Asean banking landscape set to tap new opportunities

KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — Asean’s banking landscape will be shaped by increasing digitalisation, growing wealth in the region, evolving talent requirements and higher regulations around capital and liquidity, according to speakers at a webinar organised by Maybank Kim Eng.

Speakers at the Invest Asean 2021 webinar, “Asean Financials: The Shape of Things to Come”, yesterday included Maybank Kim Eng regional head (banks research) Thilan Wickramsinghe, who said Asean banks were set to tap new opportunities with rising cross-border trade, higher digital adoption and rising wealth.

“To win, they will need to adopt technology and new work models, and become closer to customers. But the path to growth needs to be tread carefully as tail risks from the pandemic remain,” he said in a statement that contained excerpts from various speakers’ presentations.

Thilan said supply chains were shifting to Asean from North Asia, increasing crossborder trade, higher digital adoption and rising wealth offered attractive paths for growth.

“A survey by our research team shows that the critical factors that could drive medium-term profitability is rising non-interest income contribution particularly from wealth management as the region grows in affluence,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Asean Macro Economic Research Office (AMRO) group head and lead specialist Dr Ong Li Lian said Asean banks were very well buffered with high levels of high-quality capital, in part because of the lessons learned during the Asian financial crisis.

“They have also experienced strong growth and profitability because of our strong economic expansion in the region. With increased wealth, there is a growing demand for financial services, so that’s very positive,” she added.

Ong said the biggest risk was whether regulation, supervision and the identification of systemic risks could keep up with the innovation.

Meanwhile, United Overseas Bank Ltd managing director/head of group human resources Dean Tong said there were niche areas in which artificial intelligence could work alongside humans to boost productivity moving forward. — Bernama

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