KASIKORNBANK Leading the Way for CX in a Digital Ecosystem 2

KASIKORNBANK: Leading the Way for CX in a Digital Ecosystem

Built on the foundation of ‘Bank of Sustainability’, KASIKORNBANK (referred to as KBank or the bank) delivers products and services to its clients and customers keeping in mind its core values – agility, customer centricity, collaboration and innovation.  To demonstrate their values further, KASIKORN Business-Technology Group (KBTG), an integral part of KBank, provides state-of-art IT infrastructure and services, develops advanced technology and innovation, and designs solutions addressing customer pain-points and requirements. According to Mr. Wirawat Panthawangkun, KBank Senior Executive Vice President, ‘KBank aims at being a smart Data-Driven Cognitive Bank, using data to address the needs of customers in every lifestyle nationwide, with readily available technology for further development.’

KBank’s customer experience won four awards at the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker. The four titles that the bank won are ‘Best Digital Customer Experience in Wealth Management, Loan Offering of the Year, Best Customer Experience – Debit Card and Outstanding Customer Experience – Loans’. In addition to the award wins, KASIKORNBANK was honoured with Highly Acclaimed: Best Digital Customer Experience – Loan Application and Highly Acclaimed: Best Digital Customer Experience in Private Banking. These award wins and acclaims are a testament to KBank’s ability to understand its customer’s requirements and provide the best possible solutions keeping in mind the current digital trends and ecosystems.

The Digital CX Awards 2020 received more than 200 nominations across various awards categories and consisted of a judging panel that included subject-matter experts known for their integrity and unbiased judgment from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.

“Understanding that data is key to remain competitive today, KBank has leveraged smart data and used analytics across various lines of business to improve customer services as well as operational efficiencies.”

Driving customer experience with K PLUS and MADHUB

Guided by principles of customer centricity, KASIKORNBANK products and services resonate with excellent customer experience and agility coupled with innovation. Proof of this is how KBank was quick to respond to the Covid-19 crisis that shook the world.  As a part of its strategy to enhance customer experience, the bank had integrated all its service channels such as K PLUS (mobile banking application), KBank website, branches, LINE official Account, Call Center, and KBank Live (KBank social media). To ensure a seamless customer experience, KBank also linked K PLUS with its partner platforms to help its customer redeem Rewards Points by purchasing products from partner platforms.  An additional feature let K PLUS points be converted into point of other member cards thus demonstrating flexibility in its service.

About a year ago, KBank demonstrated how important all segments of consumers were, when it introduced MADHUB – a hub for online traders to fulfil requirements related to business opportunities and customer needs. The bank’s understanding of the region and current trends led to the development of MADHUB which offered a variety of services to online traders such as tools for inventory management, accounting systems, learning programs, debit card initiatives with offer various discounts, etc.

“KBank aims at being a smart Data-Driven Cognitive Bank, using data to address the needs of customers in every lifestyle nationwide, with readily available technology for further development.”

‘Better Together’ – Leading the way with collaborations

Understanding that data is key to remain competitive today, KBank has leveraged smart data and used analytics across various lines of business to improve customer services as well as operational efficiencies. While using its own data to improve its initiatives and products worked in the favour of the bank, KBank also saw opportunity in partnering with data rich firm to streamline its banking services and potentially carter to a wider customer base. The bank’s collaborative spirit led to it’s partnership with Lazada – one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world.  An outcome of this partnership was MADFUND (part of MADHUB) – a financing support program designed to carter to needs e-commerce traders, was introduced on the Lazada Sellers Centre app. Sellers who opted for MADFUND could consent to share data and will then be re-directed to K PLUS to complete the loan application in real-time with instant drawdown to their bank accounts. With Lazada, the partnership was a strategic one, where credit scoring and personalised loans where readily available based on each seller’s transaction history and profile on the Lazada Sellers Centre platform.

KBank didn’t stop at one partnership as it understood that customers relied on multiple platforms and the bank was quick to adopt a multi-channel services approach. Mr. Wirawat Panthawangkun, KBank Senior Executive Vice President commented, ‘To meet multiple lifestyle needs of customers, KBank has teamed with leading business partners within ecosystems at both the global and national level.’ KBank’s other partnerships now include Grab, Facebook, LINE, Lazada, Shopee, Central JD FinTech and JD Central – Thai retail giants; and PTTOR – an energy business to name a few. These collaborations and strategic partnerships truly live up to KBank’s commitment ‘Better Together’ which aims to provide an integrated ecosystem of businesses and banks who provide a fulfilling customer experience and journey.

