Enabling SME growth in digital economy

… will see a strong focus on how leveraging on big data and analytics can help SMEs run their business effectively and mine data for growth opportunities. Titled Discover New Business Opportunities Through Big Data, this half-day …

SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the engines of growth for the Malaysian economy and CIMB Bank Bhd is reiterating its commitment to supporting the sector, in line with the increased spotlight on smaller businesses in recent years.

This comes on the back of the recent announcement by CIMB Bank to disburse at least RM15bil over the next two years to help finance 100,000 SMEs in the country.

SME contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) reached 37.1% in 2017 and is expected to reach 41% by 2020. As these businesses continue to drive the Malaysian economy, CIMB wants to support SME growth by focusing on helping the underserved micro-enterprises segment, in particular, access loans below RM500,000.

CIMB’s commercial banking business, which includes the SME sector, currently contributes more than 20% to the group’s profit before tax, but the bank is aiming to increase the portion to one-third within five years.

In line with Forward23, the bank’s mid-term growth plan, the bank is refocusing its SME proposition to turbocharge its commercial business and boost SME access to working capital and other financial solutions to catalyse their growth, said CIMB Group commercial banking CEO Victor Lee Meng Teck.

The undertaking to better serve SMEs through technology will be internal as well. CIMB will spend over RM300mil in the next five years to strengthen its digital proposition for SMEs to create an end-to-end digital journey.

CIMB Group will also spend RM75mil to upskill its employees through training and certification programmes, to increase the digitally-skilled among its 36,000 headcount groupwide – from 5% to 15% minimum.

“We will improve our products, services and user experience, in an effort to not only power up SMEs’ growth, but also facilitate their day-to-day operations. We are a bank that has multiple products, unlike a fintech that could be single-purpose, but we need to upgrade ourselves and move fast to serve SMEs in the new economy,” said Lee.

What makes the bank’s take on SME banking different is its commitment to support SMEs not only through financing, but also helping them build up capability.

CIMB wants to make a difference by enabling its SME customers, or potential customers, to become more digitally-ready to tap into opportunities in broader markets locally and overseas.

To achieve this, training and workshops will be conducted and CIMB is aiming to deliver 1,000 events via its distribution strength of 200 branches in Malaysia to benefit SMEs.

Besides Malaysia, CIMB is looking to continue these programmes in the other three key markets – Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand – where the group has a presence in.

Part of these efforts is a collaboration with Star Media Group in the SME Thought Leadership 2019 series, where successful entrepreneurs, experts and specialists will share insights that enable startups and budding business owners to take their enterprise to the next level, said Lee.

The first forum on May 2 under the SME Thought Leadership 2019 series, for instance, will see a strong focus on how leveraging on big data and analytics can help SMEs run their business effectively and mine data for growth opportunities.

Titled Discover New Business Opportunities Through Big Data, this half-day (8am-2pm) forum will be held at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya. Admission is free.

Lee also highlighted the importance of networking opportunities at the event.

“When SMEs come together and they interact, there will be lots of learning and networking opportunities, so we want to enable them to do that.

“In short, apart from gaining first-hand access to new technology, trends, issues, business tips and future developments in various industries, the SME Thought Leadership forum also serves as a valuable networking platform for SMEs,” he said.

Such events enable the bank to forge closer ties with local communities, as well as become trusted advisors for SME solutions related to financing, cash management and trade.

Moreover, Lee is setting up a team to help customers cross borders across the bank’s key markets, which will be the source of intra-Asean trade. This is where the bank’s 800 branches and over 2,000 relationship managers in Asean will come into play to facilitate cross-border financial advisory to give its customers a soft landing into new markets.

CIMB’s Halal Corridor initiative will also help SMEs grow and expand beyond Malaysia into Asean and even further afield by taking advantage of CIMB’s complete suite of end-to-end Islamic financial solutions and regional expertise, its strong Asean footprint (CIMB Group has a presence in all 10 Asean countries), as well as strong global partners.

