transform their customer experience journeys, Citi has further implemented services that allow them to gauge the effectiveness of both current and soon-to-be added features, not just from customers but also from their staff. Kumar shared a special feature in their staff’s mobile app called “tell us.” The feature enables staff to share any glitches


INTERVIEW they may have experienced in the app. It also lets them share any new ideas they may have gotten or come across whilst helping customers. “That becomes a database for us to say, okay, these are the things that I can do, or the next iteration of experience improvement can be done so we can become empathetic to customers,” Kumar said. Citi also constantly retrieves journeys via data labs, he added. They do this by conducting “test and learn” sessions with both their staff and their customers. “We get them into a session and ask them to test and learn existing journeys. We give them specific tasks like add this, do a transfer. Once a task is given, we’ll observe their behavior. We will document their experience and all this will give us an idea of what can be done better for improving the customer experience,” Kumar shared. Agility and empathy More than anything, it’s the mindset of being open to innovation that empowers banks, amongst them Citi, to excel even at the face of rapid changes. Asked on his thoughts about the debut of digital banks in Singapore and across APAC, and whether he considers them a threat, Kumar’s response was a resounding “no.” “They are actually welcome because they will foster the pace of innovation,” he said. As for what customers can look forward to seeing from Citi in the future? Expect more refined customer experience centred on empathy, Kumar said.

They will also continue to work on hyperpersonalisation. Kumar cites money transfer as an example. Citi would use past client data–such as when they usually make the transfer, as well as what denominations of currency they deal with–and inform customers at points when the prices of exchange will be most favorable to them. “If the prices are better on the fifth of this month, we can send a polite message to the customer to say okay, the rates are best at this point, why don’t you utilise this opportunity and keep it ready for when you want to transfer in the future. So, if I quote it as a bank service, rather than focusing on just customer satisfaction, we are working on long term customer delight,” Kumar explained.

Speed is another factor that customers seek in their digital banking experience (Photo from CitiGroup.com)

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 29


ANALYSIS: METAVERSE

The future of banking could lie in the metaverse

Virtual reality may be the answer to more digitally optimised financial services without having to sacrifice personalisation.

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he future of banking may just lie within the comforts of your home whilst you transport yourself into a digital world and your digital self discusses finance with your banking assistant. At least, that’s what banks are betting on as they head into the metaverse. Global lenders–amongst them big names such as J.P. Morgan and Standard Chartered– have been reportedly snapping up virtual land on which to lay the seeds of their burgeoning digital empires, as they seek to explore how this up-and-coming digital platform may better serve their increasingly tech-savvy customers. “We have seen an uptick in interest amongst banks, primarily driven by their internal innovation incubators,” Capco’s Paul Sommerin, Partner and Digital, Data and Technology Leader; and Leo Leung, Principal Consultant and Head of Innovation APAC, told Asian Banking & Finance

The focus is on how banks can engage with a younger and more tech-savvy consumer

Nicole Bodack

via written correspondence. “The focus at the moment is on how banks can engage with a younger and more tech-savvy consumer in the future and this is one potential avenue to reach them.” In Asia, banks have already started exploring the metaverse. KB Kookmin Bank, one of the biggest financial institutions in South Korea, has already created a virtual town with a virtual bank where customers can access personalised financial information and interact one-onone with its financial advisors using virtual reality (VR). In Singapore, J.P. Morgan has unveiled its Onyx lounge in the metaverse, which facilitates cross-border payments, foreign exchange, financial assets creation, trading and safekeeping in the metaverse. DBS also recently bought a 3x3 virtual land in The Sandbox, a decentralised virtual game environment built on Ethereum, for

Metaverse conceptually can be an immersive front-end to the world of web3.0

30 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

its planned DBS BetterWorld project. The sudden spate of metaverse ventures amongst banks indicates that there is much excitement amongst the lenders in exploring the transformational potential of technology, even when its final form may still be hard to imagine, said Nicole Bodack, Managing Director of Capital Markets, Growth Markets, for Accenture. “Banks should be prepared to observe a similar trajectory to mobile banking which took five years to fully diffuse into banking. As we go beyond 2D to 3D, we can design an expansive universe with the ability to immerse customers,” Bodack said. Experience design The banking world’s progression from 2D and 3D precisely explains how it has arrived to the point where the metaverse is considered a probable banking platform. “If we think back on banking services up until the 80s, they were analogue-driven. The business model was focused on face-to-face human interaction, building trust and rapport with customers at a physical branch. Fast forward to the present time, the focus has shifted from ATMs to online to digital banking, steered towards increasing distribution and reducing friction,” said Sommerin and Leung. One downside of the shift to digital, however, is that it came at the expense of side-lining human interactions, replacing them instead with services such as chatbots or automatic replies. This impersonalisation is severely affecting an increasingly important factor in delivering a satisfying banking journey: customer experience. Metaverse could bridge this gap, according to analysts. “Simply put, metaverse conceptually can be an immersive front-end to the world of web3.0. It offers a unique opportunity for banks to experiment, bringing back the long-neglected human interactions. With data analytics and service design, financial institutions should be able to offer immersive hyper-personalisation to rebuild and strengthen customer relationships and lifetime value in this nascent


ANALYSIS: METAVERSE virtual channel,” explained Sommerin and Leung. Accenture’s Bodack shared the same sentiment. “In the hyperconnected world we live in today, we are still disconnected in many ways. Take banking, for example. Whilst it is functionally complete, most interactions feel transactional,” she noted, adding that a customer could have a more engaging experience with a service representative or advisor represented by a realistic avatar than with a flat screen of a chat application or even a video call. “Within such a metaverse, banks can bring together people, spaces and objects in both the virtual and real worlds, and evoke a sense of community amongst its customers. Banks can add a third dimension and a sense of human presence to digital banking experiences to bring a more personal touch to remote and virtual customer interactions,” Bodack said. She added that the metaverse creates an alternative path to embark on the exploratory journey to redefine the financial services experience - specifically targeting millennial and Gen Z consumers. “Banks can also introduce new products and services by tapping on the metaverse’s burgeoning economy to extend their brands by insuring and lending against digital assets including cryptocurrency, NFTs and virtual real estate,” she said. Hurdles Being still in its infancy stage is what gives the metaverse its potential, but it also means that companies–and in particular, banks–wishing to explore the space have a lot of challenges to contend with. Chief amongst these are banks’ own tech. “To achieve progress in partially or fully institutionalising this realm, and to ensure the safety of banking activities, banks and financial institutions will need to upgrade their current technology platforms or partner with fintech players to prepare for the foreseeable future. Large global financial institutions running on legacy platforms will have the most to lose if they don’t upgrade their core platforms and decide to ignore the potential disruptions these emerging

The metaverse will significantly impact our commercial and personal lives

Source: McKinsey & Co.

technologies could bring,” Leung and Sommerin warned. Bodack also noted that investors and customers may perceive buying land in Decentraland as volatile and expensive. Another risk to consider is that of reputation. “For the metaverse, it is quite similar to social media or interactions in the real world. Metaverses may expose brands, including banks, to a range of reputational and legal risks. The nature or extent of these risks might be difficult to anticipate at this early stage as the metaverse is a fairly new concept for banks,” Bodack said. Bodack advised banks venturing into the space to consider issues that already exist in the real world and how they would handle them in the metaverse. These include issues of abuse and harassment on the internet, money laundering and fraud, and privacy and data risks. “This is a defining moment for banks. The concerns regulators and consumers already hold today around privacy, bias, fairness, and the human impact of digital platforms will become more acute as the metaverse further blurs the line between people’s physical and digital lives,” the Accenture expert said. Crypto volatilty Another factor to consider is that of crypto assets, which is an integral part of most metaverses. The Sandbox, for example, with whom both DBS and Standard Chartered have recently partnered for their first foray into the metaverse, is built on the Ethereum blockchain. “The widespread adoption of

Metaverses may expose banks to reputational and legal risks

crypto assets in a fully developed metaverse may pose a systemic risk to financial stability. The larger the volume of crypto transactions happening, the larger the potential impact to real-world financial stability if prices were to collapse,” Bodack said. In an open metaverse, the more the platform grows, the more risks from crypto assets are likely to scale against systemic financial stability, she warned. “Hence, it is critical for regulators to address risks from crypto assets’ use in the metaverse before they reach systemic status.” Ultimately, it’s up to the banks to balance risk with reward, and take careful steps to ensure stability whilst positioning itself to be at the front once the benefits of the metaverse roll in. “The metaverse is fast approaching with existing and future utilities. Look no further than to the series of metaverse patents and trademark filings, made by some of the world’s leading payment processing providers, as testament to the strategic potential firms now see in “metaverse commerce’,” Leung and Sommerin said. And as XR technologies converge with traditional services, and the pace of integration and adoption increases, Capco expects metaverse commerce as a revenue stream for firms will take off and experience exponential growth. “This all points to why financial institutions need to consider the metaverse in their omnichannel strategies moving forward,” the analysts concluded. ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 31


ANALYSIS: INTEREST RATES

Banks face choice between higher margins, credit demand as interest rates rise Whilst banks in APAC may enjoy higher margins, the cons may soon outweigh the pros.

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etting higher margins, or maintaining credit demand? Banks in Asia Pacific will have to choose one or the other, because the rise of interest rates means that they cannot have both. Interest rates are expected to rise further in the near future, and are expected to lead to banks in the APAC region reporting higher net interest margins (NIM). But it comes with a price. “With rates likely to rise further, NIMs will increase, but they can also hurt borrowers’ ability to pay and reduce credit demand. In the worst-case scenario, they can cause a buildup of bad loans and the banks would need to set aside more funds as impairment provisions,” warned Ranina Sanglap and Rehan Ahmad, analysts for S&P Global Market Intelligence. Banks are not expected to give up on one or the other. “That’s the balancing act that the banks have to go through,” said Andrew Gilder, Asia-Pacific banking and capital markets leader at EY, quoted by S&P Market Intelligence in a report. “Whilst the rise in interest rates will benefit lenders, they need to be conscious it will cause credit stress and increase impairment charges.” Higher margins Banks in jurisdictions across APAC have already started to feel the benefits of higher interest rates. Australia’s largest bank by assets, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, reportedly stated that it expects margins to increase, according to its latest results announcement. The largest bank in India, the State Bank of India, also reported higher NIM in Q2, S&P noted. The bank’s chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara even said during its August 6 earnings call that margins are expected to trend upward, S&P Global MI noted. Amongst markets, the rising rates are expected to be most 32 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

In the worst-case scenario, rising interest rates can cause a buildup of bad loans

That’s the balancing act that the banks have to go through

Rehan Ahmad

favourable to Hong Kong, followed by Singapore. “Fitch-rated Hong Kong banks are well positioned to benefit from higher rates, and larger banks’ NIMs should widen more because of their stronger deposit franchises,” said Fitch Ratings analysts Dan Martin and Willie Tanoto, adding that the average NIM and operating income for Hong Kong banks will likely rise by up to 40 asis points and 17%, respectively, for a 100 basis point rise in short-term rates. For Singapore, loan yields are expected to rise thanks to the rising Singapore Overnight Rate Average (SORA). Local banks in the Lion City also have the ability to pass on higher rates because their strong market positions means spreads are preserved. “NIMs are likely to widen through to 2023, and the three major banks– DBS, OCBC, and UOB–are wellpositioned to benefit as earnings typically have a high delta from

interest-rate movements,” Fitch’s Martin and Tanoto said. They added that Singapore banks’ mark-to-market losses on bond holdings should be manageable as such securities make up just 3% of assets. Higher corporate demand for hedges and increased customer trading activity could also support revenue gains. Weakening loan demand But not all markets will enjoy any positives. Martin and Tanoto noted that impact on banks’ NIM will depend on the extent of rate rises, the share of fixed- and floatingrate assets and liabilities, pricing power and pass-through rates on unremunerated deposits. Notably, the weaker growth outlook will also lead to dampened loan demand. Banks may find it difficult to grow their lending books as customers become less willing to borrow; and many may delay big purchases such


ANALYSIS: INTEREST RATES as homes and cars, S&P analysts Sanglap and Ahmad warned. And even if demand doesn’t take a big hit, loan quality will worsen and the number of provisions will eventually go up, according to Ben Luk, a senior strategist at State Street Global Markets. “As economic conditions remain challenging, we believe the rise in net interest margins will not be able to offset the slowdown in aggregate credit over the medium term, especially if consumers are feeling the pain with muted wage growth and rising inflationary pressure,” Luk stated in a report by S&P. Amongst markets, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia are likely in a better position to withstand the pressures of higher rates on their economies because of their relatively lower public debt, according to S&P. India, meanwhile, is at a crossroads. Whilst impact on their net interest margins is “favourable”– with an expected NIM expansion of 20bp to 30bp in the near term– Indian banks’ weak asset qualities will also be challenged.

Fitch’s Martin and Tanoto noted that Indian banks’ comparatively large debt securities portfolios will be subject to mark-to-market losses as bond yields rise. This will dampen the revenue upside from higher interest rates, they said. Interest rate hikes will also test banks’ underwriting quality, particularly for micro, small, and medium enterprises. “With many Covid-affected SME loans already under regulatory relief, any consequent rise in bank credit costs from asset-quality deterioration could be amplified by the unwinding of regulatory forbearance starting FY23, assuming the authorities do not extend forbearance further,” Martin and Tanoto said. India’s large corporate and retail sectors are expected remain resilient. How high In the end, the effect of rising interest rates in APAC banks will depend on how high they go, the analysts said. “Crucially, there would come a point where asset-quality risks

Andrew Gilder

Crucially, there would come a point where asset-quality risks began to outweigh revenue upside

began to outweigh revenue upside, particularly if economies were tipped toward recession, but that is not our base case,” said Fitch’s Martin and Tanoto. Economic recovery and currency depreciation will be key factors in ensuring that the positive impact of the rising rates will continue to outweigh the negatives. The higher rates rise, the more they will test underwriting standards. “Rising rates will make it more difficult for some borrowers to service loans, particularly those that may have over-extended themselves amid easy monetary conditions. Sectors hit hard by the pandemic could pose risks, particularly as policy support and forbearance unwind,” Fitch analysts Martin and Tanoto warned. And whilst foreign-currency lending tends to represent a small proportion of loan books, and regulators in the most-exposed markets have taken steps to improve hedging, this could still be an area of risk if APAC currencies continue to depreciate, they added.

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 33


CASE STUDY: GREEN FABRIC

DBS Hong Kong shows off greener branch outfits

The bank is making a statement about the future not through a new product, but with its uniforms.

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BS Hong Kong’s new branch employee uniforms may be brown, but to them, it is a statement of how the future of its banking services is green. Hong Kong customers will see local branch staff decked out in their new casual uniforms when they visit any of the bank’s Hong Kong branches every Friday and Saturday. At first glance, the colour-blocked shirts may seem just like your typical shirts. But underneath the seams, the shirts represent everything that the bank wishes to represent: to be an environmentally friendly business with a more youthful yet professional look to appeal to the younger generation, according to Ajay Mathur, Head of consumer banking group and wealth management, DBS Bank Hong Kong. He added that the new outfits are an example of how the bank embeds environmentally friendly elements and sustainability in every aspect of its business practices. “Customers may feel more relaxed seeing our colleagues in this casual uniform at our branches, knowing that the weekend is coming,” Mathur told Asian Banking & Finance. “Such wardrobe refresh builds on our image as a forward-looking bank of the future, presenting our brand value proposition as encapsulated by the “Live more, Bank less” ethos,” Mathur added. Green fabric The polo shirts feature a colourblocking of the bank’s official colours, deep carmine and black at the collar and sleeves. For the bodice, DBS chose a comfortable brown shade that is easy on the eyes of the customers. The most notable feature of the shirts, however, is not their colour scheme but the fabric used. The polo shirts are made from a sustainable fibre mix of organic cotton and recycled polyester.

34 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

Such wardrobe refresh builds on our image as a forwardlooking bank of the future

Ajay Mathur

According to Mathur, cotton was grown and processed without pesticides and other harmful chemicals and utilises plastic bottles. The practice began even before the new casual shirts came to life. Since 2020, DBS Hong Kong staff’s branch suits have also been made from fabric making use of 65% recycled polyester and 35% polyester blend, Mathur explained. It may seem like a small deal given the financial transactions involved in running a bank. But Mathur pointed out that the new uniforms are part of its branding. “We see this wardrobe refresh as an important initiative, not only portraying a young and energetic image of our frontline employees but also demonstrating the bank’s commitment to driving positive environmental impact to our community,” Mathur said. Net-zero office This is not the first time that DBS overhauled the non-financial aspect of its operations to make them more environmentally sustainable. Earlier in July, its Singapore arm unveiled the DBS Newton Green building. The project saw DBS retrofitting

The polyester used is partly made from recycled plastic bottles

one of its oldest office buildings to transform it into the Lion City’s first net-zero development by a bank. This means that the bank has an office building that can count itself as one of the more or less just 500 net-zero commercial buildings worldwide. Before retrofitting works began, the old building consumed about 845,000 kWh each year, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of about 200 four-room HDB homes in Singapore. To equal that energy, the bank has lined the building’s rooftop with solar panels, powering the operations of 400 employees that work within its walls. The bank has also outfitted its other offices and locations with solar panels in order to reduce the consumption of non-sustainable energy. “[This] is an important step forward in understanding how netzero technologies can be scaled up to not only move DBS closer towards its net-zero objectives, but to also help other organisations green their operations as we collectively realise a more sustainable future for Singapore,” DBS said regarding its net-zero office. “It is our belief that a different kind of bank is needed in a postpandemic world – one that is more sustainability-focused As we work towards becoming the Best Bank for a Better World, we will continue to up the ante on addressing sustainability issues and devoting to be a purposedriven bank,” Mathur concluded.

