United Overseas Bank/Bloomberg


UOB targets growth outside Singapore, uses tech to cut costs

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United Overseas Bank (UOB) will target growth in the ASEAN region, which already makes up the bulk of its non-Singapore revenue.

Thursday 16, May 2019

(Bloomberg) --Singapore's UOB plans to increase the portion of revenue it gets from outside its home market of Singapore to about 50 per cent by 2021, despite forecasting a challenging year ahead.

Banks globally are grappling with the rise of non-bank financial firms that offer services including loans and payments through mobile devices and other digital channels.

Hong Kong began to issue banking licences to the likes of Alibaba Group Holding affiliate Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings earlier this year while Singapore’s financial regulator is studying similar permits.

UOB, Singapore’s third-largest bank by assets, has spent about SGD 1.6 billion ($1.2 billion) in the five years through 2018 on technology, most of which has gone on enhancing various platforms from wealth to cash management.

In February, the lender introduced a mobile-only bank known as TMRW in Thailand, spending around SGD 100 million on app development and tech architecture as well as solutions on the launch of TMRW.

Lee Wai Fai, UOB’s Chief Financial Officer, said that around 20 products make up 80 per cent of processing costs and that technology could be used to improve the bank’s services while reducing expenses.

TAGS : United Overseas Bank, Alibaba Group Holding , Ant Financial , Tencent Holdings, TMRW

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