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CELEBRATING SUCCESS : How Maybank is Leading Digital Transformation in Banking Sector

July 29, 2021
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Maybank, changing the face of traditional banking

Malayan Banking Berhad (“Maybank Group” or “the Group”) is the largest financial services and banking group in Malaysia. The Group serves its 22 million customers through a robust portfolio of financial products and services, including consumer and corporate banking, treasury activities, insurance, and asset management. These contributed to the Group’s annual revenue of MYR 51 billion in 2020. For the same year, Maybank Group had an operating income of MYR 6.48 billion and was the winner of the world’s best consumer digital bank in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Despite topping local and international market charts with notable digital milestones like QRPay and Maybank Trade, the Group’s M25 plan persists on digitalisation as a key-value driver. The strategy is similar to its Digital Bank of Choice strategy set in 2020. With customers spoilt for choice in today’s market, it is a challenge to reach that pinnacle of customer experience and preserve customer relationships at the same time, especially if a brand doesn’t fully invest in digital roadmaps and collaborations.

“We must always have the user behaviour in mind when we are creating new digital services and/or products. Digital banking providers who provide the best user experience and can solve customers’ problems will continue to be relevant,” said Datuk John Chong, Group CEO of Maybank Community Financial Services.

In this article, you will see Maybank in its journey to improve service delivery capabilities in the era of hyper-digitisation and competition.

Improving the digital banking experience

Maybank takes inspiration from the rapid rise of digital banking and fintech startups in its pursuit to continue enhancing customer experience. The bank’s mission is to provide customers with simple and convenient access to its financial services using ubiquitous digital solutions.

In 2018, the Group revamped the Maybank2U mobile application and website to offer a seamless transacting experience. The mobile application, which now features enhanced payment capabilities and customer personalisation, boasts over 12 million mobile downloads with an impressive 7 million active users (excluding website users) in 2020. New upgrades have allowed customers to generate dynamic PayNow QR codes for on-demand transfers. The mobile app also features a display of remittance options for more transparent overseas fund transfers.  Apart from that, other Maybank2U experience-enhancing functions include Scan & Pay, a personal debit and credit spending tracker, and a customisable savings planner. 

As the Group recognised the growing importance of digital products and services, it launched MAE (Maybank Anytime, Everyone) by Maybank2U in 2020. This complimentary mobile banking and e-wallet application seamlessly integrate online banking with one’s lifestyle needs. MAE not only allows customers to have full access to their savings accounts, pay bills and transfer funds. It also offers newer fintech solutions such as expenses monitoring, in-app virtual debit cards and ‘Tabung’, an individual and group-goal based saving feature. 

Maybank Group received numerous feedbacks from customers with negative experiences from self-service options, such as chatbots and FAQs. Looking to offer a better solution, the Group implemented E-CLEVA, an integrated live video chat solution. With this new capability, insurance claims teams could provide real-time assisted claims support for motor and fire insurances, allowing the bank to process claims digitally and within 15 minutes. 

Building operational efficiency with digitalisation

As customers stay at home during the movement control order, Maybank Group saw a significant surge in the number of digital transactions and users on its platforms — zakat payments before the festive period, for example, has increased by 227% year-on-year (Y-o-Y). At the same time, QRPay saw a transaction volume growth of over 650% Y-o-Y. With active mobile users expanding by 34%, Maybank Group had to deploy cutting-edge technologies to maintain its business outcomes at a rapid speed. 

The Group placed a heavy focus on automating its back offices, namely to streamline back-end processes by implementing machine learning for processing credit applications, branch operations, remittances and trade services. It reinvented the technology stack to support every layer of banking operation by adopting technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), ICR/OCR (Intelligent or Optical Character Recognition) and application integration for certain ‘open’ operations. 

Other digitalising efforts include migrating transactions from branches onto the online payments platform and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Anomalous Parts Detection for vehicle claims submission. The Group also launched a fully digital Know Your Customer (KYC) capability, enabling a customer to onboard through app-integrated video calls. 