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ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 35


EVENT: ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS

Exemplary financial institutions, initiatives commended at the 2022 ABF Awards

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ith the Asia Pacific banking and finance industry still navigating its way to economic recovery, industry players will still need to keep a close eye on the market trends that shape the future of the industry and how customers respond to such changes. Financial institutions will also need to stay vigilant about market issues that might hinder recovery in the near future. Despite this, many companies persevered to provide services to customers and did not back down from the uncertainties of economic movements. The 2022 Asian Banking & Finance Awards recognises this feat, honouring over 190 exceptional banks and financial companies across Asia Pacific in a prestigious awards programme held through a digital award presentation. Winners were able to share their thoughts on winning the

awards and on the changing industry through a video interview. The number of nominations for this year is at an all-time high, which highlights how the industry continues to show stellar performance and remain competitive in the middle of economic uncertainties. This year’s entries were reviewed by an esteemed panel of judges, which includes EY Regional Managing Partner, ASEAN Nam Soon Liew; PwC Asia Pacific Financial Services Leader John Dovaston; Deloitte Audit Partner, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer, Audit & Assurance Ho Kok Yong; and Bain & Company Partner, Financial Services Edy Widjaja.

ABF WHOLESALE BANKING AWARDS 2022

First Abu Dhabi Bank UAE Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year UAE Domestic Swift Initiative of the Year

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank UAE Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Alliance Bank Berhad Malaysia Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Malaysia Domestic Mobile App of the Year

Congratulations to all the winners!

Habib Bank Limited Pakistan Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year Pakistan Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Pakistan Domestic Project Finance Bank of the Year

Bangkok Bank Thailand Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year

Hang Seng Bank Hong Kong Domestic DLT Initiative of the Year ​Hong Kong Domestic Payments Bank of the Year

Bank of Ayudhya PCL. Thailand Domestic Technology & Operations Bank of the Year Thailand Domestic Initiative of the Year

HSBC Sri Lanka International Initiative of the Year

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited Hong Kong Domestic ESG Liquidity Management Initiative of the Year Hong Kong Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year Hong Kong Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Bank SinoPac Taiwan Domestic COVID Management Initiative of the Year

The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited India International Technology & Operations Bank of the Year Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited Dubai (DIFC) Branch UAE International Project Finance Bank of the Year

Banque Misr Egypt Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year Egypt Domestic Initiative of the Year

ICICI India Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year India Domestic Initiative of the Year India Domestic COVID Management Initiative of the Year

BBVA Hong Kong International Initiative of the Year

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA Hong Kong International Swift Initiative of the Year

Cathay United Bank Taiwan Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year Taiwan Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Taiwan Domestic Project Finance Bank of the Year

Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam Vietnam Domestic Foreign Exchange Bank of the Year Vietnam Domestic Derivatives Initiative of the Year

China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited Hong Kong International Cash Management Bank of the Year

Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam JSC (BIDV) Vietnam Domestic FDI Bank of the Year

Citi Hong Kong International Project Finance Bank of the Year

KASIKORNBANK Thailand Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year

Commercial Bank of Ceylon Sri Lanka Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year

Maybank Malaysia Domestic COVID Management Initiative of the Year

FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd Pakistan Pakistan Domestic COVID Management Initiative of the Year

Maybank Investment Bank Malaysia Domestic Project Finance Bank of the Year

36 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022


National Development Bank PLC Sri Lanka Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year Sri Lanka Domestic Project Finance Bank of the Year Nepal SBI Bank Nepal Domestic Technology & Operations Bank of the Year Nepal Domestic Initiative of the Year OCBC Bank Singapore Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year Singapore Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year

Turk Ekonomi Bankasi A.S. Turkey Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year U Microfinance Bank Limited Pakistan Domestic Initiative of the Year United Overseas Bank Limited Brunei International Project Finance Bank of the Year UOB Malaysia International Trade Finance Bank of the Year

OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad Malaysia International Cash Management Bank of the Year

ABF RETAIL BANKING AWARDS 2022

PT. Bank OCBC NISP, Tbk Indonesia Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year

ABA Bank Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Cambodia

PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, Tbk Indonesia Domestic COVID Management Initiative of the Year

Affin Bank Berhad Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Malaysia Digital Transformation of the Year - Malaysia Website of the Year - Malaysia

PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Indonesia Domestic Project Finance Bank of the Year PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk Indonesia Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Indonesia Domestic Initiative of the Year RHB Banking Group Malaysia Domestic Foreign Exchange Bank of the Year Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Philippines Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Philippines Domestic Cash Management Bank of the Year Sacombank Vietnam Domestic Technology & Operations Bank of the Year Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank Vietnam Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Vietnam Domestic COVID Management Initiative of the Year Sampath Bank Sri Lanka Domestic Customer Initiative of the Year Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Berhad Malaysia Domestic Sustainability Initiative of the Year Standard Chartered Bangladesh Bangladesh International Trade Finance Bank of the Year Standard Chartered Bank Singapore International Swift Initiative of the Year Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad Malaysia International Initiative of the Year Standard Chartered Bank of Thailand Thailand International Cash Management Bank of the Year Standard Chartered Bank, Indonesia Branch Indonesia International Cash Management Bank of the Year Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited Singapore International Data Initiative of the Year

Airtel Payments Bank Limited Virtual Bank of the Year - India AmBank (M) Berhad Analytics Initiative of the Year - Malaysia Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - Malaysia Ardshinbank CJSC Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Armenia Aspire FT Pte Ltd Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - Singapore Start-up Banking Initiative of the Year - Singapore Atlas Consolidated Pte Ltd Debit Card Initiative of the Year - Singapore au Jibun Bank Corporation Strategic Partnership of the Year - Japan AU Small Finance Bank Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - India Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - India Axis Bank Limited AI & Machine Learning Initiative of the Year - India Baiduri Bank Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Brunei Baiduri Finance Finance Company of the Year - Brunei Bank BRI Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Indonesia Bank Dhofar Digital Transformation of the Year - Oman Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam JSC SME Bank of the Year - Vietnam

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Taipei Branch Taiwan International Foreign Exchange Bank of the Year

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited Digital Transformation of the Year - Hong Kong Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong

Taishin International Bank Taiwan Domestic Technology & Operations Bank of the Year

Bank Rakyat Indonesia Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Indonesia ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 37


EVENT: ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS Bank SinoPac COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Taiwan Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Taiwan Service Innovation of the Year - Taiwan BDO Network Bank, Inc. Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - Philippines BDO Private Bank Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Philippines BDO Unibank, Inc Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Philippines Investment Product Innovation of the Year - Philippines Cake by VPBank & Mambu Core Banking System Initiative of the Year - Vietnam Cathay United Bank Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - Taiwan Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - Taiwan CB Bank SME Bank of the Year - Myanmar Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank, Inc. Rural/Cooperative Bank of the Year - Philippines Chang Hwa Commercial Bank Banking for Women Initiative of the Year - Taiwan China Banking Corporation Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - Philippines CIMB Thai Bank Public Company Limited Investment Product Innovation of the Year - Thailand Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Thailand Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Sri Lanka Digital Wallet Initiative of the Year - Sri Lanka CTBC Bank Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Taiwan Branch Innovation of the Year - Bronze

Habib Bank Limited Point-of-Sale Initiative of the Year - Pakistan HH Bank Cambodia Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - Cambodia Hong Leong Bank SME Bank of the Year - Malaysia Hong Leong Finance ASEAN Finance Company of the Year HSBC Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Hong Kong PayMe from HSBC Digital Wallet Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong HSBC Bangladesh International Retail Bank of the Year - Bangladesh Branch Innovation of the Year - Silver HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited International Retail Bank of the Year - China Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - China HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd. International Retail Bank of the Year - Vietnam PT Bank HSBC Indonesia Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Indonesia ESG Program of the Year - Bronze Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - Indonesia HSBC Philippines International Retail Bank of the Year - Philippines Credit Card Initiative of the Year - Philippines HSBC Bank (Singapore) Limited Remittance Company of the Year - Singapore Strategic Partnership of the Year - Singapore HSBC Sri Lanka International Retail Bank of the Year - Sri Lanka

DBS Bank Hong Kong Core Banking System Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong

HSBC Taiwan Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Taiwan Credit Card Initiative of the Year - Taiwan

DBS Bank Indonesia Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - Indonesia Credit Card Initiative of the Year - Indonesia Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - Indonesia

ICICI Bank Digital Transformation of the Year - India Service Innovation of the Year - India

DBS Bank Taiwan Employer Award of the Year - Bronze Equitas Small Finance Bank Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - India Fidelity International Retirement Solutions of the Year - Hong Kong Service Innovation of the Year - Hong Kong

Jordan Kuwait Bank AI & Machine Learning Initiative of the Year - Jordan JS Bank SME Bank of the Year - Pakistan KASIKORN LINE Co., Ltd. Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Thailand New Consumer Lending Product of the Year - Thailand

FINCA Banking for Women Initiative of the Year - Pakistan

KASIKORNBANK PCL Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Thailand Strategic Partnership of the Year - Thailand

Hana Bank Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - South Korea

Krungthai Card Analytics Initiative of the Year - Thailand

Helicap Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Singapore

LexinFintech Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - China

38 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022


Maisarah Islamic Banking Services Islamic Banking Initiative of the Year - Oman Malayan Banking Berhad (Malaysia) Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Malaysia Online Banking Initiative of the Year - Malaysia Mashreq Bank Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - UAE Digital Transformation of the Year - UAE Maybank (Cambodia) Plc. International Retail Bank of the Year - Cambodia Equity and Commodity Derivatives Maybank Investment Bank Berhad Investment Product Innovation of the Year - Malaysia Maybank Singapore Credit Card Initiative of the Year - Singapore Maybank Indonesia Service Innovation of the Year - Indonesia Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - Pakistan Mox Bank Virtual Bank of the Year - Hong Kong Credit Card Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong National Bank of Kuwait SME Bank of the Year - Kuwait Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - Kuwait Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - Kuwait National Development Bank PLC Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Sri Lanka SME Bank of the Year - Sri Lanka Ngern Tid Lor Public Company Limited Finance Company of the Year - Thailand Insurance Product Innovation of the Year - Thailand OCBC Bank ASEAN SME Bank of the Year PT. Bank OCBC NISP, Tbk SME Bank of the Year - Indonesia OCBC Securities Private Limited Investment Product Innovation of the Year - Singapore PrimeCredit Limited Finance Company of the Year - Hong Kong PT Bank CTBC Indonesia Consumer Finance Product of the Year - Indonesia New Consumer Lending Product of the Year - Indonesia PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, Tbk Open Banking Initiative of the Year - Indonesia Strategic Partnership of the Year - Indonesia PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk. Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Indonesia PT Bank Permata, Tbk Millennial Product Initiative of the Year - Indonesia Public Bank Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Malaysia

RAKBANK SME Bank of the Year - UAE Fraud Initiative of the Year - UAE Mid-sized Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - UAE RCBC Bankard New Consumer Lending Product of the Year - Philippines Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Remittance Company of the Year - Philippines Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and GBG AI & Machine Learning Initiative of the Year - Philippines Fraud Initiative of the Year - Philippines Sacombank Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - Vietnam Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank Digital Consumer Banking Initiative of the Year - Vietnam Millennial Product Initiative of the Year - Vietnam SAS Institute Analytics Initiative of the Year - Singapore Analytics Initiative of the Year - Thailand Sathapana Bank Plc. Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Cambodia Siam Commercial Bank Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Thailand Debit Card Initiative of the Year - Thailand Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - Thailand SquidPay Technology Inc Digital Wallet Initiative of the Year - Philippines Standard Chartered Bank Strategic Partnership of the Year - Malaysia Standard Chartered Bank Capital Markets Products and Solutions Online Securities Platform of the Year - Hong Kong Standard Chartered Bank Digital Transformation of the Year - Singapore Standard Chartered Bank Capital Markets Products and Solutions Wealth Management Platform of the Year - China Standard Chartered Bank Islamic Banking Initiative of the Year - Bangladesh Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited ESG Program of the Year - Gold International Retail Bank of the Year - Hong Kong Employer Award of the Year - Hong Kong Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) Limited International Retail Bank of the Year - Taiwan Analytics Initiative of the Year - Taiwan Digital Business Banking Initiative of the Year - Taiwan Syfe Wealth Management Fintech of the Year - Singapore Taishin International Bank Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Taiwan Online Banking Initiative of the Year - Taiwan Strategic Partnership of the Year - Taiwan ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 39


EVENT: ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS Techcombank Credit Card Initiative of the Year - Vietnam Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Vietnam The Bank of East Asia, Limited Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Hong Kong The Social Loan Company (TSLC) AI & Machine Learning Initiative of the Year - UAE Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - UAE

Ameriabank CJSC Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Armenia Bank Alfalah Innovative Renewable Deal of the Year - Pakistan Social Impact Deal of the Year - Pakistan Corporate Client Initiative of the Year - Pakistan Bank BRI Mergers and Acquisitions Deal of the Year - Indonesia

TNEX Virtual Bank of the Year - Vietnam

Bank of Ayudhya Public Company Limited Fintech Deal of the Year - Thailand

U Microfinance Bank Limited Microfinance Bank of the Year - Pakistan Islamic Banking Initiative of the Year - Pakistan

BankIslami Pakistan Limited Islamic Finance Debt Deal of the Year - Pakistan

uab bank Limited Mid-sized Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Myanmar Strategic Partnership of the Year - Myanmar UBX Philippines Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Philippines Union Bank of the Philippines Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Philippines SME Bank of the Year - Philippines United Bank Limited Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Pakistan United Overseas Bank Banking for Women Initiative of the Year - Singapore Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Singapore ESG Program of the Year - Silver Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Singapore Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Singapore

BDO Capital & Investment Corp. as Joint Global Coordinator and Domestic Lead Underwriter for the MREIT IPO deal Equity Deal of the Year - Philippines BDO Capital & Investment Corporation Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Philippines BPI Capital Corporation Corporate Client Initiative of the Year - Philippines Green Deal of the Year - Philippines Bualuang Securities Public Company Limited Equity Deal of the Year - Thailand Mergers and Acquisitions Deal of the Year - Thailand Securities House of the Year - Thailand China Bank Capital Corporation Debt Deal of the Year - Philippines CIMB Group Green Deal of the Year - Malaysia

United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd International Retail Bank of the Year - Malaysia

CTBC Bank Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Taiwan Green Energy Deal of the Year - Taiwan

UOB Thailand Branch Innovation of the Year - Gold International Retail Bank of the Year - Thailand Employer Award of the Year - Gold

DBS Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Singapore Green Deal of the Year - Singapore Project Infrastructure Finance Deal of the Year - Singapore

Viet Capital Commercial Joint Stock Bank Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year - Vietnam

DBS Green Deal of the Year - Hong Kong

Vietcombank Remittance Company Remittance Company of the Year - Vietnam

DBS Bank Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Hong Kong

Vietnam Public Joint Stock Commercial Bank (PVcomBank) Digital Transformation of the Year - Vietnam

DC Advisory Japan Mergers and Acquisitions Deal of the Year - Japan

WeLab Bank Consumer Finance Product of the Year - Hong Kong Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong

Halyk Bank Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Kazakhstan

ABF CORPORATE AND INVESTMENT BANKING AWARDS 2022 Abu Dhabi Islamic bank Green Deal of the Year - United Arab Emirates Islamic Debt Deal of the Year - United Arab Emirates Allied Bank Limited Syndicated Loan of the Year - Pakistan 40 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

HBL (Habib Bank Limited) Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Pakistan Equity Deal of the Year - Pakistan Green Deal of the Year - Pakistan ICICI BANK Innovative Deal of the Year - India Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam Debt Deal of the Year - Vietnam


JS Bank Limited Mergers and Acquisitions Deal of the Year - Pakistan

Sohar International Bank SAOG Equity Deal of the Year - Oman

MALAYAN BANKING BERHAD, SINGAPORE (or “Maybank Singapore”) Green Islamic Deal of the Year - Singapore

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank Co., Ltd. Green Corporate Deal of the Year - Taiwan Syndicated Loan of the Year - Taiwan

Mashreqbank psc Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - United Arab Emirates Debt Deal of the Year - United Arab Emirates Syndicated Loan of the Year - United Arab Emirates Maybank Investment Bank Berhad Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Malaysia Equity Deal of the Year - Malaysia Project Infrastructure Finance Deal of the Year - Malaysia

Tien Phong Securities Joint Stock Company - TPS Corporate Client Initiative of the Year - Vietnam Unicapital, Inc. Innovative Deal of the Year - Philippines UOB Mergers and Acquisitions Deal of the Year - Singapore

Maybank Investment Bank Berhad Equity Deal of the Year - Singapore

Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) Project Infrastructure Finance Deal of the Year - Vietnam

Maybank Investment Bank Berhad Syndicated Loan of the Year - Thailand

YES BANK LTD. Corporate Client Initiative of the Year - India

Meezan Bank Innovative Islamic Deal of the Year - Pakistan National Development Bank PLC Mergers and Acquisitions Deal of the Year - Sri Lanka Project Infrastructure Finance Deal of the Year - Sri Lanka NBK Capital Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Kuwait Debt Deal of the Year - Kuwait NDB Investment Bank Limited Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Sri Lanka Nepal Investment Bank Ltd. Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Nepal

Alliance Bank

OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad Cross-border Deal of the Year - Malaysia OCBC Wing Hang Bank Corporate Client Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong PNB Capital and Investment Corporation Domestic Coordinator Implementation Initiative of the Year - Philippines PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Indonesia Syndicated Loan of the Year - Indonesia Corporate Client Initiative of the Year - Indonesia

AmBank (M) Berhad

PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Debt Deal of the Year - Indonesia Project Infrastructure Finance Deal of the Year - Indonesia RCBC Capital Corporation Sovereign Domestic Debt Issuance of the Year - Philippines as Joint Issue Manager RHB Investment Bank Berhad Debt Deal of the Year - Malaysia Mergers and Acquisitions Deal of the Year - Malaysia SB Capital Investment Corporation Innovative Deal of the Year - Philippines Siam Commercial Bank PCL. Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Thailand Debt Deal of the Year - Thailand

AmBank ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 41


EVENT: ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS

Ardshinbank CJSC

Bangkok Bank

Bank Alfalah

Bank of East Asia

PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk.

PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk

Bank of China HK

Bank of Ayudhya PCL 42 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

Bank of China HK

BBVA

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and GBG


BDO Capital & Investment Corporation

BDO Network Bank, Inc.

BDO Private Bank

BDO Unibank, Inc.