Mr. Wirawat Panthawangkun, Senior Executive Vice President, KBank

Stronger Together

As the pandemic bought economies to a standstill, KBank quickly rolled out a Covid-19 insurance policy.  This policy was available to all its registered K PLUS users free of charge via KBank Live LINE Official Account. The bank’s Covid-19 initiatives continued when its introduced unsecured lending through all its digital channels, ‘Reduction of monthly installment payment, a moratorium on principal payment, suspension of both principal and interest payment, as well as granting of new loans to bolster liquidity for business customers via the soft loan scheme of the Government Savings Bank and the Bank of Thailand,’ said Mr. Wirawat Panthawangkun, KBank Senior Executive Vice President.

Two separate program ‘Generous (Business) Owners – Empathetic Creditor’ – which includes reduced interest rates payable to banks by business owners and splitting the burden of paying salary due to business staffs and ‘Zero Interest-rate Loan to Retain SME Customers’ – with features such as zero interest, 10-year loan term and no fees, were launced to help the bank’s SME clients.  These programs are expected to save up to 56,000 jobs.

Honouring their campaign ‘Stronger Together’, KBank has provided financial support amounting to more than 393,906 million Baht to 80,229 business customers, and 186,850 million Baht to 297,800 retail clients to date.

Image: Quality Stock Arts/ Shutterstock.com

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

Taishin Bank: Reimagining CX With State-of-the-Art Digital Offering

Taishin Bank: Reimagining CX With State-of-the-Art Digital Offering and Wealth Management Services

One of the countries which repeatedly finds itself a spot in the top 10, in the wealth index in Asia, is Taiwan. While this may come as a surprise to many, according to some statistics, 20% of Taiwan’s population had net worth over one million U.S. dollars in 2019. Leading the way in supporting and guiding these individuals is Taishin Bank, one of the leading providers of wealth management services coupled with top-notch digital capabilities. In 2019, wealth management accounted for 36% of bank’s Net Profit. Taishin bank is uniquely positioned to offer wealth management services to a wide range of customers right from young individuals, families, businesses to HNWIs.

Taishin Bank’s wealth management solutions won two awards at the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker. The two titles that the bank won are “Excellence in Next Generation Customer Satisfaction” and “Best Customer Service in Alternative Wealth Management”. In addition to the award wins, Taishin Bank was honoured with Highly Acclaimed: Excellence in Omnichannel Customer Experience and Highly Acclaimed: Best Private Bank for Customer Experience. These award wins and acclaims demonstrate the Bank’s ability and commitment to enhance customer experience in wealth management, while ensuring a seamless digital and real-time experience.

20% of Taiwan’s population had net worth over one million U.S. dollars in 2019. Leading the way in supporting and guiding these individuals is Taishin Bank, one of the leading providers of wealth management services

Now in its second year, the Digital CX Awards 2020 received more than 200 nominations across various awards categories. To be able to stand out in each category and win the awards the bank has truly displayed use of technology, omni-channel experience and demonstrated how customer experience was enhanced keeping in mind metrics such as use of data, efficiency of processes, etc. The judging panel that includes subject-matter experts known for their integrity and unbiased judgment from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.

Enhanced CX in Wealth Management

Following a customer centric approach in banking has led banks and financial institutions to revamp products and services. The approach has become more focused on customers rather than profits and Taishin bank leads from the front. The bank’s approach to reaching out to customers starts from “Client Tagging”. Through this, the bank invites the interest of its existing customers by analysing data and clients are tagged and segregated by segment, behaviour, channel preference etc. Armed with this information, the bank introduces new products to existing wealth management customers and invites interest from others. In addition, the data analysis also enabled the bank to tag potential family-based clients for its wealth management services.

Alternative Wealth Management with Richart and Robo-King

Mr. Oliver Shang, President, Taishin Bank

Mr. Oliver Shang, President, Taishin Bank

Using data to understand clients and their spending and saving habits is key for Taishin Bank’s wealth management services. To combine data knowledge and insights with a complete digital offering enables the bank to set itself apart from its competitors in the region. The bank’s digital offering – Richart is an award-winning app which carters to all the bank’s clients. Built with the aim to become “Bank of Young People”, Richart provides wealth management services such as saving options, fund investments starting at TWD 10, artificial intelligence investing options, and loan offerings. Richart, taking a customer centric approach has also unveiled products such as annuity insurance which can be availed in under 5 mins and sub-accounts which helps customers save and achieve small goals. “To allow customers to manage their assets better, Richart provides innovative product combination designs to allow customers manage their finances in a more comprehensive way, encouraging them to diversify their assets in different products”, commented Mr. Oliver Shang, President of Taishin Bank.

Another powerful digital wealth management service that Taishin bank offers its HNWI is “Robo-King” which focuses on investment portfolio forecast, customer investment participation and is also a market monitor. The bank analyses international markets for its customer to invest in every month providing qualitative and quantitative indicators with a comprehensive risk profile. Customer can also reach out to the bank’s financial experts and aid in decision making and all this occurs in real-time. One of the bank’s latest investment product is “U.S. Stocks ETF” which was added to Robo-King in the third quarter of 2020.

