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CIMB launches PHL operations as all-digital bank

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REUTERS

MALAYSIAN financial giant CIMB Bank formally launched its banking operations in the Philippines on Tuesday, more than a year after it received the central bank’s nod to set up shop here.

CIMB Bank Philippines, Inc. (CIMB Philippines) is targeting to capture 100,000 retail clients within six months in its bid to be an all-digital and mobile-first bank in the country.

“By offering most of our products via the OCTO [mobile application] securely, we are offering the…convenience for our customers by enabling them to effectively ‘carry’ our bank branch in the palm of their hands,” CIMB Philippines Chief Executive Officer Vijay Manoharan was quoted as saying in a statement.

To serve as an all-digital bank, CIMB Philippines partnered with retail and financial firms such as 7-Eleven, DragonPay and Visa, which will serve as touchpoints where clients can withdraw or deposit funds.

“We have our partners that we work with and we access our customers also through our partner networks as well. So we have partnerships that will help us reach out to customers,” Mr. Manoharan told reporters yesterday.

CIMB Philippines currently offers two types of savings accounts named the Fast and Fast Plus accounts, which let customers open an account through its OCTO mobile app within 10 minutes.




The savings accounts come with a Visa-powered debit card to allow withdrawals from 20,000 Bancnet, Visa and Visa Plus automatic teller machines (ATM) in the country, on top of two million Visa ATMs worldwide.

CIMB Philippines also offers an UpSave account which offers a yearly interest rate of 2%.

Looking ahead, Mr. Manoharan said CIMB Philippines will soon offer other banking products such as loans.

“We’ll introduce other products — loans and other products — down the road. We’ll start with savings. Get the savings out there and in the near future, we’ll also introduce loans for consumers,” he said.

The Malaysian lender is looking to offer two types of personal loans by March to April, with a lending facility that lets clients borrow funds up to P25,000, and another with a maximum of P1 million.

CIMB Philippines also received regulatory approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to set up an investment bank in the country, CIMB Bancom Capital Corp., through a joint venture with Bancom II Consultants, Inc. and PLP Group Holdings, Inc.

“We are extremely pleased to begin serving customers in the Philippines. This completed CIMB’s operating footprint in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and we look forward to bringing a truly differentiated and digital proposition in the market,” Effendy Shahul Hamid, CIMB Group Chief Executive Officer of Group Ventures and Partnerships, said.

CIMB’s local operations completes its presence in the entire Southeast Asian region and comes after it launched its first branch in Vietnam late last year.

Aside from the 10 ASEAN member states, CIMB also has footprints in China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, as well as in the United States.

In November 2017, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approved the application of the bank to operate a branch in the country through Resolution No. 1891.

CIMB has long been eyeing to venture into the Philippine market as it previously tried to acquire a controlling stake in San Miguel Corp.’s Bank of Commerce back in 2012.

So far, CIMB Philippines said it still does not have plans of opening more physical branches as it is focused on expanding their business digitally.

According to its website, CIMB Philippines operates one branch in Taguig City.

Prior to the entry of CIMB, Malayan Banking Berhad or Maybank was the sole Malaysian bank operating in the Philippines.

Cross-border banking deals build on Republic Act 10641 signed in 2014, which allowed 11 other foreign banks to fully enter the domestic market. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal