Bank customers still struggle with the basics of budgeting and investing amid rapid digitalization, according to a 2021 study on financial wellness by fintech company Backbase. 

“The broader themes they were struggling with was how do I save, how do I invest, and how do I pay my bills in time,” said Riddhi Dutta, Backbase regional head for Southeast Asia and South Asia, in a May 25 webinar organized by Fintech Fireside Asia 

In countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, the study found that customers did not have enough tools available for savings and budgeting. 

Designing customer experience from a technology perspective is easier if it’s correlated with what customers are looking for and what they aspire to do, Mr. Dutta said.  

RCBC (Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation), for example, has a green time deposit wherein proceeds are used to fund renewable energy projects. “We build experiences in our bank where such advocacies can be furthered by [the use] of the products we build for our customers,” said Eugene S. Acevedo, RCBC president and chief executive officer.   

Tyme, a digital bank set to launch in the Philippines, integrates its onboarding kiosks in retail infrastructure. 

“People don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Oh, I want to get a bank account,’” said Rachel Freeman, Tyme chief growth officer, on why it’s better to meet potential clients where they are already in the mindset of using money.

In the Philippines, Tyme will deploy mobile kiosks through the retail outlets of its partner, JG Summit Holdings.  

Meanwhile, Philippine National Bank (PNB) expressed its support for an open finance framework. “You let the customer choose which channel he wants to go to —  but be sure that you’re there,” said Paolo Eugenio J. Baltao, PNB senior vice president and special assistant to the president on digital bank initiatives. — Patricia B. Mirasol