The SME Thought Leadership 2019 series is organised by Star Media Group and presented by CIMB Bank Bhd.

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Rotary Club’s ‘3H Medical Outreach Program’ receives RM50,000 sponsorship from Fusionex

Fusionex is an established multi-award winning data technology provider specializing in Analytics, Big Data, the Internet of Things, Machine Learning …

Fusionex contributed RM50,000 to the 3H Health Awareness Campaignorganized by the Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur (RCKL) DiRaja. The programaims to create awareness regarding the ‘3Hs’ or ‘three highs’, namelyhigh blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190325005289/en/

Fusionex Founder & Group CEO Dato' Seri Ivan Teh (fourth left) presenting a mock cheque to Malaysia ...

Fusionex Founder & Group CEO Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh (fourth left) presenting a mock cheque to Malaysia Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (third left). Looking on are Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and Rotary Club Kuala Lumpur DiRaja President Datuk Seri Nelson Kwok.

The campaign was launched at the Lembah Pantai Library Complex and wasofficiated by the Minister of Health Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad andLembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil. Fusionex Founder and Group CEO Dato’ SeriIvan Teh was a VIP guest and participated in the cheque presentationceremony during the event.

Fusionex is a main partner for the program which aims to educate thepublic via a Mobile Medical Outreach van manned by medicalprofessionals. The van will be visiting schools, colleges, malls andcommunity centers across the country to conduct health checks for thepublic.

The event saw close to 400 members of the public receiving free healthcheckups including Body Mass Index, blood pressure, blood sugar andtotal cholesterol tests. The health tests were conducted by voluntarynurses and the program is slated to run for two years.

CIO, CTO & Developer Resources

YB Dzulkefly said, “The Ministry is extremely proud of the initiativetaken by the Rotary Club, as this is in line with the Ministry’sStrategic Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases, to enhance cooperationwith the private sector and NGOs to improve the health of the citizens.”

RCKL DiRaja President Datuk Seri Nelson Kwok said, “The Mobile MedicalOutreach will be made available to the public at schools, colleges,shopping malls, and community centers. The Club will be offering freescreening for members of the public and is looking forward to screening10,000 Malaysians. We thank our corporate sponsors like Fusionex,Gintell, Subway and Celcom for their generous support towards this goodcause.”

Fusionex Founder and Group CEO Dato’ Seri Ivan Teh said, “We are pleasedto play a part in this noble medical program that the Rotary Club hasinitiated. We trust that such initiatives will have a profound andcatalytic impact to the people. At Fusionex, we encourage a healthylifestyle and we strongly believe that prevention is better than cure.The ‘3 Highs’ program does precisely this – the program createsawareness, encourages people to check on their health statusesregularly; and hopefully prevents or at least minimizes unwanteddiseases. I urge the public to make full use of this facility offered bythe Rotary Club in getting free checkups as well as learning how theyand their loved ones can live better, healthier lives.”

About Fusionex

Fusionex is an established multi-award winning data technology providerspecializing in Analytics, Big Data, the Internet of Things, MachineLearning and Artificial Intelligence. Its offerings are focused onhelping clients capture, store, process, analyze and make sense of vastamounts of structured and unstructured data. Featured on Forbes,Bloomberg, Gartner, IDC, Forrester, Edison and Huffington Post, Fusionexis the largest Big Data Analytics company and market leader in ASEAN,bringing state-of-the-art, innovative and breakthrough data-drivenplatforms to its stable of clientele (including Fortune 500, FTSEcompanies, large conglomerates as well as a wide array of small andmedium enterprises (SMEs)) that spans across the United States, Europeas well as Asia Pacific. To learn more about Fusionex, visit www.fusionex-international.com

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190325005289/en/

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CIMB crowned M’sia’s Best Digital Bank 2018, Best Retail Bank

… with its adoption of the first big data platform in Malaysia, where it deployed open source software supported by a data science centre of intelligence, …

Gupta (centre) is see with CIMB head of Consumer Banking Malaysia Daniel Cheong (left), Regional head of Cards Retail Assets & Deposits, Group Consumer Banking Vipin Agrawal (right) with the awards received at The Asian Banker’s International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards 2019 ceremony in Dubai.

