Bangladesh's best digital bank 2020: Prime Bank
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Bangladesh's best digital bank 2020: Prime Bank

Prime Bank

Rahel Ahmed, MD & CEO, Prime Bank.jpg
Rahel Ahmed, Prime Bank

Few economic peers are going digital as rapidly as Bangladesh. Even in this disruptive context, 25-year-old Prime Bank is a stand out. A bank that is, in the words of chief executive Rahel Ahmed, “moving faster than technology.”

Prime Bank’s downtown HQ certainly fits the bill. Its open floor plan, cavernous high-ceilinged rooms, chic coffee bars and futuristic furniture feel more like a Silicon Valley campus than a representative of the banking establishment.

The real buzz, though, is the recently launched PrimeDiGi platform, an app that includes the nation’s first-ever digital savings account and has all the associated credible cybersecurity bells and whistles.

As Ahmed explains it, Bangladesh, like peers in developing Asia, is working to harness the so-called fourth industrial revolution with world-class know-your-customer safeguards. PrimeDiGi, in this regard, is the core of the bank’s strategy to stay at the forefront of an industry evolving at blistering speed.

There are myriad ways Prime is innovating. It introduced a real-time business to provide enhanced trade and cash-management options to corporate customers. Yet the real tasks, as Ahmed sees it, are “keeping pace with the country’s digital growth” and exploring “the untapped potential of the digital landscape of Bangladesh.”

To win a bigger share of the local market, Prime is constantly enhancing its self-service banking channel Altitude.

Recent initiatives include more digital payment options, e-loans, e-credit and nano-lending to reach the poorest of the poor.

Prime is also raising its tech game to woo a young population anxious to move up the wage ladder.

At present, 60% of Bangladesh’s population is between 15 and 45 years old. By 2025, it will make up an estimated 66%. The needs and interests of this demographic are evolving in sync with the nation’s 8% growth.

Today, this group of internet-savvy, mobile-phone-crazed consumers accounts for 72% of Prime’s total clients – customers who can vote with their feet if the bank’s digital offerings fall behind.

Of PrimeDiGi users, for example, 95% are between 18 and 45. This reach means Prime is well positioned to help Bangladesh increase financial inclusion through digital means. Yet it also ups the pressure on Ahmed’s programming and coding teams to ensure that “faster than technology” is a corporate way of life and not just a marketing slogan. Given Prime’s keen focus on the digital world, there is every reason to bet on its continued leadership.