Maybank still on the hunt for fintech ideas and people

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 7, 2018.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Four years after Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) began its drive to adopt financial technology (fintech) in its operations, the few start-ups it has partnered are still “not ideal.”

The group currently has partnerships with “two to three fintechs”, although it has heard from more than 50 such companies, said Maybank’s head of innovation Amran Hassan.

“When we started out, we were looking for firms with the right kind of personality. But we realised that [what we wanted was] the technology [these firms] brought that we can’t do ourselves,” Amran said at IDC’s Fintech Innovation Summit yesterday, adding that there are few such companies operating within Malaysia.

 “We’re looking for ideas and people,” he said, adding that the local banking giant has made improvements to its customer experience and hired people based on its meetings with fintech firms.

Going forward, he said, the group is looking for fintech solutions that can help it reduce costs by enhancing efficiency, or improve customer satisfaction and reach in order to grow revenue.

 Michael Araneta, head of research for IDC financial insights in the Asia-Pacific, said business-to-business solutions is an area in which Malaysian fintech firms still have room to grow.

Going forward, digital payment companies Alibaba’s Ant Financial and Tencent’s WeChat are on Amran’s radar as disruptors to the local banking sector, which has pushed strongly towards e-wallets and mobile payments recently.