Singapore, 22 July 2019 – KBZ Bank, Myanmar’s largest private bank, has been recognized for excellence within the banking industry at the Asian Banking and Finance (ABF) Awards ceremony, held on 18 July 2019 in Singapore. The bank was awarded multiple accolades at the 14th ABF Retail Banking Awards – the Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year – Myanmar and Mobile Banking Initiative of the Year. Held concurrently was the 8th ABF Wholesale Banking Awards which saw KBZ Bank awarded the Myanmar Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year.
Asian Banking and Finance, Asia’s leading financial publication, annually recognizes the most outstanding practices and innovative strategies in the region’s wholesale and retail banking sectors. The three accolades presented to KBZ Bank at the ABF Awards 2019 serve as an acknowledgment for the progress it has achieved towards helping Myanmar achieve 100% financial inclusion and greater connectivity with the introduction of KBZPay, and enabling best-in-class results for clients with the successful launch of four new trade finance products.
Said U Soe Ko Ko, Head of Agent Banking, KBZPay, who received the ABF Awards on behalf of KBZ Bank, “It is an honour for KBZ Bank to be consistently recognised among peers at a global level. The awards we have received reflect our efforts in introducing digital and financial services on-the-ground in a secured and measured way to ensure citizens are protected and well-equipped in digital and financial literacy as Myanmar makes a quantum leap into a mobile-first economy. Along with our innovative trade financing products which support our clients’ businesses, we will continue to introduce market-leading products, services and experiences to improve the quality of life for people in Myanmar.”
This year’s ABF Awards jury comprised industry leaders from some of the world’s biggest accounting and consulting firms such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PwC. Award nominations were judged according to the following parameters – uniqueness and innovation; effectiveness and impact; and dynamism.
Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year – Myanmar Award
This award was presented to KBZ Bank for its successful launch of KBZPay in Myanmar and the efforts of KBZ Bank’s 18,000 staff in taking essential financial services beyond the doors of the branch and introducing it on-the-ground to millions in wider townships and communities. KBZPay is at the heart of the country’s transformation into a mobile-first economy, streamlining everyday tasks that involve money in a way that is fast and secure for people and businesses across the country. In less than a year from the introduction of KBZPay in August 2018, more than two million customers have been digitally on-boarded with full Know-Your-Customer (KYC) verification, along with more than 100,000 merchants and agents.
Mobile Banking Initiative of the Year Award
In 2018, KBZ Bank became the first bank in Myanmar to move from software token verification to biometric authentication via fingerprint or Facial recognition (for iPhone Xs and improved models) and to offer Auto OTP as data delivered second factor authentication, instead of traditional SMS verification. This significantly enhanced user security and created a more seamless mobile experience for its KBZPay and mBanking apps. Customers are no longer required to enter their user ID and PIN as all required authentication occurs in the backend, while the bank no longer incurs high SMS costs to maintain security.
KBZ Bank was also the first bank in Myanmar to switch from paper-based issuance of User ID and PIN to digital delivery of User ID (email) and PIN (SMS). It also enabled mobile banking registration via its mBanking app, powered by facial recognition and back-end verification, allowing new customers to easily complete KYC processes. In 2018, KBZ Bank also enabled its mBanking app to support both English and Myanmar languages, helping millions more in the country to experience the benefits that mobile banking applications bring.
Myanmar Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year Award
As a leader in innovation and an early adopter of technology, KBZ Bank launched four new trade products in 2018 to support clients whose businesses involve import and export of goods with Pre-Shipment and Post-Shipment financing. The new products include:
Pre-Shipment Export Financing
- Packing Loan: KBZ Bank offers this loan product as a bridging loan to enable the borrower to finance the procurement of goods or to enable them to convert the goods in its raw form into finished goods before shipment. Repayment of the loan will be from the sales proceeds.
Pre & Post Shipment Financing
- Back to Back Letter of Credit (BBLC): KBZ Bank offers this product to facilitate transactions involving an intermediary between the buyer and seller. This helps facilitate trade between parties who may be dealing from great distances and who may not be able to verify one another’s credit.
- Invoice Financing (Sales): KBZ Bank provides advance funds to the seller (borrower) prior to receipt of goods by the buyer. Once the buyer receives the goods, the buyer makes payment to the bank.
- Trust Receipt Financing (TR): KBZ Bank provides this short-term import loan to provide the buyer with financing to settle goods imported under Letter of Credit. Under a TR arrangement, the bank retains the title to the goods but allows the buyer to take possession of the goods on trust for resale before paying the bank on the TR due date. Invoice Financing (Sales): KBZ Bank provides advance funds to the seller (borrower) prior to receipt of goods by the buyer. Once the buyer receives the goods, the buyer makes payment to the bank.