Growth Amidst the Pandemic

In the pandemic, to manage customer expectation all the while ensuring a seamless customer experience – Taishin Bank introduced video-conference calls with their wealth management clients. The bank financial advising team kept clients abreast of new market trends and products. Mr. Oliver Shang, President of Taishin Bank said, “Under the digital financial trend, Taishin Bank is actively integrating financial services with new technologies, hoping to accelerate services through technology, warm up services, and further add value to the profession.”

Under the digital financial trend, Taishin Bank is actively integrating financial services with new technologies, hoping to accelerate services through technology, warm up services, and further add value to the profession.

Richart’s Maji Score is a unique scoring system which aids the Richart in disbursing loans and determining the rate of interest for the loans. For consumers to get a high score, they need to interact and transact on the digital platform. For every 10 Maji points, the rate of interest reduces by 0.1% which has made this offering popular in the pandemic. Richart loan application increased by 4% in the pandemic as customers aimed to avail loans at lower interest rates.

In addition to the above, Taishin Bank provides its customers an omni-channel experience where customers can avail support from Video Teller Machine (VTM) during non-business hours. The VTM is equipped features such as Facial recognition withdraw, consultations by teller, apply credit card, etc. Taishin Bank also introduced Loyalty Program 2.0: Taishin Points, to enable “better customer experience and grow consumer loyalty.” Launched during the pandemic, the bank encouraged its customer to increase online transaction and earn Taishin Points. Bill payments, shopping online, auto debit transactions would be collected in the form of Taishin Points and this could be redeemed against various offers such as cash credit, travel, hotel voucher, Starbucks coupons, gift cards. Wealth Management clients received VIP perks and exclusive benefits from Taishin Points.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

 

Decoding the Needs and Preferences of Asia’s Next Generation of Wealth Holders

Pushing Water Uphill in Asia – SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation for All

By Arnaud Tellier, CEO Asia Pacific, BNP Paribas Wealth Management

 

A United Nations (UN) goal of providing clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 is proving to be challenging in Asia. What does this mean for the region and what is being done to ensure this most basic of human rights?

The World Health Organization (WHO) offered some simple advice as Covid-19 began to spread: Wash your hands. Hand hygiene was one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, it said, including the new virus.

Being able to wash hands is taken for granted by many. For others, it’s not so easy. The United Nations estimates that two in five healthcare facilities globally lack clean water and soap. Nearly two billion people only have access to water that is fecally contaminated and almost a billion more lack access to basic sanitation such as toilets.

Much of the problem in Asia stems from rapid and unplanned urbanisation. More than 60% of urban households live without piped water supply, with the problem being most acute in Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka and New Delhi.

Clean water for all

Access to clean water and sanitation is widely seen as a basic human right. It has the power to alleviate poverty and hunger, improve health, reduce inequality of wealth and gender and improve standards of education. It offers people greater dignity in their daily lives: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that some 673 million people still practice open defecation.i

On a broad economic level, the World Bank estimates that poor sanitation resulted in a loss of about US$223 billion of global GDP in 2015. Asia and the Pacific suffered the most, with losses of about 1.1 per cent of GDP overall, and some nations losing more than 5 per cent.

While poor sanitation has significant negative impacts, it also provides an economic opportunity: the WHO estimates that for every dollar invested in water and sanitation, the return is four dollars through saved medical costs and increased productivity.ii

Most goals rely on SDG6

While the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) goals are measured individually, none of them can be achieved in isolation and almost all rely in some part on the delivery of SDG6: “Ensuring sustainable access to clean water and sanitation for all.”

SDGs 1 to 3 (no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being) are clearly dependent on clean water and sanitation. There are less obvious links with Goals 4 and 5 (quality education and gender equality), but it is impossible to build decent schools without good sanitation and – in many of the world’s poorest nations – it is women who take responsibility for collecting and providing water for the family, keeping them out of schools and further increasing gender inequalities. The goals associated with climate change, energy and the environment are also connected with progress towards SDG6.

Bigger cities, bigger problems

A 2019 United Nations report on the SDGs presents a bleak picture for Asia. The region is failing to make progress on almost two-thirds of the SDG targets and none of the 17 goals look likely to be achieved.iii

Of particular concern was a lack of progress in reducing inequality, protecting oceans and taking action on climate change. In many countries, especially in South Asia, lack of access to clean water and sanitation is contributing to targets being missed, with the situation stagnating or getting worse in developing nations.

Much of the problem in Asia stems from rapid and unplanned urbanisation. More than 60% of urban households live without piped water supply, with the problem being most acute in Manila, Jakarta, Dhaka and New Delhi.

Various countries have proved that dramatic improvements in the provision water and sanitation can be achieved in just a few years, and that some solutions are inexpensive, effective and can be deployed quickly.

Asia: green shoots

Overall, though, Asian countries have made good progress in improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation over the past decade.

