You are here

Helping Asian banks fend off Big Tech

BT_20190525_JLBRUNCH25B_3789275.jpg
"It's about creating engagement, and that creates true ROI (return on investment) for the banks today." - Shalom Sagi, senior director for Asia Pacific, Personetics. Personetics' services include setting up triggers for when a customer needs to top up his account balance to cover upcoming payments.

WITH the launch of Apple Card in the US some months ago, more banks in Asia are sitting up to the competition that may soon come pounding at their doors.

And what Apple Card - a partnership between Apple and a new consumer-finance entrant Goldman Sachs - offers is a new way of banking by using data to offer personalised services based on a consumer's lifestyle patterns. Apple says it can tag the data using machine learning, deciphering purchases and categorising them into food or clothing sales, so each customer can easily find out their spending patterns and understand plainly if they have been credit-binging.

In the wake of that game-changing move, banks are struggling to clean up the enormous amounts of data that pass through their transactions every minute. To help them score better through data analytics, Israel's artificial intelligence (AI) firm Personetics offers a solution to regional banks that see potential in tapping the burgeoning millennial market in Asean.

Personetics' senior director for Asia Pacific Shalom Sagi says it is in "more advanced talks" with several banks in Thailand and Malaysia to sell its AI services that would allow banks to draw patterns from transactional data.

sentifi.com

Market voices on:

Personetics' services include setting up triggers for when a customer needs to top up his account balance to cover upcoming payments. Its service also allows the bank to nudge customers to save more or to spend wisely, creating a stickier relationship for the bank.

Personetics is itself backed by several global banks such as Spanish lender Banco Santander, and Singapore's own UOB. It has an office in Singapore, and is using it as a springboard to launch into other parts of Asia, says Mr Sagi.

Beyond selling AI services for data analytics, Personetics looks to eventually offer "self-driving finance", where customers can get automated advice and transfer of savings into investments, or to use savings to reduce debt, based on real-time projections of cashflow balances.

"It's about creating engagement, and that creates true ROI (return on investment) for the banks today."

Personetics is already working with UOB on the bank's digital offshoot known as TMRW, that was launched officially in February this year.

First launched in Thailand, TMRW aims to attract three to five million Asean customers in the next five years, which mainly involve millennials who transact heavily on their mobile phones. The deal has spurred more conversations with South-east Asian banks eager to collaborate as well, says Mr Sagi.

And as more digital or challenger banks step up with services in Asia, Personectics sees room to boost its growth out of this region. While it has just two staff members here now, it plans to add more staff in its Singapore office in time.

"In the last two or more years, the competition with the tech giants have been around the corner when we have these discussions with banks," says Mr Sagi, pointing to interest from Apple, Amazon, Google and Alibaba in financial services.

"These are very strong competition - and we're saying to banks that if they don't look out, in a very short time, Apple is going to replace (them)."

"It's about creating engagement, and that creates true ROI (return on investment) for the banks today."

Shalom Sagi, senior director for Asia Pacific, Personetics.

Personetics' services include setting up triggers for when a customer needs to top up his account balance to cover upcoming payments