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Bank Bhd (CIMB) recently received a slew of prestigious awards for its consumer banking business, which include being Malaysia’s ‘Best Digital Bank 2018’.

The Asian Banker not only crowned CIMB as Malaysia’s Best Digital Bank 2018, and Best Retail Bank for the third consecutive year; but also named Samir Gupta, CIMB Group’s Consumer Banking CEO, as Retail Banker of the Year in Asia Pacific 2019, which recognises the exceptional achievements of a best-in-class leader in the region’s retail banking industry.

CIMB has also been ranked one of the top 10 banks in Asia Pacific in Asian Banker’s league table, from seventeenth place previously.

In a press statement, it said, CIMB also garnered the title Asia’s Leader in Loans at the IDC Financial Insights Innovation Awards 2019, for its Consumer Banking’s innovative CIMB 1-Minute Financing InstaApproval, which was recognised for its responsiveness to market needs, effectiveness of deployment, market response and long-term business viability.

Commenting on the wins, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz, Group CEO, CIMB Group, said, “Our thriving consumer banking franchise in Asean today is the result of our strong initiative to develop CIMB as a universal bank, and these awards prove how far we have pushed our own boundaries to deliver great digital banking products seamlessly to our retail customers, through smart data analytics and AI.

“These awards will spur us on to deepen our customer-centricity, which is one of the five identified pillars in CIMB’s next mid-term growth plan, Forward23. Our customers’ continued trust will also drive us to continually improve our value proposition for all 14 million of them across Asean.”

According to CIMB, the bank’s digital push was ramped up in 2018 with its adoption of the first big data platform in Malaysia, where it deployed open source software supported by a data science centre of intelligence, to enable better insights and smart, timely, contextual response to customers’ needs. Both Asian Banker and IDC have employed rigorous criteria in evaluating potential winners for their awards.

The Asian Banker, for example, took into account not just the bank’s operating profit growth over several years, but also metrics like productivity, cost-efficiency, effective use of data analytics for best-in-class CX, and risk management.

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CIMB banks on all-digital strategy in the Philippines

But the advent of disruptive technology and financial technology (fintech) will allow banking players to enter markets differently. Our approach in the …

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd is counting on an all-digital strategy to help it make inroads in the Philippines, an attractive but tough banking market whose internet and mobile banking penetration is among the highest in the world.

It formally launched operations there on Jan 29, becoming the country’s first all-digital bank.

Analysts say CIMB Group will be a test case for other banks looking to make strides in one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies. Most foreign banks, including Maybank Philippines Inc, the only other Malaysian-owned commercial bank there, employ a branch-heavy model and struggle to make an impact.

It is a competitive market, with about 21 universal banks, 22 commercial banks, 57 thrift banks, 492 rural banks, 40 credit unions and 6,267 non-banks with quasi-banking functions.

“Starting a traditional banking business in new markets is never easy, especially without brand and scale. But the advent of disruptive technology and financial technology (fintech) will allow banking players to enter markets differently. Our approach in the Philippines is anchored in this principle,” group CEO Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz tells The Edge.

As an “all-digital, mobile-first” bank, CIMB Bank Philippines Inc’s (CIMB Philippines) consumer banking proposition is backed by a suite of products accessible online and via mobile, he says.

“We also have a partnership-heavy distribution strategy, working with known local brands to provide electronic distribution at scale. This is what we mean by achieving brand recognition and scale quickly,” he adds.

CIMB Philippines’ partners include 7-Eleven and DragonPay, with a total of 8,000 customer touchpoints nationwide.

That CIMB Group has chosen the Philippines from all its regional markets to embark on an all-digital strategy is no surprise.