Only one per cent of the population now uses surface water for drinking purposes and around 92 per cent now have access to basic drinking water.  Between 2000 and 2017, the SDG regions of Central and Southern Asia and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia increased the provision of basic sanitation by 36 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

There has also been a dramatic decline in open defecation in Asia since 2000, with more than half of the population of Cambodia, nearly half of the population of India and a third of the population of Nepal and Laos stopping this practice.iv

In spite of these encouraging indicators, progress towards SDG6 remains uneven within the region. According to the United Nations, relatively wealthy North and North-East Asia has almost achieved the 2030 target already, with North and Central Asia not far behind, but populous South-East Asia and South and South-West Asia were behind schedule in 2019.v

 

 

Delivering the promise

Recognising the challenges that remain, the United Nations recently launched a Global Acceleration Framework titled “Delivering the promise: Safe water and sanitation for all by 2030.”

The framework puts in place five “accelerators” designed to dramatically improve the international community’s support for SDG6. These include optimising the use of financial resources; improving the quality of data; improving capacity by increasing job creation in the water sector and the retention of a skilled workforce; developing and implementing new technologies; and improving governance through better cross-sector and international collaboration.

New initiatives

Various countries have proved that dramatic improvements in the provision water and sanitation can be achieved in just a few years, and that some solutions are inexpensive, effective and can be deployed quickly.

UNICEF has lauded government initiatives including China’s Toilet Revolution, Indonesia’s Sanitation Campaign, Myanmar’s Clean Villages initiatives and the Philippines’ Sanitation Master Plan for generating “huge traction in terms of drawing political attention for accelerating progress in sanitation and ending open defecation.”vi

New technology is helping, too. In Vietnam, dirty water from a canal in the Mekong River is treated at a plant using a chemical-free process developed by Akvotek, an Australian company. The energy-efficient system provides at least 400 homes and 2,000 people in the southern city of Ben Tre with safe drinking water today, and is expected to do so for many years to come.vii

Big companies are also looking to SDG goals for guidance in forming their sustainability strategies. Among many others, Dutch brewing company Heineken has made commitments to reduce its use of water. In Indonesia, it has established a cross-sector alliance with UN agencies and partnered with an NGO to replant trees and restore land that is critical to the water supply and flood resilience of 30 million people.viii

Delivering on SDG6 will not be easy for Asia. But there is hope that, with the UN accelerator framework in place and the region’s governments, businesses and communities increasingly focused on sustainability, the chances of delivering clean water and sanitation for all are increasing.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

 

Notes:

i   https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/jmp-2019-full-report.pdf
ii  www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/economics/en/
iii https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/publications/ESCAP_Asia_and_the_Pacific_SDG_Progress_Report_2020.pdf
iv https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/jmp-2019-full-report.pdf
v  https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/publications/ESCAP_Asia_and_the_Pacific_SDG_Progress_Report_2020.pdf
vi  https://www.unicef.org/eap/sites/unicef.org.eap/files/2020-05/EAPRO%20WASH%20Results%20Report%202019_FINAL.pdf
vii  https://watersource.awa.asn.au/business/partnerships/akvotek-achieving-sdg-6-in-rural-vietnamese-village/?utm_source=SocialAnimal&utm_medium=referral viii https://www.theheinekencompany.com/our-sustainability-story/our-progress/case-studies/tackling-water-stewardship-challenge-indonesia

Images: Jimmy Tran/Shutterstock.com | GODONG-PHOTO/Shutterstock.com

5 Resilient Fintech Companies and What Makes them Durable

5 Resilient Fintech Companies and What Makes them Durable

Financial technology, commonly referred to as ‘Fintech’, has gained rapid growth in the tech industry in recent years.

Fintech refers to all companies or startups established primarily to solve all finance-related problems in the finance industry, utilizing modern technological devices and techniques.

Let’s check out ten fintech companies that have shown resiliency amidst tough environment and the strengths that will carry them through into the future.

1. TransferWise

TransferWise is one of the most famous fintech companies in Europe. It offers its clients a way of making transactions from different parts of the world using its peer-to-peer money transferring service.

TransferWise supports different currency accounts. It also permits up to 750 currency pairs such as USD-AUD, USD-GBP etc. Between 2013 and 2017, it raised a whopping sum of $109 million from business capital giants like Andreessen Horowitz and Richard Branson.

TransferWise recorded its first 4 million users in 2018 and marked it with a profit of $8 million. The company has grown to be among the first five most valued fintech companies in Europe.

2. Chime

Chime is a neobank company based in the United States. The company provides banking services to clients but surprisingly doesn’t charge a fee for maintenance of an account. It gets a greater percentage of its revenue from interchange collections which it charges retail business owners for card transaction processing.

The company was established in 2013 and attained its one million account mark in 2018. By 2019 end, it already had 6.5 million accounts under it. According to data by Crunchbase, the company over the years has been able to raise more than $800 million in funds.

