UOB to launch digital bank in Thailand

Local lender United Overseas Bank (UOB) will open its digital bank in Thailand, with the aim of attracting three to five million customers in the next five years.

It will roll out the mobile-only lender in other Asean markets in the coming months.

TMRW, as the bank is known, is targeting Asean millennials who transact mainly on their phones.

The bank uses data to bring personalised functions and information to each customer, UOB said yesterday.

It said it has partnered financial technology (fintech) firms such as Personetics and Meniga to experiment and learn how to deepen customer engagement.

These fintech partnerships will be done through UOB's regional engagement labs (eLabs), said to be the first dedicated unit set up by a bank in Asean that is focused on using technology and behavioural insights to bolster the way it interacts with clients.

UOB said one of TMRW's most popular features, based on usage data from the 1,500 customers who joined the pilot programme in Thailand, is a money management game tied to a person's savings goals.

TMRW's functions are also meant to strip away banking jargon and remove hidden fees.

Dr Dennis Khoo, UOB's head of group retail digital, said TMRW "pushes simplicity to the limit".

"While Asean is known for its diversity, there remains a set of fundamental expectations by the digital generation when it comes to digital services, such as simplicity and an engaging user experience," said Dr Khoo.

"We took the time needed to understand our millennial customers and how and why they engage with mobile apps and digital services the way they do. We then used those insights in designing TMRW for today's millennials."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2019, with the headline UOB to launch digital bank in Thailand. Subscribe