Top Honours Awarded to KBZ Bank and KBZPay at the Asian Banking & Finance Awards 2020

Myanmar’s leading bank receives international recognition for deepening financial inclusion with its mobile-first payments platform KBZPay

Yangon, Myanmar, 1 October 2020 – KBZ Bank, Myanmar’s largest privately-owned bank, alongside its mobile payments platform KBZPay, has been recognised for excellence within the banking and mobile payments industry at the 15th  Asian Banking and Finance (ABF) Retail Banking Awards and the 9th BF Wholesale Banking Awards announced on 16 July 2020. 

To honour its dedication to driving financial inclusion with KBZPay, the awards presented to KBZ Bank at the ABF Retail Banking Awards 2020 are: ‘Domestic Retail Bank of the Year – Myanmar’, ‘Digital Wallet Initiative of the Year – Myanmar’, and ‘Mobile Banking & Payment Initiative of the Year – Myanmar.’ The Bank also received the ‘Myanmar Domestic Initiative of the Year for Mobile Payments’ award at the ABF Wholesale Banking Awards 2020.

Since 2018, KBZPay has enabled a more connected, and safe way of life through digital payments while giving many people across Myanmar access to essential financial and digital services for the first time. To date, the platform has attracted more than six million customers in less than two years and facilitated transactions valued at more than MMK 15 trillion. Since April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Myanmar, KBZPay recorded a 225 percent increase in P2P money transfers and a 148 percent increase in transaction value. 

Said Daw Nang Lang Kham, Deputy CEO of KBZ Bank, “It is an honour that our efforts to deepen financial inclusion in Myanmar are being recognised on an international stage. For decades, financial services have been out of reach for the vast majority of people in our country. KBZPay has allowed millions of users in Myanmar to conveniently and securely connect with everyday services through their mobile phones while transforming the way they manage their finances. This is not only making personal finance safer and more convenient, but also helping to lay the foundation for critical economic growth, social progress, and sustainable development we need to advance as a nation.”

In addition to the impact it is having on individuals, KBZPay continues to be a key driver of mobile financial payments across the country, a goal outlined in the Myanmar government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan (CERP). The platform is enabling financial institutions, retailers, telecom operators and other merchants to connect directly with their customers. This is facilitating new revenue opportunities for a network of more than 290,000 agents and merchants by allowing them to earn commissions on transactions and manage funds more efficiently and securely than they can with cash. 

Over the past year, KBZ Bank has further accelerated its efforts to digitise Myanmar’s economy by introducing a number of successful KBZPay services such as: KBZPay digital life insurance, cardless ATM withdrawals, tuition payment/collection, KBZPay donations, and digital payments for municipal services. It also began offering mobile-first financing to provide extra liquidity to its users in a COVID-19 economy, including KBZPay Quick Access Loans and KBZPay Shopper Loans. The fastest-growing platform in Myanmar plans to introduce more easy-to-use and exciting digital services in the future.

The Asian Banking and Finance (ABF), Asia’s leading financial publication, annually recognises the most outstanding practices and innovative strategies in the region’s wholesale and retail banking sectors. This year’s ABF Awards jury comprised industry leaders from some of the world’s most prominent accounting and consulting firms such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PwC and KPMG. Award nominations were judged according to the following criteria – uniqueness and innovation; effectiveness and impact; and dynamism. In 2019, ABF awarded KBZ Bank the Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year – Myanmar, Mobile Banking Initiative of the Year and Myanmar Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year awards.