Maybank Group measures the success of all digital initiatives through two (2) measures — straight-through processing (STP) rates and customer turnaround times. These measures allow the bank to track and analyse the efficiency of its services, enabling more productive service delivery capabilities across various operations.

Enabling convenient, safe and secure transactions

The rise of digital banking is analogous to a double edge sword — on one end, you have greater convenience at your fingertips. But on the other side, digital vulnerabilities and frauds can now affect us more than ever. Maybank Group mitigates these risks by internalising a robust cybersecurity infrastructure that covers internal governance, human knowledge and network capabilities. 

The Group employs a best-of-breed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology that enables continuous real-time monitoring of any internal or external cyberattacks. Coupled with its Regional Security Operations Centre, which centrally manages the operational level of system security, the bank’s security specialists can quickly and continuously detect and respond to malicious activities using the Splunk Enterprise Security platform. 

Driven by the surge of digital transactions, Maybank announced in April 2021 that it is discontinuing the SMS TAC (transaction authorisation code) for approving online transactions on both its apps. The bank intends to protect its customers with improved online banking security. Customers will switch to Secure2U as the preferred authorisation method for most transactions, excluding Financial Process Exchange (FPX) and Direct Personnel Expense (DPE). This alternative feature adds an extra layer of protection. Transactions can only be approved within 50 seconds on a registered device using Secure Verification (one-tap authentication) or Secure TAC (a six-digit TAC number generated on the mobile app).  

This new ability creates a safer and more conducive way for customers to transact. At the same time, Maybank Group can build a digital ecosystem that enables safe and secure transactions continuously, fostering digital trust with its users.

Accelerating growth through key partnerships

As non-banking institutions with digital banking licenses flood the market, Maybank Group ensures business competitiveness by engaging in strategic partnerships to introduce new products while enhancing existing offerings. The bank focuses on creating close C-level collaborations with technology disruptors to foster customer stickiness by integrating lifestyle propositions with financial services.  

At a time where customers are increasingly adopting digital products in their lifestyle, Maybank Group joined hands with the ride-hailing company, Grab, to drive the acceptance and ubiquity of cashless payments further. By integrating the two payment systems, customers of Maybank and Grab can choose between using their GrabPay or Maybank QRPay mobile wallets at the merchants they support. Direct cash top-ups on the GrabPay mobile wallet via Maybank2U enrich the online experience between these two digital apps.

The partnership with Grab doesn’t stop there. Maybank Group unveiled a new dual-faced credit card that enables customers to seamlessly collect GrabRewards points that they can then use to redeem vouchers and other rewards. Aiming to serve younger consumers further, the Group also teamed up with an e-commerce powerhouse, Shopee, to offer a lifestyle and e-commerce credit card. Similarly, users obtain rewards – Shopee Coins which they can spend on future online or offline purchases.

The Group also partnered with various property leaders including, UDA Holdings, Tropicana Corp. and i-City to offer “HouzeKEY”, an alternative home financing solution for first-time home buyers. Another partnership with Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) saw the launch of ASNB e-channels on the bank’s platform.  The collaboration enables cross-system transactions and the viewing of account balances via Maybank ATMs or the Maybank2U app. 

Maybank is poised to conquer the fast-growing digital banking space with its wide range of digital products and services, seamlessly integrated into a customer’s everyday life. The Group continues to defend and grow key customer markets in the era of digitalisation without losing sight of its core principle; humanising banking.

5 BFSI Cybersecurity Trends in APAC You Need to Know in 2022

May 19, 2022
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As innovation and technology change, so does the world of cybersecurity. So what to expect in 2022? Here are 5 BFSI Cybersecurity Trends in APAC You Need to Know in 2022.

The rise of digital banking and accelerated digital transformation have brought about new security concerns. Criminals are turning their attention to gullible online users, creating ever-so sophisticated scamming schemes to defraud them. At the enterprise level, threat actors are opportunistically using the shifting work environment to adopt tactics to infiltrate organisations.

Statistics1 from the Commercial Crime Investigation Department at the Royal Malaysia Police show that cybercrime is skyrocketing as consumers shift to online channels.