Bank SinoPac

HH Bank Cambodia ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 43


EVENT: ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS

BANK FOR INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF VIETNAM

Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank, Inc.

Chang Hwa Commercial Bank

China Banking Corporation

China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited

The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

44 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022


CIMB Thai Bank Public Company Limited

DBS Hong Kong

DBS Hong Kong

DBS Indonesia

DBS Indonesia

DBS Indonesia

DBS Taiwan

Fidelity International

Maybank Investment Bank

UBX Philippines

Hong Leong Bank ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 45


EVENT: ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS

CIMB Niaga

HSBC China

HSBC Singapore

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA 46 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

HSBC

HSBC Bangladesh

HSBC Indonesia

HSBC Philippines

HSBC Vietnam

HSBC Taiwan

au Jibun Bank

KASIKORN LINE Co.,Ltd.

KASIKORNBANK PCL


OCBC Bank

Malayan Banking Berhad

Baiduri Bank

Baiduri Finance

OCBC Wing Hang Bank

PVcomBank

Ngern Tid Lor Public Company Limited

PayMe from HSBC

RCBC Bankard

OCBC Securities

PrimeCredit Limited

SAS Krungthai ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 47


EVENT: ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE AWARDS

Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Standard Chartered Bank Capital Market

Standard Chartered Malaysia

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank Co., Ltd.

Techcombank

The Social Loan Company (TSLC)

U Microfinance Bank Limited

Unicapital, Inc. 48 ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022

Union Bank of the Philippines


UOB Group

UOB Thailand

UOB Malaysia

Vietcombank Remittance Company

VietinBank

YES Bank ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 49


PAKISTAN DOMESTIC INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR MICROFINANCE BANK OF THE YEAR - PAKISTAN ISLAMIC BANKING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - PAKISTAN

Role of microfinance in creating livelihoods and empowering customers through technology U Microfinance Bank Limited was recognised at the ABF Retail and Wholesale Banking Awards 2022 with their innovative solutions for consumers in Pakistan.

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overty is a global issue, not just a national matter of concern. It runs much deeper in developing countries and is widely and unevenly spread across Pakistan’s urban and rural areas. Whilst the rural areas of the country see a dire lack of basic facilities like education, health, or infrastructure - many urban sections also see large slums where a lack of access to financials has resulted in a socioeconomic gap in society. This is a hurdle not only in human development but also in the economic progress of the country as well. As a mission-driven financial entity, U Microfinance Bank has always been at the forefront of creating a largescale impact by offering unique and need-based products and services to the underserved population. The impact is at the heart of every step taken by U Bank towards banking the unbanked, and in order to remain consistent with its commitment to socio-economic development for its customers, U Bank focuses its endeavours on achieving specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the United Nations – including zero hunger, economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, and reducing inequalities. The bank follows a clear vision to contribute towards positive trends in our national indices, with an overall impact across multiple fronts, ranging from financial inclusion and literacy, education, and health, to better employment, poverty alleviation, and increased income generation. To stay close to the bank’s core strategy—that is, to make a lasting difference across multiple socio-economic segments—U Microfinance Bank has divided its business into six business canvases: Rural Retail Banking, Urban Retail Banking, Islamic Banking, Digital Banking, Corporate Banking, and Corporate Finance and Investment

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Banking. These strategic canvases cover a wide spectrum of financial services needs and protect business longevity. In its endeavour to improve living standards, U Bank has taken multiple steps to reach into segments at the last mile, where generally formal financing avenues do not exist. The bank offers microcredit and other financial services aimed at fair usage by the underprivileged masses to build businesses, receive education and healthcare, and build better, sustainable lives for themselves. Lowcost housing has been made possible in an inflationary era through the Housing Finance facility, whilst ease of access to private schooling and better health facilities has also been prioritised. With the advancement in technology in the financial sector, the underserved population can now access mobile credit, savings, payment, and e-wallet solutions easily through their mobile devices. Transactions are at their fingertips, and account opening procedures are digitised as well. Through U Bank’s digital app, for instance, subscribers can receive the convenience of making toll, bill, fee, and loan payments; transferring funds; recharging mobile balances; and making donations. Expanding reach U Bank has invested in digital railroads in order to expand its reach beyond physical branches. It has ensured ease in improving livelihoods with the Digital Loan Application (DLA) – U Bank’s crown jewel in its digitalisation efforts. Under the DLA, if an individual intends to start

his/her business or needs financing to run it, services are given to them in an efficient, time-effective manner. Procedures have been digitised, and a Relationship Officer is assigned to take the necessary digital devices to the customer, instead of a customer needing to visit the branch. Data is added on the device and directly sent to the authorised offices, whilst the customer is only required to visit the branch for loan collection after approval. Loan repayments can also be done using the U Bank digital app. Similarly, in areas where there are no brick-and-mortar bank branches, branchless banking has been made possible for U Bank customers through the adoption of innovative technologies and mutually beneficial partnerships between entities, creating deeper financial inclusion possibilities for the masses. In particular, access to financial services for women has been enhanced exponentially through branchless banking and digital financial services. Through digital services offered by U Bank, like the U Bank digital app, U Paisa mobile wallet, and the Asaan Mobile Account (AMA), U Microfinance Bank has endeavoured to overcome societal and educational hindrances and ensure financial inclusion for women. Increased adoption of advanced technology and innovation, alongside persistent market research and product development, continues to enable U Microfinance Bank to be one of the frontrunners in positively impacting lives and livelihoods with an aimed increase in income and an ultimate reduction in poverty.

U Microfinance Bank has always been at the forefront of creating a large-scale impact by offering unique and need-based products and services to the underserved population


A+/A-1 A

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ATM

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ATM Network

VIS Credit Raang Ennty Raangs Subordinated Tier 2 TFC Raang

200+ Branch Network

Corporate Banking Soluuon

Loan processed

Home Remiiance

Internet & Mobile Banking

Islamic Banking

Digital Loan Acquiring

U Microfinance Bank Ltd. (U Bank) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pakistan Telecommunicaaon Company Limited (PTCL) – EEsalat Company. The bank has a network of more than 200 branches across 210 ciies and rural areas in Pakistan and offers a wide range of microfinance loans, deposit products and branchless banking soluuons.

Download U Bank Digital & UPaisa App

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 51 051-111-282-265

www.ubank.com.pk

/UMicrofinanceBankLimited


ANALYTICS INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - MALAYSIA DIGITAL BUSINESS BANKING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - MALAYSIA

AmBank Group receives top recognition for its SME digital banking platform The bank was honoured with two trophies at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022.

AmBank Headquarters

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SMEs (micro & small medium enterprises) account for 98.5% of all business establishments in Malaysia, contributing 38.3% of the country’s total GDP and 66% of the country’s employment workforce. Given the size of the MSME market in Malaysia and the range of industries in which they operate, this segment cuts across various digitisation paradigms due to the nature of their business, their customer and supply chain relationships, internal resources, technical know-how, infrastructure, etc. However, most Malaysian MSMEs in general are relatively averse/ late adopters of new technology in their daily business operations. In light of the above, AmBank’s conviction to ensure MSMEs view technology as a means to enhance their productivity and reap benefits and efficiencies through digitisation led to the development of AmAccess Biz, which was publicly launched in February 2020. AmAccess Biz is our online banking platform specifically catered for the MSME segment which is available through both web and mobile app access. Rather than having a single one-size fits all online banking/ cash management platform, AmBank built 3 digital channels tailored to the respective demographics of customers: • AmOnline – Retail individuals • AmAccess Biz – MSME customers • AmAccess Corp – Corporate customers Our approach for AmAccess Biz was to develop a simple, easy to use, user friendly system that is capable of customers’ selfservice that addresses the simpler needs of MSMEs for their day-to-day operations and

cash flow management, whilst providing a full suite of solutions within this objective. In a short period of 2 years, we have managed to build AmAccess Biz from scratch to a full-blown online banking platform with core features/functions ranging from real-time account balances, cash flow position analysis to a comprehensive suite of domestic & foreign fund transfers, foreign exchange contract booking, bill payments, digital token for payments approval, payroll solution and many more functionalities. These allow MSMEs visibility of their account info, which provides better control of their cash flows thereby enhancing liquidity management. MSMEs are also able to automate and streamline their payment processing to vendors, suppliers and employees, which enhances productivity and efficiency in managing their day-to-day business activities. All these functionalities are made accessible via our award-winning, first in Malaysia, fully contactless current account opening cum SME Digital Onboarding capability, which opens the door for customers to be ushered into the AmAccess Biz platform; upon which they can then freely access a holistic suite of digital banking solutions on-the-go 24/7. In our efforts to provide a simple one-stop solution for SMEs, we have gathered our banking offerings via AmAccess Biz and bundle it with relevant “beyond banking” digital solutions in one package called SME-in-a-Box, which is a one-stop SME solutions package offered in partnership with Maxis, the country’s leading telecommunication service provider. These capabilities, combined with our

other beyond banking ancillary services in Accounting, HR & Payroll, Point-of-Sale (POS) integrated solutions, etc., make up a strong proposition for our SME customers. Recognising the importance of enhancing the MSME ecosystem to derive value for all players in the supply chain ecosystem, we also developed initiatives like: • AmBank BizHUB – an online marketplace platform in partnership with Supplycart for MSMEs to procure & digitalise the buyer-seller interactions • AmBank BizRACE – an annual business competition aimed to identify, support & nurture potential businesses by providing learning and networking opportunities, as well as media exposure. These initiatives along with the various partnerships that AmBank has forged with mutually beneficial synergistic partners are evidence of our strong desire to complement and build around AmAccess Biz an ecosystem of formidable offerings to provide the best services and support to SMEs’ business. Ultimately, our vision is for AmAccess Biz to be more than just a transaction accounts for MSME customers, but to also develop into a platform offering a full suite of integrated solutions encompassing MSME customers’ current and emerging needs, adding value throughout the financial value chain of MSME community. As a testament to our excellence, AmBank Group has received various international awards in recognition of our relentless efforts in continuously improving our services to serve SMEs in Malaysia such as the “SME Bank of the Year 2021 – Malaysia” by Asian Banking & Finance for the third consecutive year. The latest addition of the Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Awards 2022 for “Best Digital Business Banking Initiative - Malaysia”, has further endorsed our proven market leadership in having provided not only the best customer onboarding but also extending throughout the whole customer journey end-to-end in the AmAccess Biz platform; even going over and beyond in providing a holistic ecosystem of “beyond banking” solutions with our partners to best serve SMEs.

Our vision is for AmAccess Biz to develop into a platform offering a full suite of integrated solutions encompassing MSME customers’ current and emerging needs 52 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019


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ESG PROGRAM OF THE YEAR – GOLD EMPLOYER AWARD OF THE YEAR – HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL RETAIL BANK OF THE YEAR – HONG KONG

Standard Chartered Hong Kong: Driving digital transformation and diversity in the banking industry The bank has been deploying innovative technologies for world-class financial services whilst fostering an inclusive workplace and a diverse workforce.

Lay Choo Ong, Head, Consumer, Private and Business Banking, Hong Kong at Standard Chartered Hong Kong

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tandard Chartered Hong Kong has reiterated its commitment to continuously innovate and offer digital solutions to help clients make the most of their business and wealth opportunities as much of the world has shifted online, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lay Choo Ong, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking (CPBB), Hong Kong, revealed that since 2019, branch transactions have been trending down with a 50% decrease, and digital transactions have grown almost twice in the same period. “Our branch network continues to be an important client touchpoint; it’s just that its role has changed, and we have been striving to provide a best-in-class omnichannel banking experience,” she said. With the continuous digital transformation, Ong underscored that they will be investing in digital wealth and bringing digital experience into the physical environment in the next few years. “With 95% of wealth transactions completed through digital means, this is where our competitive advantage lies. We will continue to invest in our capabilities and modernise the user experience based on human design to make it more intuitive. Also to leverage the latest eKYC technology to simplify the authentication process to achieve a seamless experience,” Ong said. Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, which bagged this year’s International Retail Bank of the Year, Employer Award of the Year-Silver, and ESG Program of the Year in the Asian Banking & Finance Awards 2022, recently launched

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its first Green Branch, which is set to offer a refreshed client journey, embrace digital transformation, and accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon. It operates as a paperless environment, supported by eSignLive and enhanced digital tellers. As the Bank aims to provide a best-in-class integrated onboarding experience, Ong also revealed that they plan to establish a unified onboarding journey for both existing clients and new bank clients so that they can easily apply or subscribe to different products such as savings accounts and credit cards in one go. “We will look beyond new product acquisitions to also focus on supporting clients’ needs during the first month of the onboarding journey, including fund in, setting up transfer and payment services. Personalised and contextual messages will be delivered with relevant educational materials to help mass clients onboard different digital capabilities easily,” she explained. Upskill and reskill the employees Standard Chartered Hong Kong also has been focusing on talent development through various talent programmes, learning platforms and offerings combined with partnerships with leading learning institutions. Florence Wong said they do not only invest in upskilling and reskilling, but they also have curated pathways for their employees to work towards their career aspirations. The Bank has started multiple talents and business-specific programmes, such as the Consumer, Private and Business Banking (CPBB) Affluent Academy, to equip their relationship managers with the most relevant and industry-leading content and skills through a structured 18-month training programme. They also introduced a permanent flexible working set-up for their employees to work in a more agile manner and invested in digital technologies to transform to support them in a hybrid working model. “Many of us have gained a better appreciation of the benefits of working flexibly and remotely. We have maintained health and wellness in the future workplace for our colleagues, including vaccination leave, Flexi-arrangement, COVID-19 Vaccine Full Care Fund, and a hybrid working festival. This is not just about working from home; it’s

Florence Wong, Head of Human Resources at Standard Chartered Hong Kong

about empowering our colleagues to work in the ways that suit them best,” Wong said. Wong also emphasised that their priorities continue to center around the pillars of their people strategy. “We are continuing to put in tremendous efforts to achieve our ambitious plans to amplify our efforts toward enabling the necessary innovation and inclusion, deliver on our upskilling and re-skilling journeys, build new leadership capabilities and drive the digital transformation,” she said. “Diversity and inclusion are embedded in our values and are an inherent part of our brand and culture. This is about creating a workplace culture that helps every colleague contribute to their full potential. It is more than just policies, initiatives, and processes; it is about how we work together and ensure everyone feels respected for who they are in the bank,” she said. The Bank is also committed to sustainable development, setting long-term ambitions such as reaching net-zero carbon emissions from financing activities by 2050, with interim targets to mobilise US$300b in green and transition financing by 2030. The Bank aims to create and offer a full suite of sustainable finance solutions to both corporate and retail clients that support sustainable development, economic growth, and job creation. By actively growing its offerings, Standard Chartered Hong Kong is committed to supporting clients in achieving their sustainability goals as well as promoting the city as a regional green finance hub.


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ONLINE SECURITIES PLATFORM OF THE YEAR - HONG KONG WEALTH MANAGEMENT PLATFORM OF THE YEAR - CHINA

Standard Chartered Bank recognised with two wins at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022 Its leading digital platform, China Mobile SD, was recognised for meeting its users’ wealth planning and personal safety needs.

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tandard Chartered is committed to bringing real value to our clients and has designed a unique and unparalleled proposition for its clients in the Structured Deposit space. We differentiate our proposition by offering unbiased advice. With no proprietary sell-side research or in-house products, we adopt an open-architecture approach to both advice and solutions, as well as access to the best ideas and products with full transparency and no bias. Enhancing our trading capabilities for clients, we have significantly built our equity structured deposit capabilities with a leading digital platform – China Mobile SD, to deliver the best solutions in the market 24X7 whilst cutting response times by more than 95% to less than 2 minutes. We are the first bank in Asia to launch an open architecture structured deposit platform, and this positions us as a leading structured product house in the Mainland China retail market. Unique features that differentiate us from competitors • We are the only retail bank in Mainland China to offer a unique product like averaging autocall structured deposits over a real-time electronic platform for price discovery and execution with portfolio performance. • We are the only retail bank with a fully

industrialised unique product offering, making it seamless for our retail banking clients to deal in complex products of any investment quantum. The quality and speed of our service remain uncompromised for clients at any time, from anywhere. We offer the most comprehensive product offering on a digital channel, covering equities listed in over 15 major global markets and supporting investment currencies in CNY and USD. We provide industry-leading, cuttingedge automated scenario analysis and automated suitability check capabilities for our clients. This is supplemented by a mark-to-market and portfolio performance summary. As a client-first international bank with a focus on the unique demands in each of our footprint markets, we also enabled the client the ability to cancel their structured deposit order on the digital platform within the first 24-hour cool-off period. This flexibility exemplifies the bank’s value of always considering the client’s interest first. We are committed to offering capabilities that are in the best interests of the clients so that together we can help to grow our clients’ wealth in a sustainable manner by offering products that are most suitable to their financial needs.

This platform is future-ready for the bank to expand into extensive categories of structured products for a wider spectrum of market demand across the globe 56 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

Benefits to Clients Clients have consistently affirmed that our service offering has improved significantly in this space since the launch. Feedback from a long-term client: “Previously, I had to visit the branch physically and spend 1 hour there to complete the whole investment pricing and order placement process, including video recording as required by regulators. Together with the travelling time, it took me almost 3 hours to complete the investment process. Now with COVID-19 impacting every way that the world operates, I can safely and smoothly complete the whole Structured Deposit investment process online in under 2 minutes anytime and from anywhere with this new China Mobile SD platform offered by Standard Chartered. I love this cutting-edge leading product offering from Standard Chartered Bank! It fully meets my wealth planning and personal safety needs as I can easily complete the investment processes.” 99.9% of our client orders have been placed on the digital platform since its launch! Impact on the bank and industry Our Mainland China Structured Deposit business has seen over 750% growth in terms of volume traded as well as revenue in the first 6 months of launch. This is a record growth within the retail business, delivered during the very challenging and demanding times during the COVID-19 pandemic. This leading digital platform has also made Standard Chartered a leading innovative business partner for our interbank hedging counterparties. They identify the bank as the leading wealth management house with a scalable business model that can enable interbank counterparties to grow into the Mainland China market by connecting to our open architecture platform as swap hedging counterparties. To conclude, this leading capability completes the last puzzle for Standard Chartered’s digital product suite from an asset class perspective and augments the bank’s strategy to provide the best services to our mass and affluent clients. This platform is future-ready for the bank to expand into extensive categories of structured products for a wider spectrum of market demand across the globe.



