Singapore's best digital bank 2019: UOB
The best digital bank award is always hotly contested, especially in Singapore where banks are striving to be the digital champions in the face of competition from fintech firms.
UOB upped its game in 2019, making it the hands-down winner in this category. The advances really began in April 2018, when UOB launched Avatec, a joint venture with China’s Pintec Technology Holdings, a data specialist that focuses on providing credit underwriting models.
It was followed by a partnership in July 2018 with Israel-based Personetics, bringing AI-powered capabilities to the fast-growing digital bank user population. UOB said at the time that Personetics’ capabilities would “accelerate the bank’s use of AI”, and help it to anticipate what customers wanted.
UOB also started working with Grab, an online platform with services ranging from ride-hailing to food delivery, in November 2018. As part of their agreement, UOB will be Grab’s banking partner. The first of their joint initiatives kicked off in January with Grab offering UOB card services directly on its app.
Under Dennis Khoo, head of regional digital bank and digital banking, UOB has also partnered with numerous other firms, including e-commerce platforms Qoo10 and OctoRocket.asia. In addition, the bank’s investment banking team has championed CapBridge, an initiative focusing on private capital, while UOB's business banking and commercial banking teams are behind Synagie Corp, which helps SMEs expand into and manage multiple online sales channels better.
In addition to that, UOB unveiled a new digital bank in the summer of 2018, which it says will help it add up to five million new customers across five Asean markets.
UOB is certainly ambitious with its digital strategy, and it is giving recurring champions such as DBS a run for their money. For embarking on this radical transformation, and for not shying away from tying up with fintech rivals to meet its objectives, UOB stands out.