Between 2017 and June 20, 2021, Malaysians suffered losses amounting to about RM2.23 billion (US$533 million) from cybercrime frauds.

Of the 67,552 cybercrime cases reported during the period, e-commerce scams topped the chart with 23,011 cases. Meanwhile, complaints on online transactions surged 112% between 2019 and 2020, indicating that cybercriminals are looking to capitalise on the surge in e-commerce activity and rapid consumer adoption of digital financial solutions amid the new normal brought about by the COVID-19.

The pandemic forced consumers to turn to online retailers to buy groceries and e-wallets to pay their bills. A survey conducted2 by Kaspersky and research agency YouGov found that out of the 1,600+ respondents in Asia-Pacific (APAC) polled, 90% indicated having used mobile payment applications at least once in the past 12 months. Around 15% of the total survey respondents said they began using digital payment methods during the pandemic.

1. Asia emerges as favoured target

At the enterprise-level, cyber threats are exploding as well. The 2022 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, released3 last month, revealed that Asia has become the most attacked region globally, with over one in four cyber attacks recorded by the tech firm last year targeting users in the continent.

Asia saw more cyber attacks than any other region in the past year, the report says, with financial services and manufacturing organisations in particular experiencing nearly a combined 60% of attacks in Asia.

Server access attacks, where the attacker gains unauthorised access to a server, was the second-most common attack type observed, making up 11% of all incidents IBM’s X-Force IR team remediated in 2021. The majority of these attacks occurred in Asia, and in many cases the threat actors were successful in deploying malware or employing penetration testing tools on a server, the report indicates.

2. Fast digital transformation puts stress on IT systems

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and forced people to change the way they worked, transacted, and banked. This unprecedented speed of digital transformation is putting stress on banks’ IT systems, compromising real-time data analysis, and creating storage and security issues.

A recent survey4 of 305 global bank COOs and CTOs conducted by data-monitoring and management company – ITRS Group, found alarmingly weak operational resilience at financial institutions in the wake of COVID-19.

84% of respondents stated that their IT environment has changed more in the past 12 months than over their company’s lifespan, with digital transformation, work-from-home arrangements, cloud adoption, and more sophisticated security threats cited as the top drivers of change in banks’ IT environment. The figure stands even higher for APAC-based institutions where the velocity of IT change was found to be the greatest.

Globally, 79% of respondents indicated that it has become increasingly difficult for their institution to maintain their SLAs, or service-level agreements, with more than half stating that they suffered at least one business day of unplanned downtime every year.

Additionally, 94% stated that digital transformation has resulted in a significant increase in the volume of data, leading to challenges in analysing data in real-time (65%), storing data (62%), and difficulties in securing data (62%), creating a concerning trend.

3. Security, fraud prevention as a differentiator

As more people rely on digital payments and get accustomed to digital services, awareness of cyber risks and crime is also on the rise.

In fact, security is becoming consumers’ top concern, with 67% of Southeast Asian respondents polled by Kaspersky and YouGov indicating that they hope for the implementation of one-time passwords (OTPs) through SMS for every transaction.

After OTPs, two-factor authentication was named the second most preferred security feature (57%), while 56% of respondents said biometric security features, like facial or fingerprint recognition, should be added for digital banking and e-wallets.

Going even further, a considerable proportion of consumers believe that financial services providers should play a bigger role in protecting their customers from being defrauded. In fact, 40% of respondents indicated that banks and mobile wallet companies should “start preventing frauds/scams automatically based on spending behavior and/or transfer history.”

4. Advanced scams and social engineering on the rise

With increasing international cooperation and the establishment of multiple task forces to trace ransomware gangs, Kaspersky experts believe the number of such attacks will decrease in 2022.

Instead, cybercriminals will turn to more advanced scams and social engineering as they seek to exploit human and system vulnerabilities. These scams will leverage all sorts of tools and channels, ranging from SMS and automated phone calls to messaging apps and social networks, and will be fueled by the availability of advanced technologies such as deepfake and voice synthesis, the experts said, quoted5 by Vietnam News.