DIGITAL WALLET INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - HONG KONG

Pay you. PayMe. Pay anyone instantly PayMe From HSBC was recognised at the Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Awards 2022. Pay businesses with PayCodes Use PayMe to pay your favourite HK businesses. Simply swipe left to open the scanner and scan the PayCode to make instant payments. You can use PayCodes to pay friends too! We’ve got your back When it comes to keeping your account safe, we don’t mess around. Powered by HSBC’s bank-standard security and fraud prevention technology, you can rest assured we’ve got you covered. PayMe for Business PayMe for Business portal Once you’ve successfully onboarded with the PayMe for Business app, you can activate your free portal account. It allows you to manage PayMe for Business transactions effortlessly, anytime, anywhere. The portal is accessible through a dedicated website and for all PayMe for Business customers.

Dharini Kannan Hemant, Head of PayMe, HSBC

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o cashless. Share bills with friends in just a few taps, no matter which Hong Kong bank they’re with. All you need is a mobile number—no fees, no hassles. PayMe began as a labour of love in an internal meeting of HSBC with a mission to make life easier for friends and family to easily transfer money to each other through their mobile phones. Usage in Hong Kong quickly snowballed to the millions in less than two years, with early evangelists helping spread the word about PayMe. In 2019, PayMe for Business launched, aimed at local businesses looking for low-cost payment solutions with the flexibility to use their own mobile devices to collect payments. Since then, PayMe has significantly scaled up its network of merchants, ranging from some of the city’s largest e-commerce platforms to local SMEs as important contributors to the Hong Kong economy. Dharini Kannan Hemant, Head of PayMe, HSBC, said, “We are pleased to receive this award from Asian Banking & Finance at a time when PayMe has also been selected to support the disbursement of consumption vouchers

for Phase II by the Hong Kong SAR government, enabling us to help stimulate local consumption, especially for small-and-medium merchants. Five years after its launch, PayMe has become a part of daily life for many Hong Kong people to support their P2P (person to person) and P2M (person to merchant) transactions. The fact that PayMe has become a colloquial expression among Hongkongers to describe payment and bill splitting signifies our role in driving local adoption of digital payment, an important aspect of smart city development.” PayMe for Personal Use Join a community of over 2.8 million users Signing up is simple. Get started in seconds, find friends already on PayMe and invite those who are missing out! We’re taking the pain out of payments Whether you’re planning a holiday or splitting the bill for lunch, PayMe makes payments for every social occasion easier than ever. We keep it simple so you can concentrate on things that matter, like living your best life and savouring the moment.

Five years after its launch, PayMe is now a part of daily life for many Hong Kong people to support their P2P and P2M transactions 58 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

Access your funds instantly or set up an automatic transfer PayMe for Business provides instant access to your money, so merchants can transfer it out to their bank account whenever it suits them. Best of all, there’s no charge for transferring out funds. Connect with over 2.8 million PayMe users Start collecting payments from our 2.8 million (and growing) Hong Kong customer base - instantly, anywhere, anytime. You can now use our award-winning app at your favourite restaurants, retailers, and many more. Join PayMe or PayMe for Business today!


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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE YEAR - HONG KONG MOBILE BANKING & PAYMENT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - HONG KONG

Delivering Greater Customer Convenience with Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited The company won at the Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Awards. remittances. Mobile Banking customers with a BOC Card or BOC CUP Dual Currency Card can also take cash out of their accounts without using an ATM card through Mobile Banking thanks to the QR Cash service. Prospective new customers can use the App to open their accounts in a highly streamlined, efficient process that takes advantage of ID card verification and continuously enhanced facial recognition and optical character recognition technology. Transactions through the Mobile Banking App increased by 88%, with Mobile Banking financial transactions increasing by 30%.

Bank of China Hong Kong Tower Source: Mk2010, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/bysa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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he Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited (BOCHK) earns the Digital Transformation of the Year - Hong Kong Award at the Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Awards 2022 for its continuous commitment to using the ongoing digital banking transformation to bring further banking convenience to its many customers, despite the more developed digital technologies to increase a bank’s edge over its competitors. BOCHK sets itself apart by having a business model that is powered by digitalization, big data, and AI, which allows them to anticipate their needs and to conceive, design, and execute product and service offerings perfectly suited to meet them. Digitalisation enhance customer experience BOCHK’s Mobile Banking App is a comprehensive electronic investment and wealth management platform. It features over 100 banking services, allowing customers to easily manage their day-today financial needs, including spending, transfers, payments, and cross-border

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Making wealth management easier The bank supports its customers’ wealth management journey with a range of digital capabilities, such as the PlanAhead tool that allows customers to plan for their financial goals at all life stages, calculating their target gap based on their financial status and providing them with asset allocation reference portfolios according to their risk appetite. Another service introduced is the Finance Academy, which serves as an introductory resource for people new to wealth planning, offering tutorial videos and articles about Fund, Insurance and Wealth Planning. The new scheme helps customers across the Greater Bay Area to invest in wealth management products around the region. Through digitalisation, BOCHK looks forward to a massive increase in revenue contribution from digital channels. It aims to provide customer satisfaction through digitally enhancing the end-to-end customer experience to making changes such as IT budget with the freedom to business to manage and operate, agile delivery, provide the right tools and on-thejob learning opportunities to involve staff in digital transformation. “We continue to leverage our strength, and focus on creating joyful customer

journeys, embedding ourselves into customers’ daily lives with our full range of products and services,” said Mary Lo, General Manager, Personal Digital Banking Product Department at Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited. Empowered by Big Data, creating more value for customers BOCHK’s digital solutions are driven by an intelligent AI platform that constantly analyses customers’ behaviour in real-time. The use of data also powers our bank’s relationships with business customers. Whilst the bank continues to introduce new digital services that provide new ways to develop closer and more interactive relationships with its customers, communication with customers remains a top priority with the release of Bonnie, BOCHK’s chatbot that offers customer support across different platforms. Bonnie uses AI and machine learning to share all-rounded banking knowledge from product and service information to guidelines on using our digital platforms. Complemented by the designated e-Zones in the bank’s branches, where customer service ambassadors can help streamline customers’ experiences. With the remote service model, chatbot accuracy increased by 80% and teller counter transactions were reduced by 20%, allowing frontline staff to perform more value-added services. “Commitment to digital transformation is our bank’s long-term strategy. We believe that digitalisation will bring long-term benefits, such as optimising cost and staff efficiency, improving turnaround time of transactions, enhancing customer experience, etc. Happy staff, happy customers, and happy returns,” said Daniel Li, Chief Digital Officer, Personal Banking, Personal Digital Banking Product Department at Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited.

We continue to leverage our strength and focus on creating joyful customer journeys, embedding ourselves into customers’ daily lives with our full range of products and services



WEALTH MANAGEMENT PLATFORM OF THE YEAR - THAILAND INVESTMENT PRODUCT INNOVATION OF THE YEAR - THAILAND

CIMB Thai Bank recognised at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022 The bank continued to solidify their position as the top distributor for bonds and structured products in Thailand.

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s they say, once is chance, twice is a coincidence, and third time’s a pattern—CIMB Thai Bank took home the “Wealth Management Platform of the Year – Thailand” award for the third consecutive year, as well as a new “Investment Product Innovation of the Year – Thailand” award at the recently-concluded Retail Banking Awards 2022. This event honours the most outstanding banks and financial institutions that have introduced ground-breaking products and services that empowered them to successfully adapt to the rapidly evolving tech and banking landscape. What sets us apart from other banks is that customers can bank with us and access our entire product suite, wealth management, and financial advisory services without needing to visit a physical bank branch. Since embarking on our digital journey four years ago, we have constantly pushed the digital frontier forward by rolling out initiatives including a fully-digital process to open a banking account, as well as transitioning from a brick-and-mortar model into a seamless mobile-first banking experience for our customers. In the past few years, we have solidified our position as a top distributor for bonds and structured products in Thailand, leading in market share for both. This synergises closely with our passion to go digital since we launched digital primary bond subscriptions on our CIMB TH Digital Banking application two years ago. This feature has garnered sustained interest and hype from our customers, resulting in nearly three-fold year-on-year growth just in the first half of 2022 alone. We have capitalised further on this success by launching Indicative Bond Demand (IBD) management and secondary booking capabilities, whilst also releasing a series of small-ticket bonds, which allow newto-wealth customers to start subscribing to bonds for as affordable as THB1,000. Wide range of services for customers CIMB Thai is uniquely positioned to provide not just the most competitive deposit rates, but also a complete wealth management solution including mutual funds, bonds from primary and secondary markets, structured products, equity-linked notes, and comprehensive insurance solutions. To fulfil our wealth customers’ various needs,

62 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

Paul Wong Chee Kin, President & CEO of CIMB Thai Bank

we have also launched a new Wealth Credit Line product, allowing our wealth customers to finance their investments, potentially improving yield and diversification. We have also launched our brand-new Speed D+ Digital Savings, which gives our customers seamless access to investment channels whilst enjoying attractive interest rates as high as 8x market competitor rates. For those who still prefer face-to-face interaction, especially for the affluent segment, we have also unveiled brand-new Wealth Centres across Thailand in the past few years, which are equipped with a wide range of innovative wealth services and smart wealth advisory systems to better serve our Preferred customers. Data and analytics play a critical role in enabling the successful delivery of CIMB Thai’s digital wealth products and services. Leveraging the multifaceted data from our various interactions with customers, we have successfully developed several meaningful models to create more value for our customers, including a Next-Product-ToBuy (NPTB) model, which greatly enhances our ability to recommend the best products to fit our customers’ needs, as well as a Hidden Preferred model, which allows us to identify affluent individuals via behavioural / transaction trends so that we can reach out with exclusive Preferred offers. These

models are augmented further with the recent launch of our latest Intelligent Campaign Management System (iCAMS), which allows us to automate actions and product recommendations in real-time, hyper-personalising the wealth experience and allowing us to engage our customers via various channels. Amidst an ever-changing, increasingly digital world, CIMB Thai will constantly adapt to provide a seamless banking experience for our customers. We will be launching more wealth-focused enhancements to allow customers to do more in our application, including integrating our mobile application with the SET’s FundConnext Open Architecture Mutual Fund Platform, allowing customers to manage and subscribe to any mutual fund nationwide, fully digitally. We also aim to further improve our digital wealth capabilities, including robo-advisory services and an enhanced consolidated financial portfolio. All of these could not have been achieved without the support of our customers as well as the various partners that we have worked with. We have great aspirations to continue driving the future of banking in Thailand, and we hope that you will continue to support us—or even join us—on our journey forward.

“This award motivates us to continue doing our best in this space. Our gratitude goes towards all our customers and various partners for making this possible.” – Paul Wong Chee Kin, President & CEO of CIMB Thai Bank


YEARS IN A ROW Thank you for trusting CIMB THAI Bank as your preferred financial partner. With three consecutive years of being awarded Best Wealth Management Platform of the Year, as well as Best Investment Product Innovation of the Year, rest assured that we will continue to serve and provide you with the best banking experience in ASEAN.

Wealth Management Platform of the Year 2020 - 2022

FORWARD

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Investment Product Innovation of the Year 2022

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TAIWAN DOMESTIC COVID MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR COVID MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - TAIWAN FINANCIAL INCLUSION INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - TAIWAN SERVICE INNOVATION OF THE YEAR - TAIWAN

Turning the pandemic environment with a new digital service mode of Bank SinoPac The bank’s COVID Management Initiative won the Asian Banking & Finance Wholesale Banking Award and Retail Banking Awards.

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n the face of the challenge of the pandemic in Taiwan in 2021, Bank SinoPac provided uninterrupted service by taking action in advance to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees. Bank SinoPac’s customer satisfaction and customer NPS (Net Promoter Score) have both increased despite the situation. This shows that Bank SinoPac is fighting the pandemic with customers, business partners, and employees to realise the vision of “Together, a better life.” Regarding customer service, Bank SinoPac introduced the “Microsoft Teams Video Identity Verification” digital tool to provide customers with a flexible solution of video identity verification for financial services that require signature witnessing during the pandemic. Customers can apply for financial services at home. Bank SinoPac also used “iBranch” O2O2O (Online to Offline to Online) to digitise the service process at the branch counters, integrating pre-filled forms, online number-taking, account opening on the cloud, and floating teller services. This reduces the risk of contact between tellers and customers and improves the security of transactions at the counter. It also shortens the time spent at the bank and helps manage the traffic at the branches, thereby ensuring pandemic prevention. Diversifying products and services In addition, Bank SinoPac built a diversified and convenient online service and product platform - “Convenience Service for Pandemic Prevention” to satisfy customers without limitations of space and geographical influence. Furthermore, it can complete various investments, wealth management, and daily financial transactions, which includes the following three services: (1) 24-hour “Bank SinoPac Digital Drive-Thru”, integrating six types of services most commonly used by the public, such as account application, account inquiry, account transactions, loan services, investment and wealth management, and credit card services. It has 50 common functions. Customers can connect to various financial services with one click through this single platform. (2) The digital account–” DAWHO” only takes 3 minutes to complete the account opening through a fully digital account opening process. It integrates four services such as consumption, investment, savings, and flexible funds, which are convenient and

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efficient. “ DAWHO” has been well received by customers after its launch in 2019. In 2021, the number of digital accounts has been more than 1 million. (3) The financial consultants can use the telephone to provide consultation and then pass the investment target that the customer wants to purchase to the customer’s online banking page through the “ Oneclick Investment” function, and then the customer can confirm the target online and complete the order placement. It prevents customers from repeatedly keying in orders and completes transactions with ease. Leveraging technologies Bank SinoPac uses many financial technologies to provide uninterrupted services and ensure employee safety. Through “off-site backup,” “work from home,” and “digital services,” Bank SinoPac launched seven integrated digital services to provide a friendly financial environment with “uninterrupted operations,” “work safety,” and “zero distance service.” In response to the pandemic, remote working introduced Microsoft’s “Windows Azure Virtual Desktop (WVD)” system that is connected to the company’s computer desktop through the cloud interface, so employees can work in the comfort of their homes. Meanwhile, to strengthen digital management, and improve work-from-home efficiency, Bank SinoPac established the digital management tool “SinoPac Cloud App”. The APP mainly contains two functions. First, it has a digital work-from-home management function. Employees can record work status, and supervisors can track the progress of the work schedule. In addition, the bank launched a selected series of “Digital Courses and Forums,” providing a wide variety of online learning resources that integrate pandemic prevention, work, and learning.

Bank SinoPac practices corporate social responsibility by providing various reductions and exemptions to customers affected by the pandemic. In response to the government bailouts, Bank SinoPac launched the “Brave Loan” project to provide customers with a more favourable capital turnover solution during the severe pandemic in 2021. Twenty days after the project was launched, the quotas of NT$500m were all taken. Bank SinoPac also cares for remote areas and vulnerable groups affected by the pandemic. By donating daily necessities and antipandemic equipment and resources, Bank SinoPac achieves its mission and corporate social responsibility of “paying it forward to the community.” “We will continue to deepen and refine our service to provide a better user experience,” said the company. After the pandemic, Bank SinoPac will continue to pay attention to the economic environment and changes in consumption patterns to provide investments, consumption, and loan products that meet the needs of customers in response to the economic recovery. “By doing so, we implement our vision of financial inclusion and enable the public to enjoy financial services. Additionally, Bank SinoPac will also make efforts to drive digital transformation, focus on green finance, and build team cohesion to achieve our mission of sustainable finance,” the bank concludes.

After the pandemic, Bank SinoPac will continue to pay attention to the economic environment and changes in consumption patterns to provide investments, consumption, and loan products that meet the needs of customers in response to the economic recovery



REMITTANCE COMPANY OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE

Anurag Mathur

Why the Future of Banking is More Mobile and Engaging

By Anurag Mathur, Head of Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC Bank (Singapore)

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he new generation of consumers presents wealth managers with a fantastic opportunity to deepen client relationships by creating personalised experiences designed to meet their evolving needs. Underpinned by technology, new solutions empower these consumers to manage their finances and wealth when and where it suits them best. Younger consumers – especially millennials and members of Gen Z – rely on digital platforms in virtually every aspect of their lives, and they expect to be able to access banking services and financial advice through multiple channels as part of a richer digital experience. Rather than an existential threat, HSBC sees this as a chance to leverage new technologies for a seamless, more impactful client experience. The organisations that will succeed in the new world of digital banking are those that pass three criteria: their ability to provide clients with the service they want on the channel where they want to be served; how trusted they are as partners and as custodians of clients’ assets and data; and their ability to negotiate the increasingly complex matrix of global regulatory requirements. Banks, including HSBC, are showing themselves capable of using technology to enhance the way they serve clients by

integrating digital capabilities and efficiencies into all channels. Branches are becoming more efficient, relationship managers are equipped with digital tools, and contact centres are increasingly using AI and chatbots to quickly and effectively meet clients’ needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Similarly, financial services providers, including banks, must demonstrate that they are using new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data in an ethical way. It is important they communicate clearly with clients and give them meaningful choices in the use of their information. Whilst clients may value gaining access to digital banking and investment platforms for self-directed services, it is still important for them to have the choice of speaking in-person for more complex financial planning and investment needs. Keeping the client at the centre of everything we do also means working internally to ensure that employees are equipped to meet their evolving needs. Upskilling and regular training are essential as they will help build employees’ knowledge and confidence in the use of digital solutions to guide clients’ financial needs. Most importantly, it ensures that our employees

remain relevant and future-ready as the banking industry evolves. Meanwhile, as mobile banking becomes ubiquitous, the challenge is to build solutions or features that clients can’t live without. At least, that’s our goal with HSBC Global Money Transfers and our collaboration with Saxo Bank to accelerate the digitalisation of our wealth and investment platform. HSBC Global Money Transfers enables our clients to send money at a faster speed and without any fees charged by HSBC* to over 50 countries and territories, 24/7, via their mobile phones. When used with a multi-currency bank account such as the HSBC Everyday Global Account, our clients can seamlessly hold, manage FX fluctuations, Pay and Spend Like a Local even when they are overseas. HSBC is the only global bank in Singapore to offer direct RMB fund transfers to UnionPay Cardholders in mainland China. First in HSBC to partner Saxo Bank to strengthen our equities investment offering to all retail banking clients, including those residing overseas. By incorporating Saxo’s trading infrastructure into HSBC Singapore’s digital platform, our clients now have access to new platform functionalities and an enhanced user experience. Clients want investing to be simple, fast, and integrated with their everyday banking. Through this collaboration, we are able to accelerate the delivery of a market leading, cost-effective trading platform to our clients. In the long-term, technology is only going to be part of what good banking service looks like to clients. Whilst many day-today activities – such as payments, lending, and account opening – will be efficiently managed through digital platforms, truly understanding individual clients’ needs, helping support them as they manage their wealth, take out a mortgage, or buy protection for the future, remains a distant goal for technology. People are at the heart of what we do, and human interaction is an essential part of that. Clients still want to talk to someone they can trust, particularly when it comes to bigger life decisions or complex situations that need empathy. It is too easy to paint a vision of a future where people are completely and easily removed from the banking equation. The banking experience of the future is expected to remain multi-channel; part people, part digital.

