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Banks are happy in Asia Pacific

Jack Loo | Feb. 28, 2012
Analytics in vogue as organisations seek to gain and retain customers.

The banking and financial services sector in Asia Pacific remains vibrant, even though markets in Europe and the US remain unstable, according to IDC analysts at the Asian Financial Services Congress 2012 Thursday (February 23, 2012).

Despite fears that institutions will fall and exit the region, we actually saw an increase of finance organisations last year, said Eva Au, Managing Director, IDC Asia/Pacific. "There were 907 companies in 2010, and the number increased to 960 for 2011," she added.

The positive scene also translates to a highly competitive vertical. Cyrus Daruwala, Managing Director, Asia/Pacific, IDC Financial Insights, noted that regional underdogs have snatched market share from incumbents by being able to react quickly to customer demands.

"In the old days, the bank was the king. Today, the one size fits all approach no longer works," said Ching Wei Hong, Senior Executive Vice President, Head, Global Consumer Financial Services, OCBC Bank. Today, social media platforms have given customers a voice that banks cannot ignore and hide, he added.

Ching's presentation was on how his bank created a new credit and debit cards programme aimed at students and young working adults called FRANK, which was launched the first half of last year. OCBC spent two years of research to create FRANK, using advanced analytics to gain insights on the preferences of the target market segment-one commonly referred to as Gen-Y.

The result is a set of customised products and services, retail concepts and social media channels designed to appeal to FRANK's customers. The bank also made sure that the programme could be easily ported to newly-launched mobile devices.

Analytics is a powerful tool for banks, said David Gledhill, Managing Director, Group Head Technology and Operations, DBS Bank. "Wal-Mart is the world's largest user of analytics. Imagine if they go into banking, all of us will be out of business," he added. A recent DBS project involves an analytical engine that can predict when ATMs are running low on cash and the bank can act on replenishing money.

IDC Financial Insights analysts predict that for 2012, the leading banks in Singapore and Taiwan will be scaling up capabilities in analytics, improving the richness in data in both quantity and type, and increasing the speed by which data can be appreciated and made sense of.


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