In Thailand, nearly 40,000 people were scammed with their bank accounts and credit cards showing inexplicable transactions. In Malaysia, scammers used fake bank websites to steal customers banking details. And in Vietnam, criminals impersonated top e-commerce platforms to trick users into sending money.

5. Cryptocurrency and NFT industry continues to attract cybercriminals

Kaspersky experts predict a significant wave of attacks on cryptocurrency businesses, a trend that started in 2019 and which coincides with the beginning of the cryptocurrency market’s bull run.

Figures from blockchain data platform Chainalysis show6 that cryptocurrency-based crime, including scams, ransomware, and stolen funds, hit a new all-time high in 2021, with illicit addresses receiving US$14 billion over the course of the year, up 79% from RM32.91 billion (US$7.8 billion) in 2020.

Kaspersky experts said they have already witnessed advanced persistent threat (APT) groups rising to attack the cryptocurrency business aggressively, and they anticipate that this activity will continue as criminals increasingly exploit flawed security and resort to advanced techniques including manufacturing and retailing rogue devices with backdoors and social engineering campaigns to steal cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are particularly attractive to criminals, considering the anonymity they provide.

Southeast Asia could be more vulnerable than other countries, considering that consumers in these locations are known for being avid adopters of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Among 20 countries surveyed by Kaspersky, the Philippines was found to have the highest adopter rate of 32% of Filipinos indicating owning digital assets. This is followed by Thailand (26.2%), ranked second, then Malaysia (23.9%). Vietnam (17.4%) was fifth and Singapore (6.8%) 14th.

Protect Your Organisation Today

The urgency of addressing the relentless surge of cyber threats impacting both the public and business sectors is a fundamental step to enabling a sustainable, safe and successful digital society. As a key player in digital transformation for companies across industries, TM One’s commitment to cybersecurity helps to create a safe and secure online environment for businesses and protect consumers from fraud and identity theft.

TM One has collaborated with CyberSecurity Malaysia, the national cybersecurity specialist agency, to elevate the nation’s cybersecurity network and ecosystem while strengthening Malaysia’s self-reliance in cyberspace.

“At TM One, we understand that new technologies are driving the accelerated digital transformation for many industries, allowing players to respond quickly to changes as well as provide customers with better digital experiences. Having a strong cybersecurity foundation will benefit Malaysian financial institutions not only mitigate cyber risk, but boost performance.  Our Managed Security Services are designed to meet the specific needs of financial institutions and take their digital transformation forward to effectively improve operations, address compliance requirements, and enable open ecosystems,” said Muhammad Ghadaffi Mohd Tairobi, Director of Sales for Banking and Financial Services at TM One.

Do you know what are the key sources of cyber risk in Malaysia? Click here to download the infographics.

This article was first published by FinTech News Malaysia

References
1. https://www.nst.com.my/news/crime-courts/2021/07/708911/malaysians-suffered-rm223-billion-losses-cyber-crime-frauds
2. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1552270/threat-awareness-high-as-digital-banking-users-list-preferred-security-steps
3. https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/ADLMYLAZ
4. https://www.itrsgroup.com/a-global-operational-resilience-survey
5. https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1141324/advanced-scams-data-breaches-crypto-and-nft-attacks-imminent-in-southeast-asia-kaspersky.html
6. https://blog.chainalysis.com/reports/2022-crypto-crime-report-introduction/
7. https://www.tmone.com.my/solutions/cybersecurity-services/bfsi-infographic/?utm_medium=cybersecuritypage&utm_source=TMONE&utm_campaign=CYDEC

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: Getting Employee Experience Right – Lesson from Maybank, Accenture, and DBS Bank

November 30, 2021
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The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in our relationship with work. In this article, we share 3 best practices to give you inspiration on how to get your EX right.

The pandemic caused a seismic shift in our relationship with work. Past location-based practices made way for a remote, employee-centric model. However, with vaccination rates showing a glimmer of hope back to normalcy, how do we move forward with the future of work?

The answer here is clear. In fact, the Microsoft Global Work Trend Index found that over 66% of leaders say their company is considering redesigning their workplaces to suit a hybrid work model.1

Employees share the same aspirations, with over 73% showing interest in flexible remote work options. Consequently, your team must prepare for the hybrid work future.

