Since 2010, more than 200 digital banks have been launched globally, with around 40 of these launching within Asia Pacific. While the region’s overall high penetration of internet and mobile phone usage appears to position Asia Pacific as an ideal environment for digital banking innovation, in reality, a heavily fragmented regulatory framework and low levels of financial literacy and inclusion have caused significant challenges to date.
Vastly differing regulations across countries means that what may be a simple and seamless process in one country, is virtually impossible in another. This also means it has not been possible for banks to roll out a one-size-fits-all banking solution across multiple countries within the region.
However, while regulations differ across markets, there is a common mandate from all regulators to drive financial inclusion, with all countries in agreement on the importance of making financial services accessible, affordable and relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who are currently excluded from formal financial services.
Positively, acceptance of and trust in the use of cloud technologies is growing significantly across the region, with many regulators now actively embracing cloud and encouraging banks and financial institutions to leverage the opportunities that cloud enables. Cloud is currently welcomed in around half of all countries within the Asia Pacific region, with regulators in other countries looking at ways to make cloud more accessible and attractive to business.
Traditional banks have been unable to service the millions of ‘unbanked’ individuals and businesses across Asia Pacific to date, resulting in approximately one billion people across the region not having access to formal financial services. By utilising cloud platforms such as Mambu, financial services providers of all sizes are able to reach a significantly wider customer base, including those customers in rural and remote regions, and the currently excluded micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
It is clear that the entire technological architecture of banks has changed in recent years; whereas previously banks were built on expensive on-premises, monolithic technology stacks, the new breed of banks are API-driven and built on cloud, utilising composable architecture and open banking principles.
While new cloud-based entrants to the market naturally capitalise on these new technologies, traditional banks exist primarily on core platforms which may be decades old. These legacy tech stacks are slower and vastly more expensive than the new cloud-based technologies, making it difficult for traditional banks to compete with new challenger banks.
However, what we are seeing is established banks choosing particular products to launch on a new digital stack – testing the waters, in a way – using innovative platforms like Mambu to drive new digital brands and products. They then implement a comprehensive migration plan to move all of their products and services off the legacy tech and onto the cloud platform, minimising disruption to customers along the way.
Thankfully, the monolithic tech stack looks to soon be a thing of the past. More and more banks are moving away from these legacy tech stacks to ‘composable banking’ on cloud platforms – orchestrating and integrating a range of best-for-purpose APIs to deliver a much more flexible technology architecture that can be continuously updated and improved.
Utilising a cloud platform like Mambu, a bank can go live within a month’s time, rather than the months or years it would take on the legacy technology, and the whole process of transformation becomes extremely efficient.
Technology is constantly evolving, and the evolution of technology in the financial services space is particularly exciting. Conversational banking, social media banking, contextual banking… all of these new and innovative options use new financial technologies to provide customers with a superior and personalised experience, at a much lower cost than traditional banking methods.
The use of open APIs, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms have changed the face of banking, with cloud technology making financial services more accessible and significantly more affordable. Cloud platforms also make it easier for banks and financial institutions to work across regions with fragmented regulatory systems, which will have enormous impact in the Asia Pacific region.
To learn more about how Mambu’s SaaS cloud banking platform can assist your organisation to navigate Asia Pacific’s challenging regulatory landscape, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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