OCBC considering 'digital bank' in Indonesia

OCBC chief executive officer Samuel Tsien has announced plans to pursue an idea of a "digital bank" in Indonesia. PHOTO: OCBC

SINGAPORE - OCBC is pursuing an idea of a "digital bank" in Indonesia, said its chief executive officer Samuel Tsien on Monday (Aug 6) at the bank's results briefing, as Singapore's second-largest bank looks to join its peers in launching banking for mobile-savvy customers in this region.

The bank said it was unable to share more details at this early stage, though it is likely that this digital bank will not be a standalone unit, which is the model used by DBS.

This comes as UOB last week announced a "digital bank" for five markets in Asean - Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

UOB aims to have three to five million customers in the next five years with this digital bank. This will be operated at a "steady-state" cost-to-income ratio of 35 per cent. UOB said it would use a "unique data-centric business model", that taps the entire customer life cycle comprehensively.

UOB will rely on its in-house digital technology development, as well as its collaboration with its fintech partners, credit assessment firm Avatec.ai and data analytics firm Personetics.

DBS in April 2016 launched digibank India, India's first mobile-only bank that is driven by technology from biometrics identification to artificial intelligence. A DBS spokesman said that digibank India now is run by 60 to 70 people, with the virtual assistant handling some 80 per cent of customer interactions round the clock. The bank has since acquired more than two million customers in India.

DBS followed this up with a digibank in Indonesia last August. Today, some 250,000 customers in Indonesia are using it. This year, DBS is extending the utility of the virtual assistant to new areas such as cross-selling through contextual conversations.

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