Taiwan’s CTBC Bank picked up three awards at the fourth annual CEPI Summit in Singapore hosted by RBI’s sister title Cards International. Senior VP Amy Lim talks tech strategy and the local banking landscape with Anna Milne

The rate of change in consumer payment behaviour is accelerating across Asia-Pacific, driven by technology and regulation, says Amy Lim.

“Technological innovation will create heightened expectation from both customers and retail merchants. Not only mobile in payment solutions but in other value-added services such as location-based services, e-vouchers and in-app purchases. These are all being developed through mobile technology.

“In the future, we expect that more smart applications will affect customers’ shopping behaviour. IoT, AI and usage of big data will have a huge influence on membership management, mobile marketing, and even seamless payment implementations such as Amazon Go.”

CTBC is successfully tapping into the millennial segment’s desire to adopt the latest in digital services. Lim says that their feedback is providing valuable insight into the improvement of the bank’s products and services.

“Taking P2P payment as an example, customers want to use their instant messaging tool or social media to complete the money flow. This is a case of integration between customer behaviour and new technology.

“As regards regulation, the government’s attitude will not only accelerate the development of new initiatives but also contribute to cost efficiency. However, the regulator also faces huge differences in changes within business models, and continuous communication between the government and the various players is therefore crucial.”

Monetising data

Lim is upbeat about the prospects of monetising the tons of data held by banks: “Payments are the easiest tool by which to attain customers and, by default, their data. Based on these data and traffic, banks can gain a deeper understanding of customers’ needs, location, preferences and online or offline behaviours.

“As a result, customers can receive real-time information that is customised to fit their preferences. These new applications may provide an opportunity to earn income from cardholders or other partners. In the future, the revenue sources will become diversified and quite different from the traditional banking revenue model.”

CTBC is working ever more closely with a number of partners to boost its digital strategy.

“Co-operation will build sustainable success in the future. Take LINE Pay card as an example. CTBC collaborated with LINE Pay to issue a co-branded card at the end of 2016. We had issued more than 700,000 cards within eight months.

“The key success factors were a strong product feature, mobile-based process, and integration with social media. With this product, customers can apply for a LINE Pay card through their LINE account, register the card to the LINE Pay mobile payment solution, and keep on top of rewards points accrual and all previous transactions through LINE.

“In the mobile world, our competitors and partners are becoming more diversified. CTBC tries to learn from these non-financial institutions. They have strong advantages on UI/UX, speed of IT development, and innovation. As a result, CTBC consults many external opinions and leverages partners’ strengths in developing and delivering our services.”

Lim says the bank’s working relationship with its domestic government has been positive, and that the regulator can be a “powerful friend”.

“The government’s attitude is a key factor. There are many cases around the world showing that the government can accelerate fintech development. The UK’s sandbox scheme and Singapore’s full support of innovation both create excellent environments for existing players and start-ups. Under the government’s support, enterprises can be helped in three ways: attracting good talent, reducing compliance cost, and accelerating new models.”

Looking ahead, Lim says the younger generation is definitely the bank’s primary target market: “This segment is more active in spending, pursuing a better life, and accumulating wealth by investing. Providing suitable products for this segment is critical. They may not need some traditional product features but they want to manage their account more online, prefer personalised products, and chatbot services.”