Cross River Bank set for Asian expansion

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CRB, V Capital and Shefa Capital to jointly offer fintech services in the region

KUALA LUMPUR: US-based financial services company Cross River Bank (CRB) is set to embark on an expansion into Asia, backed by a US$65mil joint investment by Malaysia’s V Capital Investments Ltd (VCI) and Shefa Capital.

Cross River Bank, a provider of banking services for technology companies, is forming a partnership with VCI to provide its services in Asian countries.

CRB founder, president and CEO Gilles Gade said they see plenty of opportunities in Asia, as well as in Malaysia.

From Malaysia, he said, the company could reach out to neighbouring countries where there are fewer players and less activities in the fintech space.

“It will also be intriguing for us to branch out to countries like Singapore and Taiwan because they are bedrocks of fintech.

“These are a low hanging fruit; it will be easy for us to go there and start providing services, and now Malaysia is also coming to the forefront, ” he said in an interview.

V Capital chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said its partnership with CRB would bring together some of the latest financial technology that western fintech has to offer, with the resources, market reach and technical know-how in South-East Asia to be provided by VCI.

“This partnership will ensure that VCI and CRB will be the leading players in the South-East Asian fintech ecosystem in the next five years, ” he said.

Speaking at the announcement of the partnership, Mohamad Fuzi said that even though Malaysia was still a predominantly cash-based society, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) haS already engaged with start-ups, investors and innovators from around the world to create a vibrant fintech environment here.

For example, he said, MDEC has initiated the Accelerators initiatives to provide fintech start-ups with opportunities for local and foreign investment.

These initiatives, he noted, also offered start-ups with the opportunity to collaborate with the local industry.

“And with the technological breakthroughs brought about by the partnership between VCI and CRB, Malaysia is set to witness a major fintech breakthrough which could be a catalyst that leads to further advancements in fintech, ” he said.

With the partnership with CRB, V Capital is also moving toward securing a digital banking licence in Malaysia.

The new partnership CRB, he added, would accelerate Malaysia, and the region, towards the next generation of fintech offerings.

V Capital’s partner in the joint investment, Shefa Capital, believes they are the right strategic partners for CRB to develop joint ventures with banks and other potential clients in the Asian region.

Shefa Capital founder Moshe Schlisser said CRB was compelling due to its position as a provider of backend services for the fintech segment.

“We are seeing traditional technology companies like Alibaba, Amazon, Uber and Grab now coming up with financial services alongside their traditional businesses, and CRB is in the forefront to capture all of these opportunities, instead of just operating in one segment of the fintech space.

“For us, this is an investment into a very diversified company and we are very excited to assist in their expansion plans in the region, ” he said.

CRB, which is slated to for an IPO in the US next year, was listed as among the 50 most innovative fintech companies in 2019 by Forbes.

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