UOB launches TMRW, the first mobile only bank designed for ASEAN millennials who prefer to bank on their mobile phones.

TMRW launches initially in Thailand and UOB aims to build a customer base of three to five million in the next five years.

Further country roll outs are planned for later this year.

ASEAN’s digital generation forms the third largest base of digitally-savvy consumers after China and India.

UOB says that TMRW’s “Different Generation, Different Solution” approach meets their needs in a manner in sync with their lifestyles.

TMRW, says UOB, will make banking simpler, more transparent and more engaging for its customers through the use of data. The digital bank translates transaction data into actionable insights that make the banking experience interesting and fun.

Thus customers become smarter at saving and spending.

UOB launches TMRW: created from scratch to target millennials

Dennis Khoo, head of group retail digital, UOB, says that TMRW was created from scratch. The sole purpose is meeting the financial needs of ASEAN millennials.

“ASEAN is known for its diversity. But there remains a set of fundamental expectations by the digital generation when it comes to digital services.  Specifically as regards simplicity and an engaging user experience. So we took the time needed to understand our millennial customers.  That is, how and why they engage with mobile apps and digital services the way they do. We then used those insights in designing TMRW for today’s millennials. TMRW pushes simplicity to the limit and engages them in new ways beyond the standard digital banking functionalities.”

There are diverse cultures in the region. So TMRW was also designed to draw out and to celebrate the distinctiveness in each of the markets.

“Having a mobile-only digital bank enables us to explore new frontiers when it comes to designing a user interface. This is based on customers’ banking behaviour and needs and to be sensitive to the nuances of each market.

What this means is that TMRW will not be a static one-size-fits-all app. It will be a digital bank that will continue to learn to create increasingly simple, transparent and engaging experiences for TMRW’s customers in each of our ASEAN countries,” adds Khoo.

Having designed the digital bank app so it’s intuitive and frictionless, TMRW does not have a traditional app menu. Instead, the digital bank will learn from each customer’s usage journey.

TMRW: featuring a call function within digital chat

This brings upfront functions and information that are personalised to their needs. TMRW understands that the digital generation prefers texting to calling. So customers will be able to text TMRW’s virtual chat assistant through the app itself. TMRW takes reference from popular messaging apps. And so TMRW is the first digital bank in the world to feature a call function within its digital chat service. This enables TMRW to continue the conversation seamlessly with the customer without them having to exit from the app.

UOB launches TMRW: fintech partnerships with Personetics and Meniga

UOB’s partnerships with financial technology firms such as Personetics and Meniga complement the Bank’s in-house capabilities. Through UOB’s regional Engagement Labs (eLabs) it experiments and learns in real time how to deepen customer engagement digitally in a data-driven world.

UOB’s eLab is the first dedicated unit set up by a bank in Southeast Asia focused on using the latest technology and behavioural insights to deepen customer engagement.

UOB says that customers appreciate relevant guidance to help them keep track of and manage their finances better. But they respond better to prompts that are fun and do not make them feel guilty.

UOB invited 1,500 customers to join a pilot programme in Thailand ahead of the TMRW launch.

One of TMRW’s most popular features is a money management game to help customers meet their savings goals.

TMRW’s language is also free from banking jargon and is easy to understand.

The dawn of TMRW and the growth of digital sub-brands

UOB launches TMRW at a time when a number of leading incumbent banks are rolling out digital sub-brands. For example, DBS launched Digibank in India in 2016 with the target of attracting 5 million customers.

By May 2017 digibank had grown customer numbers to more than 1.2 million. Today that number has grown to well over 2 million.

Emirates NBD launched Liv in the UAE in May 2017. Since then Liv has been acquiring over 10,000 new customers every month. More than five in six Liv customers are millennials and new to Emirates NBD.

Rivals Mashreq launched its sub-brand Neo in October 2017 with encouraging early signs for customer acquisition.

Early days but customer acquisition targets have been exceeded.

Imagin, Jenius, Hello and Bó

Other leading examples include CaixaBank’s imaginBank, launched in 2016. imagin has helped Caixa grow to 5 million mobile banking customers and a 32% digital banking market share.

In Indonesia, BTPN launched its Jenius sub-brand, also in 2016. In its first two years, Jenius has attracted more than a half a million users in Greater Jakarta area, Bandung, and Surabaya.

And in Europe BNP Paribas rolled out Hello Bank. Hello now operates in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic with customer numbers in excess of 3 million.

UK examples of incumbent banks launching digital sub-brands include Clydesdale’s B and RBS’ Bó, slated to launch later this year.

Meantime, in the US, Chase is promoting its Finn sub-brand. Goldman Sachs is growing deposits via its Marcus sub-brand in the US and the UK.

Dr Dennis Khoo, UOB, launches TMRW