KBZ Bank Unveils Transformational Strategy Driven by its Next-Generation Leadership

Yangon, Myanmar, 3 February 2020 – As Myanmar emerges as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, KBZ Bank continues its transformation momentum to improve the country’s banking ecosystem, spur economic growth, and improve the quality of life for people in the country. Over the last two decades, KBZ Bank has become the largest private bank in the country by serving its customers faithfully. Driven by the desire to continue serving the needs of Myanmar and its people in this digital age and for decades to come, the bank has recently undergone the most ambitious, radical transformation in its history.

Comprised of several components, including comprehensive developments in leadership, operations and services, KBZ Bank’s transformation agenda prioritises the development of a new generation of banking, one that leverages innovation to build financial connectivity for a mobile-first Myanmar. At the heart of this transformation is KBZ Bank’s new senior women in leadership – Deputy CEOs Daw Nang Lang Kham and Daw Nang Kham Noung, who work alongside CEO Mike DeNoma. 

New management personnel have also been brought on board including U Zaw Lin Aung, Senior Managing Director; Manikantan Venkataramani, Chief Operating Officer; Muniandy R Krishnan, Chief Financial Officer; Tajinder Kumar, Head of People and Talent; John Byrne, Chief Risk Officer; Stoney Hsia, Head of Wholesale Banking and  U Sai Lu Mon Aung, Deputy Chief Information Officer . By bringing banking experts from across the world, KBZ Bank’s leadership team is paving a path to progress for the financial ecosystem of Myanmar with security, compliance and connectivity as its building blocks.

Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer Measures

KBZ Bank is the first in the country to implement rigorous Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) measures to bring quality and trust to the financial ecosystem. All bank accounts are verified by robust KYC measures to ensure KBZ Bank’s customers do not include parties involved in illicit trade. 

KBZ Bank has also been compliant with all AML guidelines released by the Myanmar Financial Intelligence Unit. These include implementation of measures such as threshold reporting, active reports on suspicious transactions, and deploying advanced AML software of an international standard. 

  • Active AML reporting: As part of AML guidelines, KBZ Bank submits threshold reports to the Myanmar Financial Intelligence Unit for all transactions that are above US$10,000, including cash transactions that hit the threshold amount. KBZ Bank also actively submits reports of suspicious transactions to prevent illicit trade and has gradually increased the frequency of these reports to take a more cautious and accountable approach to AML efforts.
  • Advanced AML software: KBZ Bank has implemented Oracle Financial Services Analytical Applications (OFSAA), the most advanced AML software available globally today. OFSAA is deployed by leading global financial institutions worldwide and is considered to be best practice in AML efforts. KBZ Bank invested in implementing OFSAA to ensure its AML practices surpasses what is required domestically and moves the bank towards international standards.

Successful Launch and Adoption of KBZPay

KBZ Bank’s exciting transformation has further extended its market leadership to the digital sector. The bank is leading Myanmar’s transition to a cashless financial system through its mobile banking services and KBZPay, a real-time e-wallet platform backed by a fully digital KYC process. 

Introduced in October 2018 with an ambitious goal to achieve 100% financial inclusion for Myanmar, KBZPay now has more than 4 million customers, and 280,000 agents and merchants, including microentrepreneurs, e-commerce companies, e-gov services, educational institutions, and employers. Half of KBZPay customers are from areas other than Yangon Region, Mandalay Region and Shan State, reflecting the progress to reach people with little or no access to banking or other formal financial services. 

On average, 300,000 transactions are facilitated by KBZPay each day, and monthly transaction volume has surpassed 11 million. For the period of January 2019 to December 2019, transactions amounting to more than USD 3.3 billion  were facilitated by KBZPay.

While banks abroad are bound by legacy infrastructure, KBZ Bank is leapfrogging ahead to deepen financial connectivity in Myanmar through KBZPay. Consumers have KBZPay as their everyday partner, helping them manage their finances and connect with digital services in a secure and mobile way, while entrepreneurs have KBZPay as a platform to reach millions of customers, enabling their business to scale. 

Recognition of KBZ Bank’s Transformation Efforts Thus Far

KBZ Bank’s transformation journey towards being the domestic champion for innovation and catalytic transformation has been recognised by the global financial industry. In 2019, KBZ Bank received the following accolades:

  • Asia Banking and Finance Retail Banking Awards 2019 – Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year: Myanmar
  • Asia Banking and Finance Retail Banking Awards 2019 – Mobile Banking Initiative of the Year
  • Asiamoney Banking Awards 2019 – Best Domestic Bank 
  • Asiamoney Banking Awards 2019 – Best Digital Bank
  • Asia Responsible Enterprise Award (AREA) 2019 under the Health Promotion Category – Enterprise Asia
  • Enterprise Asia International Innovation Award 2019 – Country Award for Myanmar
  • Euromoney Regional and Country Awards for Excellence 2019 – Best Domestic Bank: Myanmar
  • Euromoney Regional and Country Awards for Excellence 2019 – Best Digital Bank
  • FinanceAsia Achievement Awards 2019 – Country Award for Myanmar
  • International Finance Award – Most Innovative Digital Bank

As KBZ Bank transforms into a world-class bank in a digital-led world, it is also taking strides in areas such as creating Myanmar’s workforce of the future by instituting professional organizational structure and contributing to long-term nation-building initiatives such as SME development. More updates about KBZ Bank’s transformation journey will be shared in the coming months.