Managing these demands is mission-critical as over 40 per cent of the global workforce are considering changing jobs within the next year – nearly double the amount from past years.

This situation places a lot of pressure on how you retain and attract talents. To help you, we believe your company should centre decisions across these three main questions:

  1. The culture question: Do your employees celebrate each other’s success?
  2. The technology question: Is technology helping your employees work better?
  3. The environment question: Is your workplace designed for upliftment?

There is no definite answer on how your company can answer these questions. It differs significantly from each industry and, most importantly, to each unique employee. A robust and enabling employee experience must cover your employee’s entire life cycle.

In this article, we share three best practices from three distinct companies to give you inspiration on how you can tackle these employee experience questions.

Maybank – Treating employees as customers

“Beyond the pandemic, the overall changing work landscape, in line with the global outlook, and the push towards being more inclusive, point towards a combination of the different work settings to adapt to the different needs of both the workplace and the workforce”2 – Datuk Nora Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer

Maybank facilitated the transition of 82% of its workers to a work-from-home (WFH) setting within days when the lockdown struck. From this experience, Maybank took notice of the several groups of people in its workforce based on their nature of work.

In response to their staff and work nature, Maybank laid out a comprehensive hybrid approach to suit their employees’ lifestyle and career aspirations. This strategy included three main approaches to work:

  1. Work from home: Allows their employees to work from home for the long term, focusing on virtual interactions and engagements.
  2. Flexible working arrangements: Supports staff through different stages in their lives and careers. These include flexible hours, ‘phasing in and out’, various leave types and employee support schemes.
  3. Mobile work arrangements: A modern and tracked arrangement where employees are completely ‘mobile’ to discuss and agree on a model that works for them. This model focuses primarily on outcomes, rather than input.

Maybank seeks to complement these initiatives with new workplace designs and upskilling initiatives to support blended working arrangements.3

Apart from these employee-centric models, Maybank recognised that virtualisation of work could severely impact collaboration and communication.

It becomes easy for us to lose touch with our employees when we rarely meet them in person. As such, Maybank took proactive steps to counter this.

For example, Maybank initiated the Leaders Teaching Leaders (LTL) program, which held virtual sessions for the group EXCO to engage consistently with his employees. In 2020, over 630 sessions of LTL were participated by the Group EXCO.

Maybank shows us that a large corporation in a highly regulated environment does not limit a company to treating its employees with empathy. It recognised the changing demands from employees, and responded flexibly.

Accenture – Prioritising employees’ learning and development

“Our unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity unleashes innovation and creates a culture where everyone feels they have equal opportunity” – Julie Sweet, Chair and CEO

The growing need for digital skills can sometimes get too overwhelming for our employees. Coupled with the need to balance work, employees can find it challenging to match technology’s pace.

To help their employees, Accenture introduced the Future Talent Platform – a digital upskilling platform. The aim was to ensure that its workforce had the channels it needed to bridge skill gaps with ease and affordability.

This program is highly customisable and provides recommendations for upskilling based on an employee’s role. The platform hosts over 2,400 courses on the Accenture Academy platform and over 8,000 courses from content partners.

In 2021, Accenture reported an increase in training hours by 46% from fiscal 2020 to over 31 million training hours.4 They managed to average approximately 60 hours of training per person.

In addition, since March 2020, the company trained more than 70,000 employees on highly sought-after skills, such as cloud computing and remote collaboration tools.

These initiatives are vital today, where employees may feel threatened by technology replacing their jobs. Investing in our employees shows that we care about their growth and development. In return, companies can ensure they can retain their talents for the long term.

DBS Bank Ltd, Technology as a catalyst for employee engagement

“Conventional wisdom is that it is difficult for a legacy company to transform at scale. So, in embarking on change, some organisations keep the old and new organisations separate. My view is that to drive transformation at scale, you must attack the core — and make it mainstream. Even though it’s daunting, I am a firm believer that one needs to create change in the company-wide culture.”5 – Piyush Gupta, DBS Bank CEO

Keeping employees engaged with their work can be difficult within a remote setting. Communication lines may weaken, and employees may feel disconnected and alienated. DBS shows how technology, when used effectively, can drive coordination, efficiency, and collaboration.