The banking experience of the future will remain multi-channel; part people, part digital

* Some intermediary banks may charge fees. You can see an estimate of the applicable fees when you review your transfer. The actual amount is subject to the intermediary bank and will be debited after you’ve confirmed your transfer. Some banks may charge for incoming international transfers. Your payees will need to check with their banks on these charges as they vary and will be debited from the payee’s account. We are unable to advise you on the fees applied by other banks for payments sent through Global Money Transfers

66 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019



EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR - GOLD BRANCH INNOVATION OF THE YEAR - GOLD INTERNATIONAL RETAIL BANK OF THE YEAR - THAILAND

New heights of progress with UOB Thailand The company was recognised with three wins at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022.

Connect. UOB also studied customer behaviours for segments classified by wealth asset under management (AUM), launching both the UOB Privilege Reserve segment for high net worth individuals and the UOB Infinite Privilege Reserve credit card. TMRW, ASEAN’s first mobile-only bank, was also introduced, with TMRW Cash Plus acting as a one-stop digital credit solution. Leveraging propensity, predictive, and credit decision models, TMRW saw 31% customer growth and 38% lower cost of acquisition.

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ith the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that crippled many industries around the world, UOB Thailand found itself with a blank canvas to implement new ideas to rise above their competition, earning them Employer of the Year - Gold, Branch Innovation of the Year Gold, and International Retail Bank of the Year - Thailand awards at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022. The awards programme recognises new innovations, extraordinary efforts, and key players in the retail banking industry of Asia, and UOB Thailand’s establishment of efficient virtual workplaces, strategic business acquisition with Citibank, as well as the use of E2E data-analytics innovation platform and virtual branch set them apart from other banks in the Asia Pacific region. A better place to work Job security, health, and peace of mind for employees ensure productivity and business continuity, along with the direction, technology, and processes that are aligned and operating efficiently.Maintaining high levels of employee engagement was achieved through using a human-centred design approach and the incorporation of senior management, function engagement advocates, and selected talent. Appropriate solutions were also built and inputs were analysed for better workstreams. inputs were analysed for better workstreams. Some solutions undertaken include purposeful communication; ‘Reaffirmation of no retrenchment exercise because of the

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COVID-19 situation’; provision of real-time support; securing vaccination for employees in collaboration with the government; and encouraging employees to utilise flexibility programmes such as staggered working hours and personal leaves. After a year of sustained efforts, business performance exceeded expectations as operating profit rose by 6% and net profit skyrocketed by 181% compared to 2020, along with engagement rates significantly greater than numerous industry benchmarks. Scaling to new heights UOB Thailand has entered into an agreement to acquire Citi’s Consumer Banking Business in Thailand, providing UOB with an unparalleled expansion opportunity. It will broaden its partner ecosystem and potentially increase its retail customer base by twofold. In addition, the Bank strategically expanded its footprint. In doing so, it secured partnership contracts in the area of utilising data for predictive and underwriting models. Such models provided strategies that helped UOB weather the storm brought about by the pandemic. Some strategies include the introduction of Banca Digital Face-to-Face sales and the development of a Mutual Fund Remote Sales Tool, along with a Home Loan Contract Signing with video recording, all complementing the extant LINE Segment Platform and UOB LINE

Staying focused on customer centricity UOB has relentlessly enhanced branch offerings to better provide services and advice to their customers, redesigning and enhancing their data analytics platforms to produce better insights on how to better serve their existing base. An online-offline hybrid solution in the form of a virtual branch was created to give customers a seamless digital-physical journey and services that can be availed anytime and anywhere. This aids an endto-end data-analytics innovation platform for need-based offerings by leveraging data analytics, technologies, and data centralisation, as the data-analytics-driven online digital marketing allows customers to receive relevant offers and promotions that match their interests. Applying data analytics to tailor offerings, customers can find their choices and needs displayed to them upon arrival, and through the use of new online-to-offline automation, data from the website can be connected to the branch, as customers are now able to submit requests online before UOB branch staff reach out to them to provide financial advice and offers that meet their needs. Through their continued efforts, UOB enjoyed business growth as deposits grew by 5% compared to the previous year, along with loans rising by 11%. Staff productivity was also positively affected, as the number of successful referrals per employee increased by 43%, with customers appearing to be enjoying a more pleasant experience, as reflected by the 52% decrease in branch-related complaints.

UOB Thailand maintains high levels of employee engagement through using a human-centred design approach


ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 69


HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SWIFT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

Intesa Sanpaolo, a leader in providing sustainable and innovative banking solutions

Intesa Sanpaolo: Beside our clients, also in the APAC region

The bank won the Hong Kong International Swift Initiative of the Year award at the ABF Wholesale Banking Awards.

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o be a leader in such a competitive, innovative, and challenging environment today, there is only one password: Flexible_Green_Digitalization, not just as a slogan, but as a way of working. The Intesa Sanpaolo Group is one of the top banking groups in Europe (€33.9b of market capitalisation), with a significant ESG commitment, a world-class position in social impact, and a strong focus on climate. Intesa Sanpaolo is the leader in Italy in all business areas, including retail, corporate, and wealth management, and has a strategic international presence with approximately 1,000 branches and 7 million customers. Who we are Intesa Sanpaolo, IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division, directly manages the relationships, at a domestic and international level, with medium and large companies, public finance and financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies, and investment companies, in order to help them meet all their needs related to financial markets and their business activities. The IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division also supports the whole Intesa Sanpaolo Group’s clientele with its technical expertise in the fields of Investment Banking, Structured Finance, Capital Markets, and Transaction Banking.

APAC Region, a well-established network In the APAC region, Intesa Sanpaolo, through an extended network of branches and representative offices, provides its customers with in-depth knowledge of different industries, corporate strategies, a wide range of services and innovative tailored solutions, delivered along with product desks for corporate banking, GTB, SEF, structured finance, syndication, and TEF. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong Hub Branch is the pivotal point for Intesa Sanpaolo’s Asia Pacific network that coordinates the Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Sydney branches and the representative offices in Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Mumbai, and Seoul. The Award Thanks to its customer-centric approach and continuous innovation, Intesa Sanpaolo has been recognised by Asian Banking & Finance as an outstanding bank in APAC with the Hong Kong International Swift Initiative of the Year 2022 award. Providing solutions to clients RGE (Royal Golden Eagle) manages a group of resource-based manufacturing companies with global operations. RGE’s work ranges from upstream, which is comprised of sustainable resource development and harvesting, to downstream, where its

Intesa Sanpaolo is giving strong support to the green transition and leading in the main sustainability indexes and rankings 70 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

companies create diverse value-added products for the global market. RGE’s commitment to sustainable development, conservation, and community development underpins its operations, as RGE strives towards what is good for the community, good for the country, good for the climate, good for the customer, and good for the company. RGE’s treasury was looking for a digital solution able to provide a more sustainable and innovative treasury approach, minimising paperbased transactions, that was capable of boosting day-to-day operational efficiency and meeting the highest security standards at the same time. Intesa Sanpaolo Hong Kong GTB Desk has implemented 3 SwiftNet SCORE for 3 Hong Kong-based companies in the group, combined with a Swift GPI-based solution able to execute international payments (also cross currency) almost instantly. A 4th SwiftNet—a Singaporean entity of the group—is under implementation as Intesa Sanpaolo ai to continue to providing strong support to the group’s digital transition strategy. For this new project, Intesa Sanpaolo Hong Kong has directly sponsored the client alongside Swift for a BIC SCORE attribution. The solution provided by Intesa Sanpaolo is totally consistent with the customer’s philosophy and also with Intesa Sanpaolo’s significant commitment to ESG, with a world-class position in social impact as well as a strong focus on climate—Intesa Sanpaolo is giving strong support to the green transition and leading in the main sustainability indexes and rankings. Intesa Sanpaolo Hong Kong hub Intesa Sanpaolo provides complex, tailored solutions reaching the highest standard in terms of efficiency and execution: a highly qualified team assists clients in overcoming the challenges they are facing, sharing the same keys to success: speed, efficiency, safety, and connectivity. Intesa Sanpaolo Hong Kong Hub, through the HK GTB Desk, offers a full range of cash management, trade finance, and Liquidity solutions, including domestic and international cash pooling, ZBA, all kinds of channels (InBiz, SwiftNet, H2H, Ebics), and payment factory. When it comes to trade finance, Intesa Sanpaolo is currently supporting corporates and multinational companies in the management of the trade cycle funding gap as well as the risks involved in cross-border transactions. This is done by Intesa Sanpaolo through offering working capital optimisation tools and risk mitigation, giving strong support to green solutions. 1 Source: Intesa Sanpaolo website (About us), data as at 31.08.2022



MOBILE BANKING & PAYMENT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - MALAYSIA ONLINE BANKING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - MALAYSIA SERVICE INNOVATION OF THE YEAR - INDONESIA CREDIT CARD INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE

Maybank secures multiple wins at the highlyacclaimed ABF Retail Banking Awards By delivering a world-class customer experience, Maybank scored four regional awards.

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aybank’s continuous effort to innovate and provide groundbreaking solutions to humanise banking has once again strengthened its leadership position, winning four awards at the Asian Banking & Finance (ABF) Retail Banking Awards 2022 for Maybank Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. These awards - Maybank Malaysia’s Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year, Maybank Islamic Gold Account-i, Maybank Singapore’s Family & Friends Card, and Maybank Indonesia’s Service Innovation of the Year— highlight the Bank’s strategic priority in developing seamless financial solutions that meet customers’ needs.

Supporting customers at every stage of their financial journey Maybank Malaysia’s MAE app, with its unique features to support customers throughout their financial journey, earns its badge as the winner of the Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year award. The app includes practical and user-friendly features such as expense tracking, setting money-saving goals (Tabung), bill splitting, food delivery service (Sama-Sama Lokal), contactless ATM withdrawal, and online applications for financial products, including mortgages (Home2u). The Sama-Sama Lokal feature, launched during the movement restrictions, is especially useful for small homegrown businesses as they can use this notable feature to conduct online business and delivery services seamlessly for customers. To help customers hedge against inflation, the Maybank Islamic Gold Account-i (MIGA-i) offers a convenient, secure and Shariah-compliant way for customers to buy and invest in gold online. As customers can now open the MIGA-I account within two minutes, gold investment is made even more accessible. This hassle-free account opening to enable customers to invest in gold wins the Online Initiative of the Year award. The MIGA-I account is one of Maybank Malaysia’s comprehensive financial solutions that supports customers in taking care of their financial needs and having a diversified investment portfolio. A credit card with customisable benefits With a customer-first approach in mind, Maybank Singapore relaunched its flagship Maybank Family & Friends Card, receiving recognition as the Credit Card Initiative of the Year. This newly-refreshed credit card 72 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

empowers customers with the flexibility to choose five preferred cashback categories from 10 different options via the Maybank TREATS SG app. As there is no one-sizefits-all solution for customers, the Maybank Family & Friends Card caters to individuals across different age groups, allowing them to customise the card benefits to suit their lifestyles.

Maybank goes beyond making banking more accessible to everyone by leveraging technology and creating industryleading solutions As part of the Bank’s effort to enhance customer experience holistically, a ‘Benefit Optimizer’ dashboard was also developed within the TREATS SG app to help card members maximise their monthly cashback. This dashboard helps them know if they have met the required spend for the month to be eligible for the 8% cashback, and to track their spending across the various cashback categories to get the most out of their cards. Bringing convenience with enhanced onboarding services In the fast-changing digital world, staying ahead of the curve is a requisite to serve the community effectively. For instance, circumstances from the pandemic saw the

need for accelerating the adoption of mobile and digital banking services, which led to the utilisation of video calls for due diligence verification. As part of the Bank’s continuous effort to bring greater convenience to customers, Maybank Indonesia improved its digital customer onboarding service with biometric due diligence verification, earning the Service Innovation of the Year award. Using the electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) capability, customers can open accounts online and get onboarded through a fully digital identity verification process supported by biometric technology. This new end-to-end onboarding process now only takes 5 to 7 minutes, compared to video calls, which take roughly 15 minutes. This capability has enhanced the customer experience as their onboarding experience is now quicker, more seamless, and more secure. Using digital banking and technology to impact change Maybank goes beyond making banking more accessible to everyone by leveraging technology and creating industry-leading solutions. In humanising financial services, Maybank will continue to pave the way in bringing meaningful impact to the lives of new and existing customers, alongside driving other strategic priorities such as sustainable banking services.



WEALTH MANAGEMENT PLATFORM OF THE YEAR - HONG KONG

HSBC Awarded Wealth Management Platform of the Year for its New Online Equity Linked Investment Redefining structured product investing in Hong Kong in response to the rapidly evolving wealth management market. experienced investors alike. Since its launch in November 2021, this award-winning ELI platform has been well received by investors. Having the firstin-town real-time online ELI pricer, the platform helps customers expedite the process of creating a new product from an hour at branches to just a few steps online. With just a few clicks, customers can get real-time price quotes and create products for subscription. Customers have the flexibility to create their own ELI products either from scratch or with reference to existing products, and can easily view extensive data on the historical performance of the selected assets in dynamic price charts. HSBC is the first retail bank in Hong Kong to have a platform that also offers private banking-like Private Placement Notes (PPNs) to professional investors, making the full range of SPs available online and ready for subscriptions digitally. Sami Abouzahr, Head of Investments and Wealth Solutions at HSBC in Hong Kong

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s one of the major structured products (SP) providers in Hong Kong, HSBC offers a wide range of SPs covering different markets and asset classes on multiple channels. The bank has taken a further step to enhance its digital capabilities by bringing SP to its online platforms. To further improve the digital investment journey of its customers, HSBC has launched a new online Equity Linked Investment (ELI) Platform to redefine SP investing in the Hong Kong wealth management market. This new platform has been recognised at the Asian Banking & Finance Awards 2022 with the Wealth Management Platform of the Year. Traditionally, selecting and creating suitable SPs could be challenging for customers. The process of creating a product typically takes up to an hour for customers in conventional manned channels. HSBC’s new ELI platform is designed to provide a hassle-free online experience from product selection to order placement in just a few steps, catering to the needs of both novice and more 74 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

Empowering users To further empower investors, customers will be able to track their ELIs’ performance through the portfolio page. With comprehensive coverage of different trigger event indicators and performance tracking, customers can easily keep an eye on their investments. Seamless reinvestment is also facilitated by a userfriendly function that brings customers

back to the product creation page with all the parameters prefilled for their convenience. Education is critical to demystifying SP trading for the retail market, and the new ELI platform has placed particular emphasis on making SP trading accessible. Step-by-step video demos and easy-to-understand product illustrations with dynamic payoff scenarios are just some of the highlights of the education initiatives. Further education enhancements will be implemented progressively on the platform to help customers uncover SP investment opportunities. Tens of thousands of customers have visited the new ELI platform and tried out the auto-pricer function to customise ELIs online in the first months since the platform’s launch. Online penetration of ELI trading has been boosted substantially. Since the launch of the new PPN subscription feature on the platform, a significant proportion of PPN transactions have migrated online. The encouraging receptiveness from its broad range of investors validates HSBC’s efforts to ceaselessly reinvent itself and meaningfully address the demand of the market for a better digital SP trading experience. HSBC will continue to strategically expand the SP spectrum and product offerings through this new ELI platform and beyond, growing alongside its wealth management customers on their investment journey.

HSBC Hong Kong Headquarters

HSBC’s efforts to ceaselessly reinvent itself and meaningfully address the demand of the market for a better digital SP trading experience


HSBC Wealth & Personal Banking A truly Relationship Managed Bank in Bangladesh

Supporting individuals in Bangladesh to get the best out of personal banking and connecting to opportunities overseas.

International Education

Non-Resident

Bangladeshi Services

Dual Currency Debit Card

To know more visit: hsbc.com.bd

ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 75


DOMESTIC RETAIL BANK OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE BANKING FOR WOMEN INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE ESG PROGRAM OF THE YEAR - SILVER MOBILE BANKING & PAYMENT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE WEALTH MANAGEMENT PLATFORM OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE

United Overseas Bank soars at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022

personal, human assistance whenever they need to, with their customer service hotlines operating 24/7 and their branches open to serve both online and offline customers.

The bank bagged five major awards for their business projects and initiatives.

