According to The Star, the event themed ‘Next and Ahead’ showcased the bank’s digital propositions and was attended by 250 participants from Ambank’s various clientele. AmBank leaders alongside external thought leaders such as JurisTech, Maxis, Microsoft, Merchantrade, StashAway, Cybertronium, and IDC discussed a wide range of themes and trends within the digital realm, providing their views and insights.
Our CEO and co-founder, See Wai Hun sat with a panel of experts – Chris Yap, Managing Director Business Banking of Ambank; Jeffrey Chew, Chairman of Fundaztic; Kevin Lee, Head of SME of Maxis; and Dato’ Fadzli Shah, Senior Advisor of Zetrix, together with the moderator of the day, Ibrahim Sani. The panel discussed the needs and tremendous growth opportunities for SMEs to digitalise their business and how the SME space has significant untapped opportunities for digital innovation by financial services players.
Kevin mentioned that prior to the pandemic, digitising for SMEs was not a priority. However, the pandemic has pushed SMEs to digitalise. “The market is there, and we are connecting a lot of businesses because most SMEs in Malaysia don’t have the technical know-how of how to digitalise.”
With the acceleration of digitalisation, many banks are moving toward digital customer onboarding even for SMEs. According to Jeff, most micro SMEs are still helmed by the older generation. At this stage, the current entrepreneurs are not 100% ready to be digitally onboarded fully. However, the newer generation is soon taking over the businesses and they are more ready and independent in finding financing. Hence, he believes that there is a need to build the emerging entrepreneur to which he predicts that in 5 years’ time, micro SMEs will be ready to be digitally onboarded fully.
Moving to a fresher topic on credit decisioning for SMEs, considering the needs of SMEs for working capital, how does artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) help with credit decisioning as they are typically made using historical data to predict repayment capability?
“AI is a very interesting technology,” said Wai Hun. “To predict SMEs repayment capability, banks will have to look at their payment history data but how do you find someone’s accounting data if they have not changed their accounting system in years? You can’t access that data.” Hence, instead of finding those data, Wai Hun advises the banks to look at the data they already have or made available and to harness it. “Without credit data, even going to ecosystem partners, you would not be able to know how well they will perform when you actually give them credit, as most scoring algorithms are, based on repayment ability and credit mix.” Therefore, banks can choose either to take the risk and invest in getting the data or use AI to find uncovered patterns in the current dataset and let the data speak for itself. This just shows the importance and vitality of advanced technology being utilised in the financial space.
“It’s time for banks and their corporate customers to move forward to collaborate with external players in adopting digitalisation,” said Chris. On the other hand, Dato’ Fazril spoke about how one should visualise and paint a picture of what one want to change and digitise – “Have your building blocks right.”
Last but not least, Wai Hun mentioned that digitising should be easy. Sometimes, what is preventing us is the constant thinking that we need more information. “So if you want information, let’s break it down. What information do you want? Where do you want to get it from?” Start figuring out why we first need this information and how can we simplify the journey.
“When we talk about digitalisation, for instance, you say you want to create a digital form in 1-2 minutes to give out a loan. You can only do so if you know which product you want, and which target segment you want. Then, just zoom in on that and focus on it. However, the minute you want to do everything, that’s when you may find yourself falling into different tracks.” – See Wai Hun
The rapid advances in technology are creating opportunities in the intersection between industries and AmBank has set its sight to go beyond banking in serving the needs of SMEs grappling with the opportunities and challenges of digitising their business models. An insightful session with the distinguished panellists discussing and addressing the opportunity to go beyond banking to serve the Malaysian SME segment. If you are interested to know how JurisTech can propel you to move beyond banking, drop us an email at email@example.com.
JurisTech (Juris Technologies) is a leading Malaysian-based fintech company, specialising in enterprise-class software solutions for banks, financial institutions, and telecommunications companies in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, and beyond.