3. Ant Financial

Ant Financial is regarded as one of the most prominent fintech companies worldwide. It is located in the Hangzhou city of China. Ant Financial is the owner of several leading financial services such as Yu’e Bao which is the world’s third-biggest money market fund and Alipay a heavyweight online payment platform.

The company runs the Sesame Credit (a private credit evaluation system). Alipay used to be a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group, but in 2014, it got rebranded into what is known today as the Ant Financial Services.

Ant Financial in 2015 secured a $6.5 billion investment deal from investors such as China Investment Corp and other local investors. In 2017, It was valued at $60 billion. Currently, this company has value more than the market capitalization of many leading global banks.

Ant Financial in 2015 secured a $6.5 billion investment deal from investors such as China Investment Corp and other local investors. In 2017, It was valued at $60 billion. Currently, this company has value more than the market capitalization of many leading global banks.

4. Stripe

Stripe offers services that enable users to process their payments without much stress. The company which was established in 2011 got its first major investment from the co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel. It was a $2 million investment. Just after one year of establishment, it achieved a $100 million valuation.

In September 2019, Stripe received a $35 billion valuation from notable venture funds such as General Catalyst and Sequoia Capital. The fact that they run on a highly technologically advanced system has placed them ahead of others.

5. Coinbase

Recall that there was a boom in the cryptocurrency market in 2017; that was what put Coinbase on the spotlight. Coinbase has grown to emerge to be the world’s biggest digital currency exchange today. The platform is famous for trading digital currencies such as the popular Bitcoin and the more recent Ethereum as well as Litecoin.

The company has raised not less than $217 million in funding since its establishment, and in 2017, it made a revenue generation of over $1 billion. Obviously, the fate of the company is intertwined with the future of digital currencies.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

How can a bank achieve a truly customer centric approach in 2020

How can a bank achieve a truly customer centric approach in 2020?

Re-imagining customer segmentation, introducing multiple touch points and personalized services will unlock value for customers in 2020 and beyond.

 

Customer centricity is intrinsic to every service industry and retail banking is certainly no exception to this rule. Stepping in 2020, customer centricity has infinitely grown due to the pandemic. Most, if not all banks, noticed accelerated use of digital channels among its customers as Covid-19 evolved from an epidemic to a pandemic. Banks have reported active use of digital channels this year with one of the major banks in Singapore (OCBC Bank Singapore), reporting a 40% surge in online transactions conducted by customers between the ages of 50 and 64. This is a clear indication of how customers are truly willing to adapt and evolve.

Fundamentally speaking, traditional customer segmentation (age, gender, socio-economic group, region, etc) has allowed banks to target customers and cross sell products and services which generate revenues for the bank. However, this approach is slowly evaporating and is  being replaced by behavioural data usually related to customers’ spending habits. For a bank to become customer centric, approaching customers based on their spending and saving habit is more viable. Another area where we see customer segmentation, is the mode or channels via which products and services are offered to the customers. While customers have always craved for an experience which offers the best of both worlds – digital interaction and in-person branch banking, retail banks have to re-imagine banking and capitalise on a multiple touch point offering. This will allow customers to reach out to banks through channels, be it the internet, on mobile, through social media, employing the direct messaging services or availing the assistance of chatbots or calling services. The use of these channels will blur customer segmentation, thereby engaging a wider pool of customers.

For a bank to become customer centric, approaching customers based on their spending and saving habit is more viable.

A multiple touch point approach ensures interest of the customers, however, the need of the customers has rapidly evolved today. By this we mean, customers crave for more than just mundane transaction services, interest on savings or current account flexibility. Customers now want banks to help them save, offer insights into spending habits, provide wealth management advice and services, recommend insurance solutions and reward them points for engaging with the bank. This personalization, if not hyper-personalization of services is currently influencing a customer’s choice of bank. The extensive use of data analytics, deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning can provide a customer with such insights at his/her fingertip.

Scalability to offer products and services which revolve around a customer’s needs, while ensuring an omni-channel service, a multiple touch point strategy and technology driven approach, is going to lead a bank towards a customer centric business. Adoption of technology, automation of processes and digitisation of products and services will drive customer retention as well as grow customer acquisition. However, according to PwC Retail Banking Overview 2020, “61% of bankers say a customer-centric business model is “very important”. Only 17% are “very prepared for it.” These numbers augment the immediate need for banks – especially retail banks to transform themselves into customer centric organizations.

Scalability to offer products and services which revolve around a customer’s needs, while ensuring an omni-channel service, a multiple touch point strategy and technology driven approach, is going to lead a bank towards a customer centric business.

How Sustainable Finance Impacts Consumer Decisions

How Sustainable Finance Impacts Consumer Decisions

Sustainable finance focuses on financial investment in the long-term. Its essence has to do with funding businesses contributing to sustainable development as a way to use the economy to drive positive change. This involves lending support across healthcare, education, and even to small businesses. There’s no better time when this is needed than now.

