In a candid conversation, Justin Chen, the Director of IT and Operations at Bank Neo Commerce, shed light on the neobank's remarkable journey towards becoming a digital banking leader. This exchange of ideas touched upon crucial aspects of their digitalization strategy, the challenges they encountered, and the pivotal role of technology in their success.
Embracing digitalization for financial inclusion
Chen began by recounting the driving force behind Bank Neo Commerce's shift towards digitalization and the launch of their Neobank app. He explained, "Actually, we could see a very big potential, like back in 2020, when more than half of the population in Indonesia was unbanked or under-banked. First, we believe this is a big opportunity, and second, we want to help the Indonesian people access more financial services."
Their decision was motivated by the rapid growth of Indonesia and their mission to empower everyday people, particularly in remote areas, with greater access to financial services.
Challenges and adaptation
Their digital transformation journey was not without hurdles. Chen highlighted the need for speed and adaptability in the digital banking arena, emphasizing that customer service was paramount. He acknowledged the challenge of shifting from traditional banking to a digital environment, requiring not only the establishment of new systems but also a fundamental change in the way the bank operates.
"Banking operates according to different rules," Chen noted. "You need to change how people interpret the business." In the digital realm, the focus shifts from in-person evaluations to data-driven decision-making and statistics to ensure that strategies align with customer needs.
The importance of flexibility
A pivotal factor in their success has been their agility. Chen emphasized that as a smaller bank, they could swiftly respond to the ever-changing landscape. "We need to do things very fast," he explained. "It’s like an auto race where you have to change the wheels while the car is running."
This flexibility is facilitated by a robust architecture and organization that allows for adjustments and improvements while the business is in full swing.
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Key success factors
The conversation delved into the remarkable growth of Bank Neo Commerce, with its customer base skyrocketing from 70,000 to around 25 million in just one year. Chen attributed this success to Indonesia's strong digital infrastructure and the convenience offered by online Know Your Customer (KYC) processes. The digital banking experience eliminated the need for customers to visit branches, allowing them to open accounts from their apps at their convenience. Chen noted the positive impact on customers, who found the process less intimidating and more convenient than traditional banking.
The role of Huawei
The exchange also touched on the role of Huawei in Bank Neo Commerce's digital transformation. Chen highlighted that they employed Huawei Cloud to simplify infrastructure management and allow them to focus on growing their business. Huawei's expertise in infrastructure maintenance was instrumental in enabling the bank to scale without the burden of technical challenges.
Current milestones and future goals
As the conversation concluded, Chen summarized the bank's current achievements, stating they have 25 million customers and substantial deposits. While they have seen significant user growth and transaction volume, they are still working towards profitability, indicating a promising future.
Bank Neo Commerce's journey serves as an inspiring example of rapid digital transformation, bringing financial services to millions of previously underserved individuals in Indonesia. Their commitment to customer-centricity, flexibility, and innovative technology solutions has propelled them to the forefront of digital banking.
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