24 May - 2 min read
Investment holding company Pertama Digital Bhd said that it will be partnering Indonesia’s Crowdo Holdings Pte Ltd as its first consortium partner in a bid to apply for a digital bank licence from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
In a statement, Pertama Digital attributed its decision to team up with Crowdo to the company’s stellar background. Established in 2017, Crowdo is one of the first fintech companies to be fully licenced by Indonesia’s Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (Financial Services Authority). It found success in Indonesia by innovatively embedding digitalisation solutions with financial products for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), thereby increasing access to banking for this underserved group.
On top of that, Crowdo is backed by renowned investors such as Gobi Partners, and has used its AI-powered credit scoring engine – specialised for emerging markets within the ASEAN region – to serve SMEs from over 30 different industries. Pertama Digital also noted that Crowdo maintained a non-performing loan (NPL) ratio that is 60% less than the NPL recorded by the banking sector.
“Crowdo brings years of priceless insights and validated turnkey solutions from delivering productive financing to SMEs that are overwhelmingly operated by Indonesians with no credit history. This partnership will allow our Malaysian digital bank to immediately serve thousands of businesses in a viable manner from day one,” said the director of strategy for Pertama Digital, Saify Akhtar. He added that this is a key part of the company’s strategy to quickly boost economic participation among those financially underserved, while aligning with the framework set by BNM.
Meanwhile, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Crowdo, Leo Shimada said that the company’s goals matches those of Pertama Digital’s. One of these goals is to accelerate financial inclusion using digital innovation.
“We’re confident that our full set of neo-bank capabilities across business and product know-how, digital solutions, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) credit scoring technology will make banking more accessible. We are privileged to play a part in Malaysia’s post-pandemic recovery in the coming years,” said Leo.
Pertama Digital had earlier announced its digital bank ambition in April 2021, stating that it was in advanced joint venture talks to apply for a licence from BNM.
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