Part of the bank’s continued success stems from its position at the forefront of the digitalization of the small and medium-sized enterprise banking sector. Sixty-two per cent of the bank’s SME customers are digitally active, generating three times the revenue of the non-digital customers. Regionally, 55% of SMEs are digitally active with digital transactions rising by 10% last year – a figure that is sure to increase. According to a recent ASME-Microsoft study, Singapore SMEs that embrace digital transformation expect to see average revenue gains of 26%.
Digital immersion from the get-go
“We think it is important to help SMEs start right from the get-go to immerse themselves in digitalization,” says Tan Chor Sen, executive vice president, global commercial banking, OCBC Bank. “While it is not typically the first thing that they think about, we feel that it is important for us to encourage the adoption of digital solutions right from the start. And we are talking about more than just our business mobile banking app – we are actively encouraging our SME customers to take up digital solutions that go beyond banking. Accounting, marketing and HR digital solutions can make their businesses more efficient.”
Digitalization is a core strategy that OCBC will employ to consolidate its position and drive growth next year and into the future, for its SMEs both at home and globally. Not only in terms of local SMEs working internationally, but global corporates using Singapore as a financial centre. “We want to continue being at the forefront of innovation, and to do that, we need to continue putting in the effort to better understand our customers’ digital consumption journey,” says Tan Chor Sen. “This will allow us to give better access to banking services to our SME customers, help them to operate better through beyond-banking services, and by embedding ourselves in the SME ecosystem we can help them buy and sell better.”
The bank is also exploring AI technologies as part of its digital transformation, to see how it can leverage technology to understand its customers better and through that provide them with the most appropriate solutions for their business.
Time is money
Digitalization has been key to improving OCBC’s bread-and-butter services. For instance, account opening and loan application processes are now much more streamlined. OCBC was the first Singapore bank to let clients open an account digitally and start using it immediately. Time is money, especially to business owners, so this is highly appreciated. The sooner businesses have their accounts set up, the sooner they can start receiving payments. And with a loan approval in hand, they will have the assurance they need to go out and start bidding for contracts.
This process has been improved through initiatives such as the digital ‘know-your client’ system whereby data can be instantly used to assess applicants in real time. New SMEs can also access OCBC’s Start Digital Pack, which allows clients to take advantage of the bank’s various digital offerings for free during a minimum period of six months while their businesses grow through digitalization.
Every OCBC SME client has access to the Digital Business Dashboard, which shows all their business data in one place, highlighting key information about performance, as well as patterns and trends, thus giving SMEs a clear and instantly accessible overview of their business and enabling decisions to be made on this basis.
Cutting-edge technology also includes initiatives such as MyInfo, an app that allows new enterprises to open an account in minutes. In Indonesia, for example, the new OneMobile application (equivalent to the PayNow corporate platform launched in August in Singapore) is under way, allowing SMEs to collect payments directly into their business accounts. In March 2019, OCBC launched a new online loan application model that has dramatically reduced documentation needed for requests. And an initiative is under way to further digitize the trade finance process, as well as the management of north Asian flows for corporates in Greater China.
These massive technological advances will combine with OCBC’s unrivalled on-the-ground knowledge, presence and personal support throughout southeast Asia to ensure that the bank’s SMEs receive the best possible service there is, wherever they may be.