Today, the pandemic has had a scarring impact on households and small businesses. Many people have lost their jobs, and a lot of small businesses are shut down for good. There is no better time for financial institutions to work to provide relief for less fortunate households and businesses. Not doing anything to make a positive impact on society at this time is not only unethical, but it could adversely affect the business in the long run.

This is evident from an EY research, which revealed that many consumers (more than half) value responsible banking and that their “purchasing patterns and financial institution loyalty will be impacted by financial institutions actively supporting the community.”

This research makes it evident that financial institutions investing and providing support to the community is not only ethical but will benefit such companies, business-wise.

Many consumers (more than half) value responsible banking and that their “purchasing patterns and financial institution loyalty will be impacted by financial institutions actively supporting the community.”

No longer business as usual

In the face of adversity caused by the pandemic, and the accelerating digital revolution that has already taken the world by storm, financial institutions must be at the forefront, taking measures to enhance the nature of their business. In a post-pandemic world, consumers will prefer to stick with the newer models of business since they’re less stressful and offer more comfort. In addition, they will provide strong support to companies that contribute to the betterment of the society and future generations.

Overall, this is a huge advantage for financial institutions as they can cut down on expenses and overhead cost of maintaining physical branch networks. The savings to be had as a result of these efforts can then be channeled towards driving sustainability initiatives that benefits everyone. There’s no better time to take advantage of technology and invest more in digital solutions in banking than now. It’s no longer business as usual everywhere, and financial institutions must leverage on these changes for the benefit of all.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

Do tech-based investments present good opportunity for the UHNW segment today

Do tech-based investments present good opportunity for the UHNW segment today?

For several years now, and right before the onset of the pandemic, the tech market has continuously received particular attention from prominent investors.  It was pretty standard for individuals to make their investments directly to companies, or via their branch offices. In fact, a report compiled by Campden Research from 360 family offices reveals that technology is one of the key sectors they prefer to invest in.

Clearly, the pandemic is gradually creating a shift in the way, and manner, people respond to technology. Things that would ordinarily have been done offline are now being fulfilled via technology. And a more significant number of people are harnessing technology for specific purposes.

Tech companies in the private market are now being considered a huge investment opportunity by the UHNW segment. And education happens to be on top of the list of lucrative tech-based investments. As a matter of fact, the pandemic has led virtually every learning institution to shift their activities from physical, to virtual classrooms. And UHNW individuals will not let the opportunity pass. Snapask, a prominent tutoring software that kick-started in Hong Kong, was able to raise a sum of $35 million “to expand in Southeast Asia.” According to a TechCrunch report, “the company now has a total of 3 million students, with 1.3 million who registered over the past twelve months. Over the past year, 100,000 tutors have applied, taking Snapask’s current total to 350,000 applicants.”

The pandemic is gradually creating a shift in the way, and manner, people respond to technology. Things that would ordinarily have been done offline are now being fulfilled via technology.

Online shopping and food delivery platforms are also experiencing the bright side of the pandemic. They are benefiting hugely from meeting the needs of people who are working remotely. Recently, a Korean grocery startup Kurly has raised $150 million in their recent financing round while an Indian shopping platform BigBasket was able to raise $60 million as it continues to scale its business.

Other sectors of technology currently considered by investors encompass the standard tech features that typically accompanies the general use of technology. Cybersecurity, IT services, and enterprise solutions fall into these sectors. Investors are actively considering these respective companies as they are equipped to withstand any degree of economic decline, according to an industry report. Their functions make up essentials in businesses and organizational workflows.

It is further noted in the report that the tech market is currently outgrowing other industries that have always been stable over the years. Companies who are likely to excel in the current global economy are those who proffer technological solutions to business growth and human resource expansion.

In deciding on the company to make investments in, financial institutions are guided by a set of processes to evaluate organizations. First, they review the company’s most recent audited financial records. Then they go on to check the validity of agreements and contracts by interviewing clients and stakeholders.

These evaluations are crucial because every investor wants to be sure that every step has been satisfactorily checked off before committing their assets to companies. So that irrespective of market conditions, investors do not leave out any rule of investment. Instead, they are to follow every due diligence of investment structure to attain a well-distinguished asset portfolio.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

 

Wealth Management How to Improve Business Resilience in Times of Crisis

Wealth Management: How to Improve Business Resilience in Times of Crisis

In this period of uncertainty, it should become a norm for wealth managers to check the feasibility of their developmental strategies. Further actions should also be put in place to ensure that clients have their needs met adequately. 

Coming up with alternative courses of action must be part of the firm’s strategy. Just in case things do not bode well with the established procedures of a wealth management firm, there is a need to review the firm’s yearly goals. They are to plan for a decrease in client participation in addition to financial strategies to sustain anticipated drag in customer engagement. 

