Uzbekistan's best digital bank 2020: Agrobank
When Asiamoney was discussing the digital banking landscape with a senior banker in Uzbekistan, he started by reeling off a list of his bank’s many investments in technology, clearly doing his best to clinch this award. Briefly, though, the pitch faltered.
“Our mobile app is not good enough,” the banker told us. “I am a customer as well as an employee of the bank, and I’m not happy with the service.”
That level of honesty about banking services is unusual, even in a country like Uzbekistan, which is still getting used to the scrutiny of international journalists. But it’s not altogether surprising. Locals say that most banks’ mobile apps and online banking options are poor, the result of years of underinvestment.
But many banks are not willing to accept this situation. They are investing time, energy and, of course, money into a digital banking push that will improve access and product choice for retail and corporate customers alike. Agrobank is the most prominent among them.
After bringing in KPMG to help it craft a five-year business plan in 2019, the bank has gone all-in on digital. About 260,000 consumer customers now use its mobile app and 52,118 use its business app, which allows them to apply for and receive loans online: the bank can approve micro loans within minutes.
It has started work on a cross-channel digital banking platform, implemented credit-scoring software and launched an electronic trading platform for its clients. Agrobank has also tied up with Sberbank to piggyback on its branch network in Russia, a useful move for Uzbeks remitting money.
Digital banking in Uzbekistan is still streets behind more developed markets, but the country is catching up. And Agrobank is catching up fastest.