DBS Bank initiated the “TOGETHER” movement to help its employees navigate through the pandemic as a team.6 The bank wanted to make sure that its employees remained connected and engaged by encouraging open communication throughout the pandemic. The three main initiatives of this movement are as follows:

  1. Communication program: DBS created guides on how employees can have a smooth transition into work-from-home settings. This included practical guides on how to organise work corners and create productive routines.
  2. Encourage social connections through digital platforms: DBS ensured teams remain connected via the bank’s video conferencing platform. DBS introduced team leaders methods to make sure teams connected through initiatives such as daily check-ins.
  3. Care packages for personal wellbeing: DBS held several healthcare and wellbeing webinars to help its employees pave their way through the pandemic. Confidential counselling and mental wellbeing programmes were also readily available.

DBS also uses digital tools to encourage transparent communication across the workforce. Digital tools with empathy are a powerful combination. For instance, DBS initiated the “Ask Piyush” to create a direct communication channel to the CEO himself.

Employees can ask questions, comment, and give suggestions to the CEO directly via this digital tool. This channel helps to break the traditional hierarchies and encourages more open communication across the bank. Consequently, such initiatives helped DBS create a conducive environment for its employees to thrive.


References:

1 Microsoft. (2021, March 22). The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? Retrieved 28 October 2021, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work

2 Lee, J. (2021, July 25). Maybank goes flexi. The Star. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2021/07/26/maybank-goes-flexi

3 Surviving The Impact of Covid-19: WFH is here to stay, looking more hybrid. (2021, January 14). The Edge Markets. Retrieved 25 October 2021, from https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/surviving-impact-covid19-wfh-here-stay-looking-more-hybrid

4 Accenture. (2020, October 21). Accenture’s Annual Reports. https://www.accenture.com/my-en/about/company/annual-report

5 “At DBS, we act less like a bank and more like a tech company.” With DBS Bank CEO Piyush Gupta. (2018, October 12). DBS Innovates. Retrieved 25 October 2021, from https://www.dbs.com/innovation/dbs-innovates/at-dbs-we-act-less-like-a-bank-and-more-like-a-tech-company-with-dbs-bank-ceo-piyush-gupta.html

6 Sustainability Report 2020 Stronger Together | DBS Bank. (2021, March 2). DBS. Retrieved 26 October 2021, from https://www.dbs.com/sustainability/reporting/sustainability-report

CELEBRATING SUCCESS : How EPF Digitalising its Customer Journey

September 30, 2021
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Employees’ Provident Fund of Malaysia (EPF) plays a central role in securing Malaysians’ retirement needs. As Malaysia’s public provident fund, EPF serves over 14.5 million members and manages a portfolio value of over RM1.0 trillion.

With digital channels becoming a norm in work and lifestyle needs, the importance of building these channels must be a priority. To that end, EPF has recognised these growing demands and initiated its Operations Transformation 2.0 back in 2017. Since then, the fund has engaged in several digitalisation initiatives. These initiatives serve to improve both the customer experience and internal operational efficiency.

Our article seeks answers to the following questions:

  1. How is EPF improving the digital experience of its members?
  2. How is EPF creating new channels & services to drive the participation of its members and widen its coverage?

Building a comprehensive omnichannel experience

1. Continuous enhancement to the i-Akaun platform on mobile and web applications

The i-Akaun platform is the primary digital channel for a customer’s interaction with EPF. It is accessible via the internet and more recent mobile applications – the i-Akaun app (for members) and the e-Caruman app (for employers). Some functions performed through these applications include checking account balances, monitoring transaction status, enabling payments, etc.

Since its launch, EPF has continuously introduced new updates/services onto its i-Akaun mobile application. In 2019, several updates included new PDF-format statements for downloads, targeted push notifications, a branch locator service, and fund performance monitoring for its i-Invest users.

