CIMB BANK Philippines is eyeing to double its customer base this year as it continues its platform banking model which relies on partnerships with “digitally savvy” players in the field.

After securing two million retail clients since its 2019 launch as of February for its all-online digital bank, CIMB Bank Philippines Chief Executive Officer Vijay Manoharan said they want to increase their clients to three million this year and even aim for a four-million user base.

“Because we’ve been ambitious last year, we want to be knocking at four million. It’s very ambitious…but we’re putting ourselves out there,” Mr. Manoharan said in a briefing held at Makati on Tuesday.

Mr. Manoharan said their client base is mostly made up of younger users, with some of accounts being these clients’ first bank account.

“Thirty percent of the customers that we have were unbanked. These guys never had a banking relationship in their life and they jumped on to us,” Mr. Manoharan said.

This year, CIMB said it will continue to forge partnerships as part of its strategy to acquire more users through platform banking.

“We have two or three other partners that we’ve already signed… So in the next 30 days, we will probably announce,” Mr. Manoharan said.

“All our partners will be digitally-savvy partners. Our partners will all be doing something digital,” he added.

In a previous interview, Mr. Manoharan said areas or industries they look to tie up with would include e-commerce, travel, transportation, and even groceries where customers engage.

The Malaysian bank’s current partnerships include its tieup with CIS Bayad Center, Inc. which allows Bayad Center customers to avail of the loan and savings products of CIMB through the Bayad Center app.

It also has a partnership with GCash which allows the latter’s users to directly transfer their savings into CIMB through the GCash App.

Mr. Manoharan said they are coming up product offerings geared towards the small and medium enterprises (SME).

“I want to make it a bit of surprise, it will happen in 2020. We are going to do something in the [SME] space this year,” he said.

Mr. Manoharan previously told BusinessWorld that they have been studying the pain points and opportunities of expanding their loan portfolio to SMEs. — Luz Wendy T. Noble