UOB Women’s Segment UOB also recognises that women’s lifestyles and financial needs evolve over time as their roles also expand. To support this, UOB continues to innovate and develop financial solutions that cater to the multi-faceted women of today whilst respecting their individuality. Its UOB Lady’s Card and Lady’s Savings Account were designed and birthed as part of its commitment towards supporting the goals and aspirations of women who do it all. These progressive solutions provide women with the freedom of choice to define their own rewards and get the added protection they need. UOB is also the first bank in Singapore that provides an allencompassing financial proposition of Save, Protect, and Transact exclusively for women. Moreover, the bank partnered with CNA Lifestyle Women—a brand new vertical focusing on female voices and interests— and launched a 13-part series to empower and educate women on financial literacy. The series explored the multi-faceted relationship women have with money and how they can tap into various tools and solutions to support them across different life stages and as they don different hats. It covered topics from budgeting, savings and protection, and home ownership, to investment, and spoke directly to women and their lifestyles.

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ultinational banking corporation, United Overseas Bank (UOB) has been recognised at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022 for its stellar performance in the past year, winning a total of five major awards in the prestigious awards programme. UOB has won the Domestic Retail Bank of the Year - Singapore, Banking for Women Initiative of the Year - Singapore, ESG Programme of the Year - Silver, Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year Singapore, and Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Singapore awards. The recognition comes amidst strong numbers in what was an unpredictable year, with the company’s gross revenue remaining robust at S$2b with significant growth – 7% CASA growth, 28% new mortgage sales growth, and 31% growth in investment income. This growth is despite compressed net interest margins from 1.77% in 2020 to 1.64% in 2021, brought upon by a challenging low-interest rate environment. In 2021, the bank launched the UOB Absolute Cashback Card, which offers the highest cashback of 1.7% in Singapore with no cap and no spend exclusions. It also brought together the innovation of its digital bank, TMRW, with the scale and product depth of its mobile app, UOB Mighty, on one unified platform—UOB TMRW. UOB’s omnichannel strategies, which aimed to capture customers through both digital capabilities and a strong physical network presence, have allowed the bank to foster

deeper relationships and develop a more engaged customer base. The UOB TMRW platform serves over 3.5 million digital customers in Southeast Asia, with TMRW being maximised heavily to scale key initiatives, such as UOB Rewards+ and SimpleInvest. The bank introduced UOB Rewards+, Singapore’s biggest card rewards programme, to leverage the current economic situation and the omnichannel strategy, as well as the change in preferences and consumption behaviours. Through this personalised programme, customers can search for deals, track cashback and rewards points, as well as redeem their rewards, all in one app. Meanwhile, SimpleInvest strives to give investors simply more than just another digital wealth platform. Its value proposition gives customers more convenience, as the investment process is integrated with existing banking services, wherein customers’ investment accounts are automatically tagged to their UOB banking accounts. SimpleInvest also provides more focus, with the investment decision-making starting point. This helps investors decide on the right choice that suits their needs best as they choose from three expertly crafted portfolios or build their own portfolio from a curated list of over 100 unit trusts. At the same time, it gives more balance as customers may still deliberate if the products proposed to them suit their investment needs and objectives. They can always reach out for

UOB’s omnichannel strategies, which aimed to capture customers through both digital capabilities and a strong physical network presence, have allowed the bank to foster deeper relationships and develop a more engaged customer base 76 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

Forging a sustainable future In 2020, UOB launched the Personal Financial Services Division’s Sustainability Programme, which provides retail customers with simple and accessible ways to make a positive impact as they invest, spend, borrow, and live their daily lives. UOB’s sustainable investing solutions span across multiple asset classes, encompassing unit trusts, bonds, and structured products, to give investors more options to incorporate ESG wealth solutions into their portfolios. Moreover, its Go Green Car Loan allows customers to finance electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles at attractive interest rates, whilst its Go Green Home Loan helps customers finance the purchase of homes that have been awarded the Building and Construction Authority Green Mark. Beyond offering its clients sustainable solutions, the bank also invested in upskilling its people with ESG training to equip them with the knowledge to embed sustainability into the way they work and serve clients.



PROJECT INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCE DEAL OF THE YEAR - VIETNAM

Catalysing sustainable development in Vietnam via industrial infrastructure financing VietinBank looks to emerging economic zones in the country to implement sustainable finance.

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This deal also affirms the strength of the ietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank Strengthening strategic relationships for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) strategic relationship between VietinBank Remarkably, in 2021, the bank granted was awarded at the ABF Corporate & and one of the leading foreign-invested a credit limit for its major FDI customer Investment Banking Awards for its finance industrial developers in Vietnam, piling up on to commence Phase 2 of its remarkable deal to expand the most modern and ecotheir previous successful financing projects industrial park project of international friendly integrated industrial park and for the chain of industrial parks across Hai standards in North Central Vietnam, township development project in North Phong, Bac Ninh, and Binh Duong. Meanwhile, expected to draw in enormous foreign Central Vietnam at present. VietinBank reinforced its position as a investment and create many thousands The bank is regarded as one of the Top leading local bank for FDI customers and of new jobs in the area. Considering that 2000 World’s Largest Enterprises by Forbes, achieved its goals in facilitating the country’s the industrial park was amongst a few in a strategic partner of MUFG Bank, and is one development via efficient capital allocation Vietnam that achieved three ISO quality of the 4 largest local banks in Vietnam. for major infrastructure projects. This is certificates at the same time and the Being the new favoured destination for enabled by the bank’s capabilities international investors due to its and track record in providing largewelcoming investment climate, scale credit facilities and a full range strong labour force, and aspiration of banking services for corporates VietinBank has stepped out as a pioneer to become a part of the global as being one of the biggest value chain, Vietnam has received in financing major infrastructure projects, local banks in Vietnam, owning a surge in FDI capital inflow and especially those delivering profound impacts an extensive network with 155 successfully attracted investment on the pivotal economic zones in line with its branches nationwide and having a from leading global corporations core mission and goal of becoming the market correspondent relationship with during recent years. Therefore, over 1,000 financial institutions leader of sustainable finance in Vietnam in order to upgrade existing across the globe. infrastructure that enables the More importantly, with the sustainable development of the establishment of dedicated teams economy and improvement of serving customers of various countries first accredited by SGS Vietnam, the citizens’ lives in Vietnam, VietinBank has (including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean finance deal inevitably plays a great role stepped out as a pioneer bank in financing major infrastructure projects, especially Desk) and the strategic relationship with in setting the bar for future industrial those delivering profound impacts on the MUFG Bank, the bank has consistently infrastructure projects and paving the pivotal economic zones, in line with its core been a major partner of prominent MNCs way for the area to attract more global mission and goal of becoming the market operating in all sectors in Vietnam, is known firms to establish manufacturing centres in leader of sustainable finance in Vietnam. for its ability to provide these corporate the upcoming years. customers with a comprehensive and highly customised financial solution package that meets their sophisticated requirements and evolving needs across their entire business lifecycle. Focusing on sustainability Furthermore, in light of the rising global demand for ESG and sustainability initiatives, VietinBank has already deployed the inclusion of tighter social and environmental assessment criteria during the credit appraisal stage. They have also prioritised projects that support the national sustainability goals and tackle fundamental environmental issues in Vietnam, continuing the focus on green industrial park development projects of reputable developers. This includes a launching pad for the country to attract more high-quality foreign investments that would have positive effects on its socio-economic development.

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DIGITAL CONSUMER BANKING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - HONG KONG

HSBC wins ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022 for transforming digital banking experience in HK HSBC’s 24/7 digital capabilities, which enabled customers to bank at home even during the fifth wave of COVID-19, are strong testaments to its dedication and strong agility for addressing ever-changing customer needs

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s the largest digital retail bank in Hong Kong with over 3 million digital active users, HSBC has always pushed the boundaries to deliver innovative initiatives for customers. The bank was recognised recently at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022, which honours outstanding banks and financial institutions for their ground-breaking retail products and services that have made an impact that matters for the industry. With over 95% of its customers’ transactions conducted digitally in 2021, HSBC supports customers in their everyday banking through digital-enabled solutions during challenging times and beyond, from account opening to international payment, the redemption of credit card rewards, and even wealth management. The popularity of its digital solutions is evidenced by the fact that one out of two HSBC customers is an active user of HSBC mobile apps. HSBC customers have increasingly switched to digital banking services. In response to this trend, HSBC is making an investment of over US$5 billion every year to strengthen its digital infrastructure and capabilities, while leveraging fintech, behavioural science, and data analytics to understand and address the pain points and evolving needs of customers. HSBC almost serves everyone in Hong Kong, from millennials to the elderly and from mass customers to ultra-highnet-worth customers, providing the bank with data-supported foresight to shape the future of banking services. Going above and beyond for clients The bank’s commitment and innovative spirit were most visible during the peak of the pandemic in Hong Kong when HSBC had to temporarily close 70% of its branches, whilst 80% of its client-facing staff had to work from home. In 2021, HSBC introduced over 200 digital features for its customers, equivalent to one feature per working day. HSBC was able to minimise its service disruption to customers, riding on its well-established technology capabilities and new digital initiatives, such as Payment Tracker, Mobile Cheque Deposit, Mobile Cash Withdrawal, Portfolio Advisory Service on mobile, Conversational Interactive Voice

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Brian Hui, Head of Customer Propositions and Marketing, Wealth and Personal Banking, Hong Kong, HSBC

This award demonstrates our digital commitment and initiatives that genuinely benefit our customers. HSBC is offering innovative banking service to all customers and transforms digital banking experience in Hong Kong Response technology, one-on-one Zoom meetings, and Well+. But, that’s not all. HSBC even went a step further to provide hyper-personalised solutions for different customer segments. ‘Budget’ on the HSBC HK app is a leadingedge personal financial management feature powered by data intelligence and personalised insights. It records customers’ expenses, tracks their spending patterns for the past 12 months and sends alerts for overspending. This initiative was especially welcomed by millennials, who are constantly juggling between growing their money for long-term goals while managing their daily finances and striking a balance between saving and leisure spending. The new mini-money monitor not only provides insights into their spending habits and saving targets but also helps them build healthy financial habits. In today’s technological age, data is now known as the new oil, and HSBC recognised this very early on. By adopting AI and machine

learning technology, HSBC is able to capitalise on its massive transactional data (over 500 million customer spending transactions valued at around USD380 billion carried out in 2021) to identify the behavioural patterns of its diverse customer segments. Putting customers at the heart of the business, HSBC has also invited customers to participate in the testing and refinement of ‘Budget’. This customer-centric project achieved roaring results. Within just two months after launch, the number of app logins and time spent doubled amongst ‘Budget’ users. The positive results also proved that the bank is transforming itself in anticipation of customers’ needs. “By helping customers to spend, save, borrow, invest and insure smartly, HSBC is committed to becoming a digital bank of choice where customers will be able to experience a new level of banking service beyond their imagination. We always support our customers to bank anytime, anywhere with us in their pockets,” said Brian.


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MARKETING & BRAND INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - CAMBODIA

HH BANK wins Marketing & Brand Initiative of The Year 2022 – Cambodia Award

SINGAPORE - For the first time since the launch of its operations and financial services to customers in Cambodia, HH Bank has been awarded the Marketing and Brand Initiative of The Year – Cambodia by Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Award 2022. This achievement reflects the recognition of the efforts from the management, staff and all relevant working groups as we continue to strive for continuous advancement of HH Bank brand. With an array of video content produced by HH Bank and released to public domain through social media with millions of views as a result, this award is a testament on the effectiveness of digital marketing strategy. Mr. Sakol Chhon, Head of MarCom and Product Development Department, said “It is an honor to be recognized at the Asian Banking & Finance Retail Award in the category of Marketing & Brand Initiatives of the year 2022. This achievement will bolster our HH Bank brand among our peers, both local and international banking community.” "I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our viewers on social media who made this award possible and the senior management especially the Board of Directors of HH Bank for their encouragement and continuous support. Armed with this award, HH Bank will aspire to create even more inspiring innovative promotional materials that reflect our corporate culture and along the way, solidify HH Bank brand in Cambodia.” HH Bank is headquartered at No. 64, corner of Norodom Blvd and Street 178, 84 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh. HH Bank is a new commercial bank that provides an array of loans and deposits products. Various initiatives are on-going. Branch expansion and Digital Banking initiatives are foremost on the horizon.


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CREDIT CARD INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - VIETNAM DOMESTIC RETAIL BANK OF THE YEAR - VIETNAM

Techcombank Aspire aims to empower customers, making banking seamless and easy The bank won two trophies at the ABF Retail Banking Awards.

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ietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) is Vietnam’s leading nongovernment-owned bank with a vision to change banking and change the lives of the people of Vietnam. In August 2022, the Bank launched Aspire, the first financial brand dedicated to the ‘Why Not?’ generation of customers who are young, ambitious, and believe in a brighter future. According to Darren Buckley, Chief Retail Banking Group Officer at Techcombank, “Techcombank Aspire is a whole value proposition designed around customers, designed to empower customers to make banking seamless and easy, and let them bank in a new way that is tailored to their needs and preferences.” Aspire is the latest innovation from Techcombank, which is at the forefront of the transformation of the banking industry in Vietnam. This pioneering approach has helped it to win two awards at the 2022 Asian Banking & Finance (ABF) Retail Banking Awards, taking home the prizes for Domestic Bank of the Year – Vietnam, and Credit Card Initiative of the Year - Vietnam. The award for Domestic Bank of the Year in Vietnam recognises Techcombank for its customer-centric approach, industry-leading digital capabilities, and commitment to delivering outstanding product offerings and digital customer experiences. The award for Credit Card Initiative of the Year was given in recognition of Techcombank’s new flagship credit card offering, the Techcombank Spark Card. This unique card offers customers the flexibility to choose and change their reward categories to fit their lifestyle and spending habits. Techcombank’s Spark Card is an all-in-one card that can adapt to meet the changing needs of customers all year round and at any stage in life. These two awards demonstrate the success of Techcombank’s ongoing five-year transformation strategy [2021-2025], which is based on the three pillars of Talent, Digital, and Data.

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Attracting, training, and retaining the best talent from within Vietnam and across ASEAN is one of the priority pillars of Techcombank’s strategy. In 2021, Techcombank hired an additional 4,375 new employees, around 700 of these were in the areas of technology, digital and data. Jens Lottner, CEO of Techcombank, explained that “in addition to acquiring local talents, we also source talents internationally, targeting returning Vietnamese and expats who want to be part of Techcombank’s digital transformation and make a difference in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies”. To empower its customer-centric approach, Techcombank has been investing heavily in enhancing its digital and data processing capabilities. A recent milestone for the Bank was the launch of its new mobile banking app, enabling customers to access a full range of retail banking products and services ‘on the go’ from their mobile phones. By end of June 2022, more than 70% of the Bank’s active retail customers had successfully migrated to the new mobile banking app, giving them access

to simple and intuitive “banking at your fingertips” solutions. Techcombank’s transformation strategy has enabled the Bank to maintain its growth momentum during Q2 2022, navigating a significantly more volatile environment. Its core revenue engines continued to perform well, with credit demand and margins remaining high and strong doubledigit growth from key fee drivers. Notably, Techcombank was able to accelerate credit exposure diversification toward retail customers, who at the end of June accounted for 46.6% of its credit balances, up from 38.8% at the end of March. The Bank ended Q2 2022 with 10.1 million customers, adding over 0.2 million in the last quarter, with the number of retail customer transactions through e-banking channels growing to 206.1 million, up 28.8% YoY. “We will now build on this success by continuing to upgrade our technology and infrastructure and offering new and unique digital experiences to our customers,” concluded Lottner.

Techcombank Aspire is a whole value proposition designed around customers



AI & MACHINE LEARNING INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - UAE FINANCIAL INCLUSION INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - UAE

FinTech Innovation: The Journey Of A Social Entrepreneur to Revolutionise Money Distribution In 2022, nearly 1 in 4 people still miss or overpay for basic financial services. Social entrepreneur Deepak H. Saluja remains strongly committed to using fintech to close the financial inclusion gap in emerging markets.

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he way people access and interact with money is experiencing a massive digital revolution. However, we are far from reaching complete inclusive finance– 25% of people globally remain financially excluded. Lack of access to basic financial services, higher fees for access and vulnerability to usurious lending are all part of this deep-rooted concern. Due to the pandemic, increasing consumer demands that came to the shore have attracted new socially-minded entrepreneurs who use tech-for-good while disrupting the traditional financial system. Deepak H. Saluja, a banking veteran turned social entrepreneur, is paving the way. The firm he co-founded, The Social Loan Company (TSLC), offers innovative financial services, shifting from traditional, institutionfocused experiences to a fintech-enabled, customer-focused approach. Below, Deepak answers the biggest questions about his revolutionary endeavors, achievements, and future goals. Question: What are the main motives behind starting your social entrepreneurial journey? Deepak: “My abundant experience in the field left me with plenty of questions about the system’s fairness in money distribution. Therefore, after 20+ years as a banker, I started my social entrepreneurial journey as a Co-Founder and Group CEO of The Social Loan Company. I co-founded TSLC with my friend and partner, V. Raman Kumar, an accomplished tech entrepreneur. Our vision from day one was to revolutionise the money flow and make it more accessible to people worldwide.” Question: Do you collaborate with traditional banking partners? If yes, what do you offer to the partnership? Deepak: “We deploy our global proprietary AI/ML-based decisioning engine through banking and non-banking partners. The Social Loan Quotient (SLQ) is a vital part of our alternative credit scoring system and considers 100+ macro and 2,500+ micro data points from every user. We also provide the fit product market while our partners bring in the regulatory and balance sheet infrastructure. This is a win-win partnership

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demands, and interests, we use different research tools, first-party data points, and continuous consumer feedback. Another way we positively use the gathered data is to create a massive impact on financial inclusion in MEASA and beyond. By creating relevant financial profiles of our consumers, we can offer innovative and personalised services according to their needs.”