With these improvements, the i-Akaun platform has gained commendable acceptance among its members in the past five (5) years. From 2017, the growth in i-Akaun membership grew by at least 70%, with 52.06% of their 14.5 million members registered on i-Akaun. On the employers’ side, 99.36% of 522,297 employers registered for i-Akaun.

To date, the i-Akaun application has nearly 1.5 million downloads with an average rating of 4.5. Both the growing user base and reviews reflect EPF’s focus on building these digital channels.

2. Enhancements to brick-and-mortar branches

To extend the digital experience onto its physical branches, EPF has continuously introduced new processes to improve customer interactions at the branch. The focus here is to provide effective self-service channels and superior customer service.

EPF designed its branches as a one-stop-centre approach. Apart from e-kiosks, EPF also introduced initiatives to provide advisory training for its staff. Nowadays, customers, tend to prefer self-service channels due to their efficiency and ease of use. Hence, EPF recognised that its staff could provide higher value as retirement advisors.

To execute this training plan, EPF introduced the Retirement Advisory Services (RAS) in July 2014, which is now available in 52 branches. The latest figures show that more than 82,000 members received advisory services that RAS provided.

3. E-payroll Services for SMEs

EPF also pays attention to services beyond its core functions. For example, in June 2021, EPF unveiled an e-Payroll service to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs with a digitalised payroll system. This service complements the i-Akaun platform for employers. It ensures that they meet and monitor statutory obligations and employee contributions.

The e-payroll service aims to ease the difficulties that small business owners face in terms of the financial constraints to adopt a digital payroll solution. Some features include the ability to store digital records, monitor account contributions, automate calculations, and many more.

The range of services provided by EPF is indeed commendable. The increase in customer interactions through electronic channels suggests that customers are strongly shifting towards digital channels provided by the fund. In 2019, self-service channels via kiosks and the i-Akaun platform recorded 104.88 million interactions, a 24.12% increase from 2018.

EPF’s Contact Management Centre (CMC), which handles customer inquiries mainly through telephone or email, recorded a 27.16% decrease from 2018. Customers are increasingly attuned to digital channels as opposed to traditional face-to-face interactions according to these statistics.

Launched new services to drive participation & increase coverage

1. Introduced i-Invest platform to drive participation from members

The introduction of this service was a new one for the industry. EPF was the first public retirement fund that allowed its members to invest their retirement savings directly into unit trust funds of their choice. Customers also enjoy significantly lower sales charges through this service. The sales charge ranges from 0%-0.5%compared to the standard range of 2%-3% often charged by intermediaries.

The i-Invest service also includes tools for its members to monitor all the relevant information on the unit trust funds they selected actively. Through these tools, EPF encourages higher participation from its members.

2. Building programmes for gig economy workers

EPF continues to face the challenge to cover a broader range of Malaysian workers. The growing size of the gig economy is one of the leading causes of this. Estimates indicate that gig workers would represent more than a third of Malaysia’s labour force in the next five (5) years. With the pandemic’s impact on job losses, this situation may worsen as Malaysians continue to find alternative income sources.

To counter this, EPF introduced the i-Saraan programme in mid-2020. Through this programme, self-employed workers can voluntarily contribute to their EPF accounts. This programme was designed to encourage gig economy workers to save up for retirement. The pickup has been encouraging, with recent registrations increasing by 22.11% in 2019 with 120,738 registrations.

The government has also championed this initiative by introducing an RM50 million matching grant for i-Saraan investors in June 2020.  In addition, EPF has engaged with the private sector, most notably collaborating with Grab Malaysia by extending their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed back in 2018. Like the government’s matching grant, this MOU commits Grab to match contributions by up to 5% with a ceiling of RM80 annually for those below 55 years old. Those above 55 years old are guaranteed matching contributions of 10% with a ceiling of RM120 annually.

How you can emulate EPF

  • The customer satisfaction levels are a reflection of the customer-focused culture that is present in EPF. Merely digitalising is not the answer. Businesses need to understand the specific customer journey pain points to build solutions effectively.
  • Observing EPF, the fund placed a strong emphasis on creating a comprehensive omnichannel experience, one that could meet the demands of different types of customers. This is crucial to ensure consistent customer satisfaction and provide a seamless onboarding process onto digital channels.

