AEON Bank to start Islamic digital operations soon

KUALA LUMPUR: AEON Bank (M) Bhd, one of the five digital banking licence holders in Malaysia, is set to start operations and launch its banking application by the end of the second quarter this year, says chief executive officer Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz.

Malaysia’s first Islamic digital bank aims to attract mainly tech-savvy and Generation Z consumers as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) currently underserved due to their size, she said.

The bank will kick-start its operations by offering savings accounts and related transactions for individuals.

“We will (next) launch a minimal viable product, and as we progress, additional products and financing options will follow,” she told Bernama.

To ensure its application is user-friendly and can be accepted by consumers from all walks of life, AEON Bank has done its beta testing among the group’s employees, said Raja Teh Maimunah.

“Digitalisation is the way forward. More people have learned to use online banking (and) we should continue to push it, and at the same time, reduce the hard cash transaction,” she said.

Malaysia has made good progress on this front and this has to be advanced further, she opined.

As for the business segment, Raja Teh Maimunah said it will be launched by 2025.

AEON Bank aims to tap into the RM90bil funding gap between large corporations and micro, small and medium enterprises, she added.

“These could be businesses like TikTok or Instagram shops. That is our target segment and it aligns with our role in serving the underserved, which is our mandate.

“These businesses cannot access funding through traditional banks or borrowing methods as credit evaluation needs to be done differently.

“We have to look at different data sources, (the task) of which only a digital platform can do. So, by next year, we will address this gap,” she added.

The bank is working on implementing the Apple Pay feature, which is a digital payment system by Apple Inc, and plans to launch a debit card by the end of this year, according to Raja Teh Maimunah.

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