Deepak H. Saluja, Co-founder & Group CEO, TSLC

between traditional banks and us as a fintech.” To give insight into TSLC’s culture and approach toward consumers, Deepak proudly presented Shagorika Heryani, the company’s Global CMO. Shagorika, recently awarded among the “Top 10 Indian Women Leaders in UAE,” has over 18 years of experience as a marketer and even more passion for delivering products that positively impact people’s lives. Question: Personalised financial services help improve customer experiences and build trust and loyalty. How is TSLC moving in that regard? Shagorika: “As a consumer-first company, our marketing approach focuses on “listening better to serve better,” which allows us to create engaging campaigns and personalised experiences for our consumers. To “listen better” about changing consumer behavior,

Question: How do you plan your journey from a LendTech service to a full-stack neo bank? Deepak: “We see our LMS-As-AService as a stepping stone to creating a comprehensive financial wellness platform that supports savings, microinvestments, and embedded financial services. Our ambition is to be embedded in the daily financial activities of underserved individuals. Our ultimate goal is to create a notable financial inclusion impact by providing people with easy, affordable, and transparent access to financial services beyond credit. In the UAE, particularly, we are launching a revolutionary lending app with our partners, Aafaq Banking Group. The public launch is imminent, followed by a MENAT rollout in the near future.” Bottom line: Deepak and TSLC are just getting started with financial inclusion The Asian finance sector is evolving to embrace new fintech services that aim to improve the economic wellness of their societies. As a consumer-focused firm, TSLC’s ultimate goal is to serve over 100 million underserved individuals in the MEASA region. For Deepak, “progress is forever pursued, never reached.” As passionately as ever, he keeps marching toward alleviating people’s financial hardships, strengthening low-tomoderate income communities, positively impacting lives, and making the world a better place.

TSLC’s ultimate goal is to serve over 100 million underserved individuals in the MEASA region.


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SME BANK OF THE YEAR - MALAYSIA

Malaysia’s Best SME Bank of 2022 Hong Leong Bank sees itself as a valued SME ecosystem partner The bank was honoured at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022 for its commitment to the growth and sustainability of SMEs.

Kevin Ng, HLB’s Head of SME Banking, and Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB

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ith more than a hundred years of rooted heritage in Malaysia, Hong Leong Bank’s (HLB or the Bank) value of ‘being here for the long term’ has seen the community bank expand beyond its shores, with presence in Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. There is no secret sauce to its success. Despite its size today, HLB retains the spirit of entrepreneurship, always pushing for better solutions and innovations, which makes the Bank highly cognizant of the needs of other entrepreneurs, especially SMEs. HLB’s commitment to the growth and sustainability of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia has earned the Bank Asian Banking & Finance’s Best SME Bank in Malaysia at the recent Retail Banking Awards 2022. The Bank was also named the ‘Best SME Bank in Malaysia’ for four years running by another organisation. Commenting on the double awards, Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB said, “As SMEs have played an important role in the economic development and growth momentum of the country, they will equally play a pivotal role in the post-pandemic recovery. Being recognised for our continued commitment to supporting SMEs prior to the pandemic and being steadfast in our support during unprecedented challenging periods during the pandemic, including the current recovery phase, is especially meaningful. With similar product offerings across the industry, we believe that the real differentiator for us has been our people on the ground, and the relationships they help foster with clients and with the various SME communities across the country.”

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“Since reorganising our SME banking division in 2017, over the past four plus years, we have embedded close to 200 Community Business Managers (CBM) and Cash, Trade & FX Specialists (CTFX) in various locations around the country to serve SMEs nationwide. This has proven to be a critical factor over the past two and a half years as our team was able to proactively approach our customers with not only the assistance they needed to protect and sustain their businesses but also to provide them with the right level of advice on financial products, digitalisation, ESG and sustainability, mentorship programmes, and networking opportunities as they embarked on their recovery and sustainability journey post-pandemic. We will continue to invest in developing our CBM’s and CTFX’s capability to provide long-term support for SMEs as they re-strategise for post-pandemic growth. The recognition from these eminent organisations will no doubt motivate us to expand our resources and offerings so that we continue being a valued SME ecosystem partner,” added Fuda. Digital-first strategy According to Kevin Ng, HLB’s Head of SME Banking, another important differentiator for the Bank is its digital-first strategy in the market. Leveraging digital innovation to provide SME clients with simple and frictionless experiences by digitalising

processes into automated journeys has helped the Bank to serve customers more efficiently whilst rapidly acquiring new ones. Amongst the many innovations introduced, HLB was the first bank in Malaysia to offer customers a fully digital onboarding experience via the Bank’s web application and iPads, thereby eliminating the need for SMEs to visit a physical branch to open a business account. With this, customers have the flexibility of choice to have the Bank visit them in person to signup for a new account, via its in-house built sales and servicing iPad solution. The Bank also launched Malaysia’s first biometricbased mobile eToken providing greater levels of security for the Business Internet Banking platform, HLB ConnectFirst. The mobile eToken provides convenience as it can be accessed via the customer’s smartphone instead of having to manage a separate token/dongle. “From the onset of the pandemic in 2020, our approach of providing simple and frictionless experience for our customers has served us well as we have grown our SME banking portfolio by well over 20%. These awards would not have been possible if not for the strong trust and support our customers have given us. We will continue to invest in digital platforms as well as data and analytics capabilities to help our customers run their operations for improved profitability, growth, and to be resilient and sustainable for the long term,” added Ng.

HLB ConnectFirst Web

We will continue to invest in developing our CBM’s and CTFX’s capability to provide long-term support for the SMEs as they re-strategise for post-pandemic growth


Endeavors for Sustainable Development

Mobile bank to walk along with.

au Jibun Bank Corporation Nihonbashi Dia Building, 1-19-1 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0027 Japan https://www.jibunbank.co.jp

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NEW CONSUMER LENDING PRODUCT OF THE YEAR - PHILIPPINES

Manpower challenges caused by COVID-19 fueled growth and innovation Award-winning RCBC Bankard responded to manpower challenges with creativity, innovation, and change.

Digital Cash Loan

The Cash Loan offered to RCBC Bankard cardholders is based on the unutilised limit of their credit cards. To push availment coming from the right segment, RCBC Bankard used both Inbound and Outbound Telemarketing as their primary selling channels. However, whilst the conversion rate was good, Telemarketing, as a channel, had manpower availability challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. RCBC Bankard addressed this limitation by developing a Digital Cash Loan. This required the generation of a unique, cardholderspecific link that can be embedded in an email or an SMS. The Digital Cash Loan offers were sent to the cardholder’s registered mobile number and email address. The information on the available credit limit that can be converted to cash, the affordable monthly amortisation, and the low-interest rate is indicated in the message. The cardholder just needs to decide how much he wants to avail. To help in his decision-making, the allowable loan amount and applicable interest rates specific to his account are indicated. The cardholder just has to swipe to check how much the monthly amortisation is depending on the loan amount and preferred tenor. The Digital Cash Loan was able to address manpower availability limitations and also provided RCBC Bankard with the opportunity to efficiently and effectively communicate personalised offers. Whilst Digital Cash Loan was developed 92 ASIAN BANKINGAND & FINANCE 2022 ASIAN BANKING FINANCE| Q4 | DECEMBER Q3 2021 2019

The Digital Cash Loan was able to address manpower availability limitations and also provided RCBC Bankard with the opportunity to efficiently and effectively communicate personalised offers to address manpower availability concerns, it has proven to be an effective and economical channel to communicate and serve hyperpersonalised offers. The lifestyle and life stage of the cardholders are taken into account in developing the communication materials. Since the Digital Cash Loan is connected to a Campaign Management System (CMS), RCBC Bankard can send to cardholders customised communication, from the subject line, look-and-feel of the content, promotional offers, and a unique link. The Digital Cash Loan can be communicated to 60,000 cardholders a day, whilst Telemarketing requires 15 days to reach the same base. The cardholders benefited from the Digital Cash Loan initiative because they could get cash easily and securely. Because the offers are relayed in a timelier manner, cardholders can easily seize opportunities. They can get cash easily and securely. It is easy because, unlike the cash loan offered by other credit card issuers, there are no prerequisites required, such as downloading an app, having an online banking account, or providing documents.

The cardholder just has to click on a link. The availment process is designed to be secure since the unique link is sent to the cardholder’s registered email address and mobile number. Once the cardholder has decided on the loan amount and term, the cardholder has to indicate the deposit account number where the loan proceeds will be credited. The bank account name should match the cardholder’s account name. With the digitalisation of the backend process, the loan proceeds are credited to the cardholder’s nominated deposit account the following day. With this digital transformation, RCBC Bankard’s Cash Loan volume increased by 98% vs. the previous year, wherein Digital Cash Loans contributed 51% to total Cash Loan billings. The pandemic has forever changed so many things about how banks and businesses run and serve the needs of their customers. In this change, resiliency, creative thinking, and new tools can address customers’ needs today and forge stronger ties and a better customer experience.


Because there is only one planet. BBVA CIB is proud to be recognised with an Initiative of the Year Award in the ABF Wholesale Banking Awards 2022, for its key role in organising a $700-million, 3-year, syndicated Sustainability Linked Loan for a China’s largest food supplier. Our 40 years of experience in Asia, together with our innovative approach to sustainable finance, is what makes achievements like this possible. Get in touch, together we can make a difference.

BBVA Hong Kong Office Unit 9507, Level 95, International Commerce Center, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong +852 2582 3111 www.bbvacib.com

Creating Opportunities

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ANALYTICS INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - SINGAPORE ANALYTICS INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - THAILAND

SAS Institute: Intelligent Decisioning Solution in Action

The company drives real-time interactions that can easily create, manage, and govern robust analytically driven business rules to power decisions at scale.

Nutapone Apiluktoyanunt, Managing Director (Thailand), SAS

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he rapid improvement of AI-powered technologies spurs competition in speed, cost, experience, and intelligent propositions. Day-to-day operations for most companies can range from simple repeatable decisions that can affect single business units to complex cross-functional, high-impact decisions that involve multiple participants. To remain competitive, banks must engage customers with highly personalised and timely content to build loyalty. To achieve these benefits, banks must build AI-powered decisioning capabilities fuelled by a rich mixture of internal and external data and augmented by edge technologies. With a vision to deliver next-generation digital banking and lending products and services in Thailand, Krungthai Card (KTC) Public Company Limited operates a credit card-related business, merchant-acquiring business, payment service, as well as a personal loan business. The company wanted to transform KTC Cards’ customer decisioning systems from covering data uploads, credit checks, and approvals to modernising, simplifying, scaling, and speed-up processes. However, the previous rules-based credit decisioning system for KTC’s credit card and personal loan approvals was labour and paper-intensive. The task of managing the lifecycle of models used for credit applications—how models used in credit

approvals are developed, tested, deployed, and finetuned—was quite tedious. It was clear that KTC needed a solution that could deliver real-time decisions based on business rules and sophisticated analytics for credit decisioning. To rebuild its credit models to reflect current and potential realities in less than three months, KTC used SAS Intelligent Decisioning to redefine scorecards and significant increases in credit risk (SICR) triggers and to adjust model parameters to incorporate short- to mediumterm economic conditions. Integrated with machine learning and model management capabilities, SAS Intelligent Decisioning is designed for business analysts and IT personnel who put analytical decision models into production, as well as business executives who are responsible for enterprise decisions. It includes business rules management, decision processing, real-time event detection based on business needs and regulations, as well as decision governance. The new system is a consolidated, automated, real-time decisioning engine that can be scaled up to support new products, services, and projects and connect diverse teams in the future. As a result, the credit strategy deployment of KTC across departments is smoother with a single consolidated decisioning platform. Project timelines are shorter, often to less than three months now,

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the average used to be eight or nine months. KTC was also able to reduce the processing time of analytical models by more than 50% in less than a year, and the model development, testing, and deployment were reduced to under 3 months from more than six months. In addition to that, online shopping via KTC’s credit cards has grown by around 40% compared to pre-pandemic. Spending on marketplace platforms has grown by 15%, and currently, KTC lending growth remains above the market average. With the advanced analytics capability of SAS Intelligent Decisioning, the SAS Institute won the Analytics Initiative of the Year Singapore in the Asian Banking & Finance Awards 2022. The awards honour outstanding banks and financial companies with innovative retail products, services, and strategies that have had a positive impact on their clients and the industry. “Winning the award together with KTC is a testament to the strength and capabilities of the SAS Intelligent Decisioning solution. We hope to continue helping our customers to leverage intelligent decisioning within different areas across the bank, from marketing to reach the customer at the right time, to managing risk and optimising the risk-reward decisioning for best outcomes, to preventing fraud in customer transactions and more,” said Nutapone Apiluktoyanunt, Managing Director (Thailand), SAS. With the Bank of Thailand granting KTC a license for digital lending, KTC vowed to bring and market even newer lending products. Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) products, lending based on the saving behaviour of customers, hiring purchases, and micro-lending could be part of KTC’s expansion into lending. Another area of interest that they plan to expand is digital loan origination, which integrates the capability of customers to key in their personal details and capabilities in online identity collection and verification (through NDID, Thailand’s newly launched digital ID system). This enables the aggregation of alternative sources of customer data and the capability for KTC to make credit decisions in the session itself. This digital loan origination opportunity is a prime example of the cutting edge that SAS Intelligent Decisioning can bring to KTC, as it can now conduct real-time customer interactions and automate operational business decisions at scale. SAS Institute’s solution can be used in the future in various other scenarios, such as marketing to specific customer segments, collections, e-commerce fraud prevention, payments fraud prevention, and cybersecurity, especially in the postpandemic future.


OCBC Wing Hang Awarded Corporate Client Initiative of the Year

ASEAN has become China’s largest trading partner and the connectivity between the two has become greater than ever. With OCBC’s headquarters in Singapore, our long history in Greater China, and a strong South-east Asian network that covers 90% of ASEAN trade and capital flows, we can play a key role in connecting Chinese and Hong Kong companies to expand and invest in ASEAN,and vice versa. As OCBC’s wholly owned subsidiary, OCBC Wing Hang will continue to increase in trade and investment flows across China-ASEAN, underscore our strategic focus on capturing opportunities from Greater China and intra-Asian trade corridors. Our professional team of Relationship Managers will offer strong local support to help you capture business opportunities while managing risk efficiently. OCBC Wing Hang, together with its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, offers a comprehensive range of commercial banking products and services and other financial services such as consumer financing, share brokerage and insurance, among others. It has a network of over 60 branches and offices in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Mainland China. As part of the OCBC group of companies, OCBC Wing Hang offers customers an augmented banking network, global market access and an extensive range of products and services for personal and business financial needs. Founded in Guangzhou as a money changing business in 1937, the former Wing Hang Bank was incorporated and granted a banking license in Hong Kong in 1960. OCBC Wing Hang became a wholly-owned subsidiary of OCBC Bank on 15 October 2014. Follow us :

https://www.ocbcwhhk.com/ Contact us : +852 2852 5040 / wholesalebankinghk@ocbcwh.com


INTERNATIONAL RETAIL BANK OF THE YEAR - CHINA MARKETING & BRAND INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - CHINA

HSBC enhances “beyond banking” experiences and international wealth services in China The bank was honoured with two awards at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2022.

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espite the multiple challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank believes the wealth management sector will continue to play an essential role in supporting China’s economic growth. The bank has a clear wealth management strategy to boost international solutions for the full spectrum of customer segments, from emerging and mass affluent to ultra-high-networth clients in mainland China. With a strong financial technology infrastructure, a team of local and international advisors, and a truly global network, HSBC is positioned to offer a full suite of world-class solutions to support client needs for wealth growth, preservation, succession, and more. Zhang Jun, Head of Distribution at China Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC, said: “China market has been the important driver for our ambition of becoming the No.1 wealth manager in Asia. Customers in China have strong demands for comprehensive, diversified, and tailored wealth management solutions. As China’s leading international bank, HSBC is well positioned to use our insightful advisory, international network, and advanced technology to help clients manage their finances and achieve their ambitions in an easy and intuitive way.” Boost wealth management and private banking business The bank has recently announced plans to expand its Global Private Banking business and enhance services and offerings for its HSBC Premier clients in mainland China. Its Global Private Banking plans to hire about 100 staff and extend its footprint to Hangzhou and Chengdu by the end of this year, in addition to its current presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. HSBC also plans to hire over 300 staff this year to provide a more customised service to its premier clients. It is building a differentiated private banking business to serve internationallyminded Chinese high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients. For example, HSBC GPB will provide clients with holistic wealth management solutions through strategic collaboration with HSBC’s securities arm in Qianhai. Besides, the bank has enhanced its Premier proposition and launched HSBC Premier Elite to better serve the fast-growing mass of affluent clients at different life stages.

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banking and investment activities, including structured products, local funds, and Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) fund products, via the bank’s mobile banking app. Over 90% of its client wealth and investment trades are now completed via the mobile app.

Zhang Jun, Head of Distribution at China Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC

Strengthen agile approach to digital transformation HSBC is developing advanced and innovative technology to make banking easier and more secure for clients. Using personalised online activities driven by artificial intelligence technology is helping mainland customers to become more financially engaged and to improve their wealth management capabilities. In 2021, HSBC embarked on a number of notable digital initiatives that included the introduction of FinFit and the remote video wealth advisory journey. FinFit provides personalised financial tips to help users build healthier financial habits and get “fitter” financially through a scientific wealth fitness assessment. The remote video wealth advisory journey enables clients to conveniently access personalised wealth advisory services and complete the purchase seamlessly through digital technology. This year, the bank launched a dedicated interface on the mobile banking APP for its private banking clients in mainland China. This made HSBC the first foreign bank to enable private banking clients to access a full array of transactional

Connecting Chinese students to a world of opportunities HSBC has built up a competitive advantage in the international education and banking business segments. It provides a full suite of financial solutions to students across all three stages of the complete international education journey: pre-departure preparation, overseas study, and future planning. To strengthen the bank’s leading position in assisting students’ needs for their overseas education, HSBC launched an enhanced international education marketing campaign last year. The campaign has enhanced HSBC’s leading international proposition position in the market. The bank has identified a 25% increase in active customers with overseas education needs in 2021 from 2020, with the support of the campaign. Besides, HSBC has further strengthened “customer-oriented” digital service capabilities to help these customers better cope with challenges brought by the pandemic. Key initiatives include online booking system upgrades for overseas account openings; first-hand insight sharing by on-the-ground HSBC experts; and professional advice for pre-departure preparations provided by external experts.

