IT’S OFTEN been said that the key to the resurgence of the vehicle industry in the age of COVID-19 is the willingness of financial institutions to extend car loans. Depending on who one talks to, the percentage of car buyers who depend on financial instruments to complete an auto purchase can range from 70% to 85%.

Yet the onset of the pandemic was a once-in-a-lifetime disruptor that scuttled not only our everyday lives but the way we do business. Banks were said to have been ultimately affected by a myriad of factors such as the hobbling of loaners, and an inability to easily do credit investigations and process them. Even more diligence and care in issuing loans became standard measures — resulting in falling approval rates.

Health protocols and safety considerations have also necessitated a pivot to digital platforms and processes across many industries.

Maybank Philippines, a member of the Maybank Group, Southeast Asia’s fourth-largest bank by assets is officially embracing the medium as it recently launched Maybank Zone, “a pioneering online portal for anyone in search of their dream car.”

Maybank said it simplifies the process “from choosing to eventually buying a car” through what it describes as a virtual car dealership-hopping experience — highlighted by an ability to apply online for a Maybank Auto Loan product.

The Maybank Zone presently allows users to browse the following car brands: Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Ford, Suzuki, Isuzu, Mazda, Kia, Subaru, and Morris Garages, and officials replied to a question from “Velocity,” saying that they are looking to add this selection.

The goal, according to Maybank Philippines Digital Banking Head Dexter Go, is to mirror the usual customer experience but in a “safe, convenient, and accessible” manner. Two main choices are available on the landing page: Go to the virtual showroom or file a car loan application. When choosing the showroom, three main search fields are available: car brand, body type, and price range. The browser can also opt to go straight to a specific brand’s by clicking on its logo at the bottom of the page. The user can request for a quotation, then apply for the corresponding loan. Documentary requirements can also be submitted digitally for added convenience.

Said Maybank Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Choong Wai Hong in a release, “We are dedicated to reinvent our products and services to provide better solutions for the community. With the recent changes in the business landscape, and in time with Maybank Philippines, Inc.’s 23rd anniversary, we have decided to shift gears with our Auto Loan product and bring our clients’ car-buying experience to the digital platform.”

Added Maybank Philippines Executive Vice-President and Head for Community Financial Services Abigail Tina Del Rosario, “Maybank Zone will also be catering to the different retail products of the bank other than Auto Loan, making it a one-stop hub for all Maybank’s online products.”

The Maybank Zone also allows customers to open the fully online-only iSave account, apply for a Maybank Credit Card or Maybank Personal Loan. — Kap Maceda Aguila