Malaysia’s CIMB taps PLDT unit for digital-only strategy in Philippines
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB Group became the first bank from Southeast Asia to tap the platform of the financial technology arm of PLDT Inc. for its digital-only strategy in the Philippines.

Malaysia’s second largest lender has partnered with FINTQ for its lending business.

Through the partnership with the unit of PLDT and Voyager Innovations of Smart Communications Inc., CIMB would establish itself as a ‘digital-only bank’ in the country and would gain access to prospective Filipino clients seeking loan products that best suit their needs.

A digital retail banking strategy trims banks’ cost-to-income ratio – a measure of efficiency and productivity for banks. A lower ratio indicates a higher efficiency and profitability for a company.

CIMB Group CEO Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz said the bank’s relationship with PLDT has evolved into a strong, strategic partnership with its related companies.

“We are confident that by leveraging on these partners’ local strengths as well as CIMB’s extensive digital experience, we will be able to provide our customers in the Philippines with a seamless digital banking experience,” he said.

He added that CIMB is bullish on the prospects the Philippine market offers and is confident that its differentiated strategy based on digital and partnerships would bring a strong value proposition into the market.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has given CIMB Bank Bhd the green light to operate a branch in the Philippines. A total of 12 foreign banks have set up shop in the country since the banking industry was fully liberalized in July 2014.

PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a statement the group is excited to collaborate with CIMB on the fast growing financial technology or fintech space.

“This is in line with our mission to collaborate with partners and develop mutually beneficial propositions. This is just the start of a long-term fruitful partnership with one of ASEAN’s largest banks,” he said.

For his part, Voyager Innovations and FINTQ president and CEO Orlando Vea said the collaboration paves the way for CIMB to further expand its reach and grow its scale as it begins to operate in the Philippine market.

“This also empowers our consumers as they gain access to more loan products through our Lendr platform, where they can easily secure access to funding anytime, anywhere through their mobile phones,” Vea said.

Through Lendr, consumers can apply for their desired loan products online. It has disbursed loans in excess of $580 million since it was launched in 2015.

“As our first foreign bank partner in the ASEAN region for Lendr, this collaboration with CIMB allows us to grow our ecosystem of partner financial institutions, while at the same time providing more options for our consumers,” FINTQ managing director Lito Villanueva said.

FINTQ’s partners for Lendr include China Bank Savings, PNB Savings Bank, RCBC Savings Bank, Cebuana Lhuillier Bank, Camalig Bank Inc. (A Rural Bank), Philippine Business Bank, Producers Savings Bank Corp., First Circle, PawnHero, Esquire Finan-cing Inc., ALGO Leasing and Finance Inc., EastWest Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, Maybank Philippines Inc., Insular Bank (A Rural Bank), Development Bank of the Philippines, JK Capital Finance, Philippine Bank of Communications, Asialink Finance Corp., Bank of Commerce and MCC MoneyShops Finance Co. Inc.

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