HSBC is well positioned to use its insightful advisory, international network, and advanced technology to help clients manage their finances and achieve their ambitions in an easy and intuitive way


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CORPORATE CLIENT INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR - INDIA

YES BANK extends Bank-as-aService to build a digital ecosystem Digitization and Digitalization will drive the growth of the Banking Sector

I

n today’s digital era, customers (be it individuals or businesses) desire “instant gratification,” especially with advancements and developments in technology, which make people buy, sell, communicate, etc., from one common place. The reason behind this modernisation is the advancement of technology and the internet, which has paved the way for digitalisation. The introduction of digital banking has revolutionised the banking sector and modified the whole banking procedure. It has facilitated customers to enjoy a systematic financial life. YES BANK has adopted the approach of A.R.T. (Alliances, Relationship, and Technology) and is working towards creating a “DIGITAL FIRST” mindset within the Bank. Such a transformation should lead to enhanced customer experience and operational efficiency, whilst supporting better risk management to drive higher product proliferation. YES BANK has always been the front-runner in innovation. And it is evident in the leadership position enjoyed by the Bank amongst API Banking, IMPS, UPI, NEFT, AEPS, etc. Connected Banking Ecosystem In line with our API Banking leadership, the Bank has developed the Trade Connect Ecosystem. This is a one-stop platform to support trade clients in completing their trade journey right from certification to completing the transaction with payment/collections

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support. Through this connected banking approach, the Bank is striving to support the business management cycle of our client. We believe that the connected ecosystem shall support our customers in improving the ease of doing transactions, as also it will result in better processing at the Banks’ end. Banks, as responsible financial institutions, are essential stakeholders in the business ecosystem. They are not only limited in their role as financiers but also as catalysts in enhancing operational and financial efficiencies within the business ecosystem. The Bank has been continuously working towards promoting

Ajay Rajan, Head of Transaction Banking & Supply Chain Business, Influencer Strategy, Bullion & TASC at YES BANK

the Embedded Banking approach wherein we are exposing banking-as-a-service (BaaS) to Fintechs/ Government in partnership to create innovative use cases. With our API first strategy, and our ability to provide an ecosystem banking, we are extending our support to government initiatives to Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP), Secured Logistics Document Exchange (SLDE), National Logistics Portal – Marine, Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN), and TReDS. Holistic Strategy to support Business Lifecycle Management The focus of the Bank is to support MSMEs in their business management for trade finance, cash management, and supporting services. The Trade Connect ecosystem is being developed in partnership with private FinTech and TechFin organisations. We have also partnered with the government of India in developing a logistics ecosystem that supports digitisation by generating digital documents to develop transaction trails that can be accessed at a fingertip. Digitalisation is achieved by exchanging documents on a secured blockchain-based platform. The transaction processing also happens in digital format to enhance efficiency, reduce cost and turnaround time and improve the digital journey for a client. YES BANK is striving towards innovation and developing an Innovation Lab to support the ‘Digitisation-DigitalisationAugmentation’ of the business lifecycle. This ecosystem also supports the availability of services for support functions for the smooth functioning of the business. The MSMEs in the country lack exposure to digital technology and the benefits that can be drawn out by digitising the processes. We believe that the digitisation of business processes will have a far-fetched impact on the overall business environment in the country. It will not only reduce the turnaround time and cost but also improve the business’ efficiency and risk management. We are committed to advancing our way of business and building a bank of the future to support MSMEs to turn into large corporations and startups to turn into the unicorns of tomorrow.

The focus of the Bank is to support MSMEs in their business management for trade finance, cash management, and supporting services


Capital Corporation

WE CREATE VALUE FOR YOU We earn your trust, and do our best to always be worthy of it. As a multi-awarded, wholly-owned subsidiary and the investment banking arm of BPI, we help your business maximize its potential and meet its goals. We offer a full suite of services, handled by our team of seasoned professionals, to help you achieve your financial objectives. Learn more at www.bpi.com.ph

BPI Capital Corporation: 11F Tower 1, Ayala North Exchange 6796 Ayala Avenue cor. Salcedo, Legazpi Village, Makati, 1229, Metro Manila, Philippines. Telephone: (632) 8246-5101 • Email: bpicapital@bpi.com.ph Bank of the Philippine Islands is regulated by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. https://www.bsp.gov.ph

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OPINION

STRUEBI, LIM

Thoughts on digital banks in Singapore

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ith the online-only banks now rolling out their operations in Singapore, are the local banks going to have to take notice and compete with them? New competition will favour product innovation and improve customer experience with banks. New competition will favour product innovation and improve customer experience with banks. New players will drive healthy competition in the market. The development will stimulate banking innovation and everybody in Singapore will benefit from it. Incumbent banks have stepped up on their digitalisation efforts over the last few years. It will not be easy for new digital banks to carve out a space because Singapore is very mature banking market with a very high banking penetration overall (98%). It will be difficult for challenger banks to engage in head-to-head competition on basic products.

SILVIO STRUEBI Partner, Head Banking APAC, Simon-Kucher Singapore ALAN LIM Senior Director, Simon-Kucher Singapore

Strategies of digital banks may not primarily be to compete with incumbents, they are likely to serve different client segments and profitable niches The purpose and positioning of the challenger banks are likely different compared to other markets with low banking penetration. Most banks that have acquired a digital banking license in SG are likely set-up to further support their growth through existing ecosystems or businesses with financial services products and embedded finance solutions (e.g., Grab, SEA, NTUC). The goal is to offer their existing customer base easy access to affordable banking services to drive higher ecosystem spent (e.g. providing funding to merchants) and reinforce existing closed-loop payment systems. There may be also another group of challenger banks that focus on profitable niches that banks are generally less willing to serve like sole-traders or Gig Economy (e.g. digital cross-border SME merchant business, insurance products). Generally, based a recent Simon-Kucher study about Neobanking, it is imperative that challenger banks need to grow fast and be profitable within the first 5 years. Most challenger banks are spending high levels of cash investment especially on client acquisition (e.g. high interest rates or referral incentives). Client engagement and driving high product usage will be crucial in the long run to ensure profitable growth. MAS have created favourable market conditions to stimulate a profitable digital banking growth One key differentiator to other markets is the fact that the set-up is very different in Singapore. The development is regulatory driven where number of issued licenses is limited, hence competition amongst

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new players is naturally lower compared to the UK, US or LATAM. MAS’ eligibility criteria favour profitable growth as approved banks must showcase a clear path towards profitability within five years. Hence, we will less see a ruinous competition. Are incumbent banks well positioned to take on the new challenge? Incumbent banks have invested a lot in their digital capabilities and are well-prepared for the upcoming competition. Many banks like UOB, DBS or Standard Chartered Bank have launched so-called “digital speedboats” early in other markets to gain experience with digital-only banking, bringing back the key learnings to Singapore and Hong Kong. One aspect of their strategies is to develop new digital capabilities, test innovative concepts and to use digital channels to acquire customers for their branch channels. Large banks clearly have built up their digital capabilities to compete with new players. In fact, most banks have transformed themselves very much like a tech firm, where they invest in new capabilities with smart analytics to better serve their clients. Midsized global retail banks often create new sub-brands (e.g. Mox, Trust Bank) to acquire new customers and pilot test new approaches. Furthermore, some of these banks focus building up as a Banking-asa-Service proposition and offer third party banks or other ecosystems like e-commerce platforms financial services capabilities (e.g. BukaTabungan, JV of Standard Chartered and Bukalapak). Smaller banks often integrate 3rd party solutions or focus on selective niches and special target groups. Singapore banks are generally well positioned with national digitalised efforts. The SG government invested building up strong payment infrastructure both domestic payment networks (PayNow and crossborder payments networks like seamless payments to Thailand or Indonesia) at very low cost, achieving the “Asia Fintech Hub” agenda. Unlike other markets overseas, the infrastructure in SG is readily available and constant innovations have been provided. Hence, there may be less incentives for customers to switch banks. In the digital world, holistic customer experience and customer ratings are extremely important. As an interesting observation, the rating for the SG banking mobile apps in the App stores are relatively high such as like DBS Paylah, UOB TMRW or Citi Mobile SG. This is a clear indicator that incumbent banks can compete with digital platforms with high customer satisfaction. Generally, incumbent banks are well prepared. Nevertheless, digital banks have competitive advantages over incumbent banks like no legacy systems.


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OPINION

AASHISH SHARMA

Rethinking the mortgage lending experience

T

here is no denying the recent volatility of the real estate market. During the pandemic, US lenders saw record numbers of mortgage applications driven by the low cost of borrowing, whilst record-low interest rates fuelled a rise in housing prices across Asia-Pacific. Now, in mid2022, rising interest rates are cooling real estate markets as consumers rush to refinance into the best deal they can find for their mortgage. Regardless of the ebbs and flows of the markets, lenders are sharpening their tools as competition increases. The mortgage industry has been adopting technology to streamline the process of getting a loan, with the goal of making the consumer experience smoother and faster. It’s true to say that this step change is not evenly distributed. Many lenders are still engaged in laborious and repetitive fulfilment and servicing processes, meaning they are unable to scale their operations quickly enough to capitalise on opportunities. The rise of new fintech lenders, offering new digital end-to-end loan processing poses another challenge. At the same time, customer expectations are sky high in a world of Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and numerous other companies that have delivered frictionless digital experiences that delight their customers. A McKinsey study found that providing an “exceptional customer experience” can be a critical differentiator for consumers. As the world becomes increasingly digital, it has become necessary for mortgage lenders to adopt technology that can help them to make instant decisions, optimise loan pricing, respond quickly to the market, and improve customer experiences, putting them in a better position to compete and win.

AASHISH SHARMA Risk Lifecycle and Decision Management Lead, FICO

Common pain points for borrowers Personalisation is critical for consumers in Asia Pacific and they want companies to do better. For example in Singapore, a country known for its business efficiency and e-services, a Twilio report found that 81 percent of consumers said that they will stop using a brand if it does not personalise their experience, compared to the global average of 61 percent. A recent Forrester report has highlighted current gaps in the mortgage lending process that are impacting the customer experience and result in higher costs and a loss of market share. Mortgage borrowers are often required to email or upload personal documents such as bank statements,

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payslips, and tax returns, which are then manually entered, checked, and verified by loan officers. This lack of automation in the application process causes errors and can delay approvals by days or weeks, and even longer if there are errors. Further, departments and staff involved in mortgage origination and processing often must rely on different systems and platforms that have been built up over time, which makes it difficult to quickly access the information that they need. These disparate interfaces and systems end up creating data silos and information asymmetry, causing disjointed customer journeys, poor employee experiences, and process inefficiencies that hurt the company. In countries such as Australia and the UK where brokers are an important source of mortgage origination, being able to deliver a great user experience for them by automating processes can help greatly in customer acquisition. However, this important business channel is impacted when there are disconnects between the broker and mortgage platforms. Embracing simplicity and speed Mortgage lenders need to evaluate how they can leverage emerging technologies in their tech stack to tackle customer and business problems. A recommended approach is to align business processes with the customer journey, and in doing so, eliminate the most critical customer pain points in the mortgage application process and create longterm efficiencies for the business. Increasingly, as mortgage buyers move online, mortgage lenders can take advantage of data integration and aggregation to remove paperintensive processes and make applications simpler for customers. Consolidating systems with other financial or government institutions, which already hold existing financial information on customers, allows lenders to aggregate the necessary information on behalf of mortgage borrowers, instead of asking for repeat documentation. One recent example of this was Singapore’s OCBC Bank, which launched a 60-minute mortgage approval service in 2020 that integrated employment, income, financial assets, property details and repayment records using from a government data platform for citizens. Mortgage lenders also need to prioritise simplicity and speed via automation and artificial intelligence (AI). AI and machine learning are important tools to ensure operational efficiency and data accuracy in the lending process.


Issue No. 02

Fragrances now wear the ‘lipstick effect’ Retail ‘war’ starts before shoppers enter the store Tailor-fitting retail stores play catch-up on digitisation Figaro Coffee Group finds niche in pizza delivery From farm to cart: This e-grocer delivers fresh goods Display to November 30, 2022 | retailasia.com

RETAIL ASIA

MEET THE WINNERS OF THE FMCG ASIA AWARDS 2021 Justin Liu, Chairman, FCG p. 24

Wee Lee Loh CEO, Lazada Singapore

Issue No. 99

Display to June 30, 2022 S$5.90

Daily news at www.sbr.com.sg

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HOTTEST STARTUPS 2022 FINTECH STARTUPS DOMINATE THIS YEAR’S HOTTEST STARTUPS EDITION CARZUNO IS THE NETFLIX FOR CARS HOW COMPANIES CAN DODGE THE GREAT RESIGNATION

TECH GIANTS ARE EYEING MORE OFFICE SPACE IN 2022 5 ADVANCED PAYMENT METHODS TO ADOPT IN 2022

Issue No. 106

DISPLAY TO 30 JUNE 2022

SCB’S REGIONAL PUSH Asian Banking & Finance

WITH ITS REORGANISATION TO SCBX, SCB PLANS TO EXPAND TO A CUSTOMER BASE OF 200 MILLION

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Arthid Nanthawithaya, Siam Commercial Bank CEO

CITIBANK CONSUMER ASSETS SNAPPED UP BY UOB, UBP, AND DBS

Issue No. 01

Display to December 31, 2022

The Asian Business Review

BANKING ON TECH EXPERTS

MASSIVE ADOPTION OF TECH WITHOUT CRITICAL TECH ADVICE FROM EXPERTS COULD SPELL DOOM FOR BANKS.

ASIA’S HEALTHCARE PIVOTS BACK TO NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASE HOW SEA BUSINESSES CAN EXPAND THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE INGENIOUS BRANDS RECOGNISED AT THE ASIAN EXPERIENCE AWARDS 2021 ABR HONOURS THE WINNERS OF THE INAUGURAL MIDDLE EAST AWARDS

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MODELS FOR DIGITAL HEALTH TRANSFORMATION INDONESIA’S PONDOK INDAH GROUP HOSPITAL ACHIEVES HIGHEST ASSESSMENT IN DIGITAL MATURITY

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INTERNATIONAL AIDS SOCIETY TARGETS HIV’S ‘ACHILLES HEEL’ MALAYSIAN EYECARE CLINIC ELEVATES SERVICES WITH AI

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In Print, Online, Mobile, Events, Awards, and Research ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 111


OPINION

LAWRENCE CHIA

How your business can get the most out of the metaverse

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rom the MTR’s launch of a ‘Web3’ (an internet service using decentralised blockchains) metaverse partnership with The Sandbox platform to K11 MUSEA’s METAVISION NFT showcase on HSBC’s Main Building façade back in June 2022, signs of metaverse are proliferating in our lives, and proliferating fast. It seems only yesterday that ‘metaverse’ was just an ill-defined buzzword mostly used by tech giants and innovators. Now metaverse is a real, blossoming ecosystem that is a must-have for the MICE industry and many others. Whilst doubts and hesitancy about its longevity and potential have largely dissipated, the urgent question remains: ‘How can we actually create value from the metaverse?’. With many different versions now available, businesses might ask ‘which metaverse?’ as well. Having recently launched our own metaverse platform, I can share some tips from experience on how to find ‘real business’ in the virtual world. It’s now or never Let’s start with the obvious: The time to enter the metaverse is now, if you haven’t already. The market has already started to transition from theorising to actively exploring the metaverse, and more shilly-shallying will only result in being left behind. According to PICO’s annual market survey released in August, less than 30% of businesses have yet to even consider metaverse activity. Being amongst the first companies in the metaverse does not necessarily mean profits; but being late to the party will likely make profits harder to achieve.

LAWRENCE CHIA Group Chairman and CEO Pico Far East Holdings Limited

What’s your ultimate purpose? Your business’s metaverse goal might be to stimulate demand across new and existing market segments, for which you will need engaging content. Or you may be aiming to build brand experiences and communities, for which an immersive experience is necessary. In short, whether you are attempting to create experiences, foster interaction or spur engagement, you must clearly identify your goals and develop a valuefocused strategy. Some common business opportunities in the metaverse include sales of products and spaces, creation of experiences and events, provision of distance work and training, or marketing services. For example, The Sandbox, one of the most popular metaverse platforms, launched with the clearly defined goal of serving as “community-driven platform where creators can monetise voxel ASSETS and gaming experiences on the blockchain”. The Sandbox have

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since found great success via cryptocurrency and land transactions by corporations and other users. The China-based YAOLAND metaverse platform, on the other hand, has positioned itself as a marketing and NFT platform for brands. It generates revenue by offering a virtual marketing platform and services to corporations, and has launched NFTs in collaboration with museums and artists, including the National Gallery in the UK. Find your place Some of the more common business activities surrounding the metaverse ecosystem involve delivering immersive content and experiences in existing platforms, and developing a proprietary comprehensive platform for marketing, entertainment, etcetera. By building your metaverse presence around your business’s strengths, you are taking a cost-efficient shortcut to capturing value. YAOLAND is a good example: Its founders – China Unicom subsidiary Shanghai Wocheng, Net263 Ltd, and Pico – have contributed their respective expertise in experiential marketing, 3D virtual streaming, cloud gaming and rendering, along with a large existing mobile user base. Capitalising on this know-how and array of resources, YAOLAND positions itself as a HTML5 immersive gamified virtual marketing platform, providing both engaging content to users and brand activation platform for corporations. Steps to success There can be no one-size-fits-all solution to your metaverse ambitions. Finding what will work in relation to your company’s strengths, market trends and audience preferences is to some extent a matter of trialand-error, testing and adaptation. That doesn’t mean launching new initiatives with a reckless abandon; instead, develop your new ideas thoughtfully to explore opportunities such as NFTs, immersive experiences or native advertising, and to establish a solid yet flexible metaverse presence. All your activities should contribute to understanding your audience. Data gained from users will enable you to analyse their behaviours and experiences and further narrow down what works, what doesn’t, and what might hold potential. Creating or adopting an effective data-driven analytics solution is therefore essential for business in the metaverse. Finally, be prepared to scale your metaverse capabilities, as market conditions there can change fast. Source the talent you need and establish the technology infrastructure and tooling in advance.


ASIAN BANKING & FINANCE | Q4 2022 3


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