In critical times such as the present crisis, wealth management firms must also take essential measures to ensure the continuity of business operations. A group of crisis managers can be set up to represent every important sector of the business. To fully assess the impact of the pandemic on business operations, customers and staff should be analysed by a crisis group. Strategies to keep the firm in business in the face of a global crisis should be well in place.

Finally, as remote working becomes the only viable option for businesses to operate in this period, clients’ data confidentiality becomes a highly significant issue. Staff should be trained on the best ways to work securely from home to avoid compromising clients’ details online. For instance, access to client data should only be provided as necessary and proper access control system must be established. In addition, virtual interactions with client data should be confined to centralized servers only.

As remote working becomes the only viable option for businesses to operate in this period, clients’ data confidentiality becomes a highly significant issue. Staff should be trained on the best ways to work securely from home to avoid compromising clients’ details online.

Enhance Digital Adoption Or Else…

Given the global practice of social distancing and isolation, wealth managers may not be able to schedule physical meetings with clients and potential customers. They may also find it challenging to find new investors. As such, it becomes crucial that they revisit their online and digital policies.

Digital channels of interaction with investors should be reinforced and integrated into the firm’s key strategies. This is to enable open communication between clients and the firm. Managers who are yet to embrace digital channels to reach out to clients – and potential clients – may get to encounter significant challenges. 

It’s inevitable that more organisations will speed up their digital transformation. In this period, wealth management firms cannot afford to be left behind. And as activities related to digitisation start to ramp up, factors related to fraud, cyber security, privacy and data integrity must be top priority.

Besides having online access to minute details of their portfolio, clients should also be able to communicate seamlessly with their relationship managers. They should further be given access to digital tools that allow to issue directives concerning their investments. Video call tools, email, and instant messaging platforms – all in an integrated app or tool – are essential to help clients keep in regular touch with their relationship managers no matter what timezone they might be in.

The impact of the current crisis to wealth and investments cannot be avoided, but with the right strategies, a crisis can turn into huge opportunity.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

 

The New Normal in Payments is Digital-thumb

The New Normal in Payments is Digital

The COVID-19 has prompted several countries to implement various modes of lockdown measures to contain its spread. Safe distancing has become the new norm and work from home has become the default option for many companies and organisations looking to strike a delicate balance between safety and productivity. As a result, it accelerated the adoption of digital payments across many industries.

The fact that using cash or physical bank notes could potentially help the spread of COVID-19 is just one of the factors. While there is no definitive conclusion on this matter yet, many government leaders are taking a cautious approach and are limiting the circulation of cash or bank notes in their system. For example, South Korea, China and the US Federal Reserve have implemented a process to disinfect their banknotes. In fact, “all Chinese banks must now literally launder their cash, disinfecting it with ultraviolet light and high temperatures, then storing it for seven to 14 days before releasing it to customers,” says CNN in its report.

Could these actions be considered extreme precautionary measures? Perhaps. But one thing is clear: such interventions on the supply and circulation of bank notes will directly impact cash payments, further opening the floodgates for further adoption of digital payments.

Safe distancing has become the new norm and work from home has become the default option for many companies and organisations. As a result, it accelerated the adoption of digital payments across many industries.

Digitally ready banks are poised to emerge stronger

As the situation stabilises, and some sense of normalcy start to kick in, banks that are digitally ready are poised to benefit greatly. Investments that help bolster digital payments infrastructure, open banking, artificial intelligence, and data analytics will prove to be wise decisions. In fact, some of the initiatives that have started even before the current pandemic hits now provide considerable value to the customers and entities they aim to serve. Some of them are:

UnionBank’s Financial Supply Chain on Blockchain

In an age where exchanges of goods and services has never been more closely connected, Financial Supply Chain has never been so crucial. Financial Supply Chain on Blockchain enables transparency while protecting sensitive data and information through distributed ledgers and smart contracts. This enables UnionBank to offer non-traditional payment options to Small and Medium Enterprises, Distributors, Suppliers and Dealers while digitizing the invoice presentment and demand order processing.

The development (in partnership with IBM) of the Financial Supply Chain System on Blockchain gives the Distributors, Dealers and Suppliers that are enrolled in the system the confidence to avail non-traditional financing options on a single click of a button. This provides efficiency in managing their receivables and payables as manual processing takes too much time.

NETS’ Click

NETS Click enables the digitisation of NETS Bank Cards on third party merchant mobile applications for secure seamless payments. The product was conceived and built in-house with a lean project team comprising cross-functional domain experts from product, technology, security and compliance teams. The design is aligned to concepts of EMVCo’s Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) and fulfils equally stringent industry security requirements.

NETS Click features a highly advanced security design incorporating multi-layered mobile digital security, EMV-based tokenisation technology, bank card and consumer verification methods. Most importantly, it was developed with a human-centred product design. The result is a simple and friendly user journey incorporating advanced mobile runtime threat detection coupled with host-based AI-driven fraud and security monitoring.

