Bigger Service From Smaller Banks

The Bank of Distinction Award honors entities that are punching above their weight, using digital technology to deliver a competitive customer experience.

Biggest is not always best. In fact, digitalization has contributed to lowering some competitive barriers to midsized and small banks, enabling them to offer many of the same safeguards as their mega-rivals. For Global Finance’s Banks of Distinction, we selected winners from middle-market and local banks that have leveraged digital innovation to better serve their customers.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) China was tapped for its impressive range of online processes, including straight-through processing, fully automated account opening/onboarding, instant bill payment, personalization features, and personal finance management as well as its good use of structured and unstructured data from social media. Its Singapore-based parent company, UOB Ltd, formed a joint venture with Chinese AI-backed fintech developer PINTEC Technology Holdings to provide digital credit assessment solutions based on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and anti-fraud algorithms to financial institutions in Southeast Asia.

Taiwan’s Taishin Bank has focused its digital transformation on user experience and simplification, helping its customers save time and the bank to cut costs. Business transactions such as cross-border remittance and deposit certification are now much simpler. Taishin launched its digital bank, Richart, in 2016; it accepted 90,000 new savings account applications in under a year. The first banking app in Taiwan developed with the Agile working method, Richart provides savings accounts, credit cards, investments, and loans in one app.

The Bank of Georgia has a well-designed website (iBank) and three mobile apps catering to distinct client needs. The corporate banking site is equipped with a treasury service request module, while mBank, a mobile banking app, allows customers to complete transactions with a single click. The bill payment webpage is accessible to non-customers as well. iBank’s features include predictive search, international remittances, and a “my finances” tab with tools to manage personal finance.

Türkiye Bankas (bank) offers online features including single sign-on, multi-country/currency implementations, WAP compatibility for mobile banking, fully automated account opening and onboarding processes, and cloud computing. Fintech partnerships and agile development encourage innovation and bank plans to develop distributed ledgers/cryptocurrency initiatives and actionable use of big data for cross-selling.

In Colombia, Banco de Bogota opened a Digital Laboratory in 2017 that helped the bank launch the first 100% digital savings account in the country and develop an omni-channel, integrated customer experience. Its rival Banco de Bogotá has a clear strategy to become the best bank for social media in the region, however. Currently it offers 70% to 80% of its products through mobile channels. The bank is also providing interactive features, such as a branch and ATM locator, a live-chat virtual assistant, and immediate bill payment notifiers.

Digital tools enable Davids to compete on more equal terms with Goliaths. These Banks of Distinction are leading the way.

Bahrain Arab Bank
Egypt CIB
Jordan Arab Bank
Kuwait Ahli United Bank
Lebanon Arab Bank
Qatar Arab Bank
UAE Mashreq Bank
China UOB China
Taiwan Taishan Bank
Georgia Bank of Georgia
Colombia Banco de Bogota
Turkey Türkiye Bankas