Entrepreneurs are the backbone of a growing economy – and Affin Bank Berhad (AFFINBANK) makes this a meaningful journey for them. The AFFIN Bank Group is a financial services conglomerate focusing on commercial, Islamic and investment banking services, asset management and underwriting of life and general insurance business. Its tagline of “Banking Without Barriers” signifies the removal of boundaries within the processes of the Bank as well as its attitude in servicing its customers. Proof of this is its initiative called, ‘SMEColony’, the first bank-intermediated platform for SME community development in Malaysia.
The initiative was so successful that it was awarded Winner of “Best Digital Customer Experience in SME Banking” at the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker. The much talked-about CX awards event, running on its second year now, received 200+ nominations for various awards categories. Its distinguished panel of judges include industry veterans known for their integrity and unbiased adjudication from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.
“This award goes out to all our inspiring entrepreneurs who continue to inspire us every day. Our mission is to create a meaningful journey for our SMEs to help them improve their business knowledge, enhance financial well-being and expand commercial networking. SMEColony is a multi-partner platform built with an SME-centric approach – and we’re indeed honoured and happy to be recognised for that,” said Lim Kee Yeong, Director of SME Banking for AFFINBANK.
“The growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia is nothing short of impressive.”
Leveraging on digital and mobile technology
The growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia is nothing short of impressive. According to data released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), SMEs registered a growth of 6.2% in 2018, slightly above the long-term average growth of 6.0% (2001 – 2017). The SMEs GDP contribution increased to 38.3% as compared to 37.8% in 2017.
One key contributor of the robust growth of SMEs in Malaysia is the adoption of digital and mobile technology, which is gaining strong traction among Malaysian entrepreneurs. However, the same pattern has not been quite apparent within the banking sector serving SMEs.
Recognising the significance of SMEs in Malaysian economic growth, AFFINBANK decided to take stewardship in building a strong affinity with the SME community including the start-ups. As such, AFFINBANK began its unique journey to nurture start-ups into the ecosystem over 2 years ago resulting in notable and public recognition. With an aim to continue its mission of a differentiated journey in meeting the needs of SMEs while providing unique solutions, the SMEColony mobile app was developed.
SMEColony is the first, and perhaps the best bank-intermediated platform to date, designed exclusively to serve the SME community. Available in both mobile and web, the core propositions of SMEColony are targeted to (i) improve business knowledge with rich and insightful content;
(ii) enhance financial well-being via advisory services and comprehensive solutions; and (iii) expand commercial networking through events, talks and functions. SMEColony offers the SME community digital customer experience and allows them to engage and seek business solutions via AFFINBANK and its partners at no admission cost or subscription fees.
Helping SMEs Win
SMEs need to understand how emerging trends could affect their business while seeking the right resources and solutions that are vital for their business growth. The creation of the SMEColony app helps fulfil such crucial needs. The platform offers credible business resources tailored for the SME community. It allows SMEs to engage and enable them to seek solutions proactively, leveraging on the resources of a large conglomerate such as AFFINBANK. SMEColony adopts a multi-partner approach to strengthen and widen opportunities for SMEs while the bank acts as an intermediary. An open platform of SMEColony allows the SME community to get connected without barriers. The result? A truly thriving SME community able to take on more challenges and opportunities that can help propel Malaysia’s economy further.
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