RHB Aims To Launch Digital Bank By Second Half Of 2023
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(Image: AFP/Malay Mail)

RHB Bank has said that Malaysians can expect to see the launch of its digital bank by as early as the second half of 2023 (2H23). This comes following its successful application for one of the five digital banking licences offered by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), through a consortium partnership with Boost Holdings Sdn Bhd.

“We plan to launch the digital bank in the second half of next year, or latest by the first quarter of 2024,” said the chief executive officer of RHB, Mohd Rashid Mohamad, adding that the venture may see an investment of as much as RM1 billion.

Mohd Rashid also explained that the development period for the platform is fairly long because RHB and Boost are building it from scratch. “We need to put up a new core banking system and infrastructure product proposition that are in line with Bank Negara’s requirements,” he further elaborated.

(Image: Free Malaysia Today)

Additionally, Mohd Rashid shared that the digital bank will tap into the advantages of artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies to provide financing and banking services to the unserved and underserved community. As an example, RHB’s digital bank may use AI to help assess customers’ credit, based on the data points and models that have been put in place.

For context, BNM had opened up applications for its digital banking licences back in January 2021, and eventually received a total of 29 applications. In April 2022, it announced five successful applicants:  three under the Financial Services Act 2013, and another two under the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013. Aside from the RHB-Boost consortium, other successful bidders included the consortium led by GXS Bank Pte Ltd and Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd, as well as the consortium led by KAF Investment Bank Sdn Bhd – although none of them have yet to reveal any timelines for the roll-out of their digital banks.

On top of sharing updates on its digital bank, Mohd Rashid also highlighted RHB’s ambition to bring its digitalisation push and services to the rest of Southeast Asia (SEA), starting with its three key markets: Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia. To begin, it hopes to increase its employee headcount in the three markets from 1,230 individuals as of the end of 2021 to 1,379 individuals by the end of 2022.

Mohd Rashid further shared that RHB is already in the process of pushing a mobile app offering full banking services in Cambodia, pending regulatory approval; the app is expected to be launched by the end of this year. Moreover, it aims to expand its corporate and wealth management business in Singapore, while in Indonesia, there are plans to push RHB to become one of the top ten stockbroking firms in the country by 2024.

Aside from Malaysia and the three SEA countries mentioned above, RHB is also operating in Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, and Laos.

(Source: The Edge Markets)

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