Banking group banks on data as it embarks on regional ambition
CIMB Bank is ready to disrupt itself and will bank on data as one of the main thrusts in becoming a regional digital banking group at a time when disruptions are fast taking place in the financial services sector.
On the whole, the group’s digital sales revenue has grown at a rapid phase from financial year 2016 (FY16) to FY17. In Malaysia it grew about 134%, in Indonesia by 200%, in Thailand and in Singapore by more than 1,000% and 464% respectively from FY16 to FY17.
CIMB Bank Bhd CEO for group consumer banking Samir Gupta says digital sales enablement is the first phase of CIMB’s digital ambitions. Customers are moving away from over-the-counter service to digital transactions, resulting in a close to 35% drop in CIMB’s over-the-counter transactions to 2.9 million in March this year from 4.4 million in September 2016.
Currently, more than 95% of customers’ transactions are performed via digital or self-service platforms.
Samir adds that there had been a 27% drop in over-the-counter transactions in the last six months alone – while existing staff are being reskilled and retrained to take on more productive tasks – reinforcing the banking group’s strength and commitment to digital transactions.
Moving forward, big data will define CIMB’s retail banking as part of the bank’s transformation into a digital banking group in South-East Asia.
“The usage of data will build, reshape and strengthen the bank’s digital initiatives.
“Amid the disruptions from fintech, CIMB has made a firm commitment to disrupt itself as this will help us to reach and meet consumers’ demanding needs promptly.
“Rather than just look at existing competition, the bigger challenge is how fast we can meet consumers’ needs at a fraction of the cost. Big data will allow us to have a full view of customers’ needs and enable us to facilitate faster transactions,’’ he says during an interview.
CIMB has launched the first big data platform in the country, using open source software and supported by a data science centre of excellence.
There are plans underway to beef up the group’s big data initiative by hiring a significant number of data scientists and data engineers over the next two years.
“As almost 90% of global data is unstructured, there is great demand for data scientists and data engineers who has the expertise to combine both data – structured and unstructured – to help banks to have a full view of customers’ needs,’’ he adds.
Apart from this, the bank will also launch by next month what it terms as a “rules engine” as part of its big data push. This involves the bank’s ability to listen and react to customers’ needs instantaneously in real time.
Big data initiatives
The big data initiatives will be carried out at the bank’s operations in Malaysia and other regional markets. CIMB will be launching its digital “challenger” bank in Vietnam in June and in Philippines by November this year. Digital challenger bank refers to a full-fledged digital bank which challenges the traditional way of doing business.
Commenting on the scope and market of these two countries, Samir says: “They have a combined population of over 200 million and the market is huge and offers great potential.
“We are moving away from the traditional brick-and-mortar branch model in Vietnam and Philippines. For these markets, CIMB will be bringing totally new systems to support the full-fledged digital proposition which will be led and driven from a customer’s journey view point. We will also be replicating the challenger bank concept in Thailand by year-end.”
Meanwhile, CIMB Bank recently added new features to its first-in-Asean, innovative and award-winning mobile chat-banking app, CIMB Enhanced Virtual Assistant (EVA), to include Spend Analyser and natural language conversational capabilities.
With CIMB EVA’s Spend Analyser, customers are able to manage their accounts better and make smarter financial decisions via single-tap spending insights for utilities, petrol, entertainment, dining and travel made on their CIMB debit, credit, and prepaid cards.
In addition, CIMB EVA’s chat capabilities have been enhanced to cater to a wider range of chat-based transactions, enabling customers to chat with EVA based on words in natural conversations.
On CIMB’s strategic regional partnership with Japan’s number one insurer, Sompo, Samir comments that “this partnership in our markets in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore not only allows us to optimise regional synergies and operational efficiencies, but also leverage on both parties’ digital capabilities to spur innovation and bring to market products that address customers’ protection needs instantaneously, such as the Travel Care EVA to be launched soon.”
Soon, CIMB Bank will also be launching its personalized life stage-based holistic financial solutions – based on its F.I.R.S.T. proposition, which stands for finance, insure, returns (investment), save and transact – as part of its initiative to leverage on big data and encourage customer stickiness.
Thanks to its push towards digital, CIMB Bank was recently awarded, for the second year in a row, the Best Retail Bank in Malaysia, and was also declared winner for The Best Productivity, Efficiency and Automation Initiative, Application or Programme by the prestigious Asian Banker’s Retail Financial Awards 2018.
CIMB Bank is also the first bank in Malaysia to receive Bank Negara’s regulatory sandbox approval for electronic-know your customer (E-KYC), a paperless and electronic method of verifying the identity of customers, which is set to be a feasible alternative to existing face-to-face verification requirement in today’s traditional banking.