TMRW by UOB’s Intelligent Assistant

TMRW’s distinct service delivery model brings together a complex orchestration of chatbot, live chat, and VOIP voice call similar to some of the leading messaging platforms – creating an experience unmatched by any typical bank. TMRW’s chatbot Tia (TMRW Intelligent Assistant) is right at the center of this experience.

The chatbot orchestration is the first digital service model that uses chatbot to orchestrate the delivery of customer service as a combination of self service, FAQ responses and human support through voice or chat – all without the user having to ever exit or switch away from the TMRW app.

The New Normal is Digital

It is still early to conclude what’s the landscape will look like once the dust fully settles. As it is, the battle against the current pandemic is still ongoing. From a purely financial context, we can clearly see the signs towards increased digitisation of payments. How big and how fast it will grow still remains to be seen.

We can only hope that the present crisis could be eliminated soon. As the world continues to rely on technology to solve many of today’s ills, our habits, patterns and way of living never ceases to evolve. One thing is for sure: the COVID-19 is forcing upon us a new normal – a new normal that thrives on increased digitisation.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

Digital payments surge amid safe distancing measures

Digital payments surge amid safe distancing measures

The coronavirus has totally upended the supply and demand markets. The urgent need for essential products coupled with the fact that governments and regulatory bodies are now discouraging the use of cash, has prompted a swift rise in digital payments. Convenience and security aside, digital payment is now the de facto mode of payment as many e-commerce sites are tightly intertwined with e-payment solutions that make the whole system work.

It is no coincidence that the daily downloads of online grocery delivery apps such as Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have surged by 218%, 160% and 124%, respectively.

People who are at home for long periods of time need to buy groceries and household essentials more frequently – and they prefer online shopping. Regardless of the level of lockdown being imposed, people tend to avoid visiting brick-and-mortar stores. Shops are taking notice and are rapidly ramping up their online presence as well. Stores that have already started implementing e-commerce solutions are rapidly building scale and capacity to be able to cater to stronger demands.

It is no coincidence that the daily downloads of online grocery delivery apps such as Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt have surged by 218%, 160% and 124%, respectively.

As more consumers continue to stock food and other essentials, the volume of online transactions and digital payments will surge precipitously. In fact, it was revealed that COVID-19 has massively accelerated e-commerce growth to the tune of 77% year-on-year, with a total online spending hitting $82.5 billion in May, according to Adobe report.

“We are seeing signs that online purchasing trends formed during the pandemic may see permanent adoption,” Taylor Schreiner, Director, Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement.

The future of payments is digital

This observation is consistent with what is happening on the ground. In Singapore, local banks such as OCBC, UOB and DBS are reporting that a significant number of customers have switched to digital banking due to COVID-19.

DBS Bank, Singapore’s biggest bank, noted that more than 100 million digital banking transactions happened this year, compared to the same period in 2019. In addition, digital payments have more than doubled and e-commerce transactions rose by as much as close to 40% in value. It’s interesting to note that there are around 3.3 million Singapore users banking online with DBS and about a quarter of whom are seniors – an indication that the adoption of digital banking cuts across various sectors and demographics in Singapore.

Meanwhile, in China, where digital payments are already in its maturity, COVID-19 may well push the country for the total elimination of cash transactions. In 2008, only 18% of Chinese internet users made online payments. This figure jumped to almost 73% in 2018, which is partly attributed to young people being open to the use of new technologies, according to a recent survey by Deutsche Bank.

Comparatively, China and many Southeast Asian nations have a larger proportion of young populations than Europe and the US. In places such as Japan, Western Europe and the United States, a third of the population still consider cash as a favourite payment method, according to the same survey.

“While we believe cash will stay, the coming decade will see digital payments grow at light speed, leading to the extinction of the plastic card.”

Deutsche Bank’s report, The Future of Payments, neatly summed up where the world is headed when it comes to digital payments: “While we believe cash will stay, the coming decade will see digital payments grow at light speed, leading to the extinction of the plastic card. Over the next five years, we expect mobile payments to comprise two-fifths of in-store purchases in the US, quadruple the current level. Similar growth is expected in other developed countries, however, different countries will see different levels of shrinkage in cash and plastic cards. In emerging markets, the effect could arrive even sooner. Many customers in these countries are transitioning directly from cash to mobile payments without ever owning a plastic card.”

What’s interesting is that even though a significant portion of the population in Western countries still prefer to pay with cash, their preparedness when it comes to digital payments could never be questioned. In the US, digital payments champions such as Paypal, Apple Pay and Google Pay are consistently thriving.

European countries, through its Central banks such as the the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Sveriges Riksbank and the Swiss National Bank, together with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have initiated assessment of potential cases for central bank digital currencies. These would perform all functions of ‘cash’ and aims to be used by individuals and businesses to make both payments and savings. The task ahead can be daunting and will require enormous effort and commitments from both the governments and private sector organisations involved.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.