DEMYSTIFY TECHNOLOGY : Is Open Banking Set to Revolutionise Financial Services?

July 28, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic redefined how the financial services industry operates. It also created great momentum for innovations within the industry as consumers increasingly reached out for digital financial solutions. This growth has caused banks around the world to seriously look into Open Banking, a concept that was introduced just a few years ago. 

What is Open Banking?

Open banking is undoubtedly a huge leap towards digital transformation for banks globally. To define it, open banking is simply the practice of enabling Third Party Providers (TPPs) to have access to banks’ data through open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These TPPs range from e-wallets, microloans, FinTechs and many more.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

  • Broadly categorised into private, partner, and open APIs
  • Open API is an application interface that allows access to third-party developers without the need to establish a business relationship with the API publisher

Third-Party Providers (TPPs):

  • An authorised online financial service provider
  • There are two (2) types of TPPs:
    • Account Information Service Provider (AISP)
      Authorised access to account data provided by financial institutions and banks
    • Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP)
      Authorised access to initiate payments in and out of a user’s account

How is Open Banking beneficial?

The Open Banking revolution is bringing many new opportunities for innovators to create services and for customers to enjoy these services. The benefits of Open Banking is not just limited to consumers, but it extends to service providers as well.

Benefits to Consumers

i. Hyper-personalisation
Open Banking allows banks to collaborate with FinTechs and businesses from various industries. Data-sharing agreements with FinTechs and other non-financial companies open up the potential to develop new, innovative services as they utilise the vast data available. A more expansive source of data could potentially change the face of more traditional industries such as travel, retailers and insurance.

ii. Enhance the customer-centric approach
Banks gain access to user’s data from other participating financial institutions through Open Banking. This capability gives banks the means to leverage that data and create their integration-based financial offerings. As banks increase their database of customers and curate products accordingly, they are able to strengthen their “customer-centric” approach to business.

Where is Malaysia today in the Open Banking space?

In June 2016, Malaysia’s central bank and principal financial services regulator, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), established a Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG) to support innovations within the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. The FTEG plays the role of developing new policies and enhancing existing ones related to the adoption of new technologies in the sector.

Consequently, in 2017, FTEG launched a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox framework to test new and applicable technology, including Open Banking.

In March 2018, BNM made their biggest stride yet by establishing an Open API Implementation Group. This was to develop standards and regulations around open data, security, oversight arrangements for TPP, and rights of access. The group was also accountable to review the existing regulations regarding controls on customer information.

As of 2021, BNM is taking a phased approach towards Open Banking; they are cognisant of the security threats and governance measures that would need to come along with it. The central bank is also welcoming additional proposals from the BFSI, FinTech community and any interested parties that would benefit from standardised open APIs.

What does the future hold for Malaysia and Open Banking?

The Nordics in Europe and the UK are at the forefront of building a world-class Open Banking digital ecosystem. These countries have their framework and API standards in place to facilitate the process. They also have a vast digital infrastructure that enables the widespread use of Open Banking.

The global acceleration of Open Banking will be a catalyst towards Open Banking in Malaysia. Malaysia will be able to learn from the best practices of countries around the world and avoid the mistakes that they may have made while adopting Open Banking. With the right governance, regulations and security checks in place, Malaysia will soon follow suit with these leading countries in implementing Open Banking.

Open Banking will also gain traction in the country, thanks to its rapidly advancing FinTech ecosystem. The FinTech community in Malaysia is hungry for innovation and is also open to collaborating with banks to create new products and services. Moreover, Malaysia is home to the most digital natives in Southeast Asia, with 83% in digital consumers. These modern consumers are imperative in ensuring Open Banking is a success.

The increasing prominence of fintech companies alongside the high digital readiness of consumers proves one valid point – Malaysia has an emerging market with a vibrant digital ecosystem; one that is ripe to accept Open Banking. This digital transformation might just be the right enabler that unlocks opportunities in the banking space, ultimately revolutionising banking itself.

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