Boost, RHB Commits to Delivering Greater Financial Inclusion in Malaysia through Digital Bank
- Provide greater access to financial inclusion among the underserved and unserved
- Boost has spent the last few years building essential elements for a digital bank
Boost, the fintech arm of Axiata Group Bhd (Axiata) and RHB Banking Group (RHB) hailed the achievement of a milestone in obtaining the digital banking license issued by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
Their partnership to form a digital banking consortium was announced in June 2021, with Boost holding a 60% stake and RHB 40% with the aim of driving innovation and increasing competitiveness.
To meet the criteria established by BNM, both parties will combine their expertise in specific areas – Boost’s extensive fintech experience and RHB’s deep knowledge in banking and risk management, to create a comprehensive suite of affordable and accessible digital banking and financial solutions. The goal will be to create greater digital access to financial inclusion among underserved and unserved segments.
Izzaddin Idris (photo), Chairman and Group CEO of Axiata, who is also Chairman of Boost, said, “This is an important milestone for Axiata’s fintech business and a validation of the strong value proposition that we bring to the table with our partners RHB Banking Group. The digital banking business aligns with our collective aspirations to support Malaysia’s digital transformation, as well as advancing Axiata’s digital inclusion campaign in the region.
Izzaddin explains that securing this license provides Axiata with multi-pronged opportunities to address the ongoing digitalization changes in its business: “On the one hand, we can now offer financial inclusion to underserved and unserved segments. such as the micro and small and medium enterprise community as they grow to support the country’s economic recovery.At the same time, we are able to actively meet the demand of our growing consumer base prioritizing digital, looking for convenient, enhanced and secure user experiences for accessing banking and credit services.This development also strengthens the capacity of Boost the experience and capabilities to seize regional opportunities in this high-growth segment.
Sheyantha Abeykoon (to the right), Group CEO of Boost adds, “Digital banking will be a catalyst for greater financial inclusion and aligns with our core mission to empower and financially support users and merchants. The license now fulfills our vision to become a full-spectrum fintech player in the region to better serve the underserved and as one of the pioneers in the industry we look forward to this very exciting journey in creation an inclusive digital and financial ecosystem for all Malaysians. with RHB.
Mohd Rashid Mohamad is equally excited (photo), Group Managing Director/Group Chief Executive Officer of RHB Banking Group who said: “The license granted to RHB and our partner Axiata is an important step in reinforcing our commitment to continuously improve our value propositions and better serve our stakeholders, including providing quality financial services to a wider range of customers, in this case underserved businesses and individuals in Malaysia. Our joint customers will have access to digital, agile and secure credit. Which aligns well with the RHB brand’s commitment to delivering simple, fast, and seamless experiences. We look forward to playing our part in charting the evolution of the industry in this exciting era of digital banking and making progress for everyone.
Dr. Siew Chan Cheong, Chief Strategy Officer of RHB, added: “Building a successful digital bank for underserved customers in Malaysia means embedding ourselves deeply into the daily lives of our customers to ensure that digital banking is present and ready when they need it. an entity must demonstrate not only high levels of convenience, but also high levels of reliability and accountability. With Boost, we believe the digital bank we are building together will have all of this in place. The digital bank also demonstrates RHB’s commitment and desire to drive innovation within Malaysia’s financial services.
Prepare for digital banking
Over the past few years, Boost has laid the groundwork and built the essential elements of a digital bank, one of which is through extensive lending activity through Boost Credit. Through this, the fintech player has developed a large base of digitally engaged primary clients with deep data-driven insights to innovate and build strong value propositions that solve the problems of the underserved. The partnership with RHB allows Boost to take advantage of the latter’s banking expertise. Boost has made significant investments in building technology platforms and hopes to launch the service in the short term.
RHB, on the other hand, brings to the consortium many years of established trust with clients and regulatory authorities, as well as proven expertise in key banking areas, including core banking, risk management and compliance, liquidity, capital, operational and credit management, product management and responsible financing. The parties will also rely on the help of RHB [email protected] model to accelerate delivery and productivity as well as to create successful digital offers similar to what has already been achieved in existing innovative offers such as the RHB MyHome app, RHB SME e-Solutions, SME Online Financing (first app of AI-enabled SME digital loan in Malaysia), RHB Reflex and eKYC onboarding solutions.
Boost also signed a memorandum of understanding with Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia (CGC) in June last year through its subsidiary, Boost Credit, for a possible digital bank guarantee, and became the first licensee of digital banking to collaborate with CGC. The MoU has two key parts – the first is a commitment to explore extending a portfolio guarantee for future digital banking MSME-focused loans, and the second involves working with CGC to take referrals to provide financing to eligible MSMEs without collateral.