Filipinos were the world’s heaviest internet users last year despite relatively slow connection speeds, spending an average of 10 hours and two minutes online a day. This was according to Digital 2019, a report released last month by Hootsuite and We are Social, showing people’s online behaviour around the world.

Overall, there were 76 million internet users in the country. Mobile banking usage reached 54%, higher than the global average of 41%.

In December last year, CIMB Group also embarked on a digital banking proposition in Vietnam, launching its first digital lounge in Ho Chi Minh City and its “Octo” mobile banking app. But, unlike in the Philippines, it is also counting on branches to operate there. It set up its first Vietnamese branch, in Hanoi, in 2016.

“We have been making steady progress in Vietnam with the business growing organically,” Zafrul says, without elaborating.

CIMB Group is not opting for a branch banking model in the Philippines. It currently has only one branch in the Philippines, it is understood, to mainly fulfil the banking licence requirement.

“Consumers of today and tomorrow need innovative financial solutions that are relevant to their needs as well as help them get ahead and advance their financial well-being, but they don’t necessarily need a physical bank,” says Vijay Manoharan, CEO of CIMB Philippines.

On its website, CIMB Philippines says it offers, among others, bank account opening in just 10 minutes, the best in market interest rates for savings accounts, no transaction fees and withdrawal options at over 8,000 partner locations and over 20,000 ATMs nationwide for free — all through its Octo mobile app.

Its “UpSave Account” offers an interest rate of 2% a year, which it claims is eight times higher than that of competitors.

When asked how soon he anticipates CIMB Philippines making a profit, Zafrul says: “We have some internal benchmarks and milestones. We feel comfortable with the investments we are undertaking, and are currently focused on building a robust digital business and bringing high-value propositions to the market to drive customer acquisition.”

Of CIMB Group’s overseas operations, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand are its biggest contributors to earnings.

The group also recently received regulatory approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines for its investment banking joint venture, CIMB Bancom Capital Corp, in the country.

According to Zafrul, CIMB Group holds a 60% stake in Bancom Capital Corp while Bancom II Consultants Inc and PLP Group Holdings Inc each holds 20%.

“This is anchored in bringing CIMB’s Asean investment banking brand to Filipino corporates wanting to expand in the region and originating in-bound transactions from Asean to the Philippines. It’s an extension of our very successful Asean investment banking franchise,” he says.

The Philippines is a promising market, considering its economy has been the fastest-growing in Asean in recent years. Last year, the economy grew 6.2%, the slowest in three years, but still among the fastest in Asia.

The World Bank has projected that the economy will grow 6.5% this year and by a slightly faster 6.6% in 2020 and 2021. Its forecasts are below the Philippine government’s target range of 7% to 8% yearly until 2022.

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Indecision Mars Crypto Efforts In Malaysia, As Government Remain Undecided Over Legalization

… and central bank issued a joint statement, confirming they were setting up regulation on cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) assets.

The Malaysian government is still undecided whether to legalize cryptocurrencies in the country.

According to a report by English-language local media New Straits Times on Jan. 12, the Malaysian Federal Territories Minister, Khalid Abdul Samad, while fielding questions on whether digital currencies are currently legal or illegal, replied saying: “At the moment, the answer is neither legal nor illegal as the situation is still unclear.”

Mr. Samad noted that while he was involved in the launch of Harapan Coin (HRP) — a proposed political cryptocurrency — he isn’t the finance minister and therefore the matter does not fall under his jurisdiction.

It would be recalled that in December 2018, Malaysia’s finance regulator and central bank issued a joint statement, confirming they were setting up regulation on cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) assets.

Samad was also reported to have previously proposed to Bank Negara Malaysia and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to use the digital currency, Harapan Coin, for government transactions.

However, according to a report by Cointelegraph in November, 2018, a Malaysian Member of Parliament had urged the government to implement proper cryptocurrency regulations before undertaking the Harapan Coin cryptocurrency project. Cointelegraph further explained in December, 2018 through a dedicated analysis that as much as 30 percent of the funds raised for the project were destined for the system’s administrators — who remain effectively anonymous.

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