Letter from the Chairman

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Letter from the Chairperson 2021 – 2022

Mingalabar,

The past two years have been presented with unprecedented challenges, while COVID-19 continues to put immense pressure on the public healthcare system, businesses, and the vulnerable communities. 

When times are tough, people need reliable and accessible banking in order to get by. As Myanmar’s largest privately-owned bank, we have worked hard to bring essential banking services to individuals and businesses, while also prioritising the health and safety of our staff and customers. 

On 22 February 2021, KBZ Bank became one of the first 25 local companies to join the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) and other multinationals and Myanmar businesses to work to navigate the business and human rights challenges the country faces. This includes adapting our operations to ensure the safety of our employees and the provision of essential services to the Myanmar people while respecting the right to freedom of expression. 

As we continue on our journey of transformation and growth, we have never lost sight of our vision and purpose — to be the best-managed bank in the world, in order to improve the quality of life for all through banking. To get there, we have a clear strategy and roadmap to pursue service excellence through innovation and commitment to continuous improvement.

KBZ Bank’s New Leadership Bench

April 2022 marks an important milestone for KBZ Bank, where we saw our local banking talents stepping up to assume senior leadership roles at the bank. Since the beginning of our transformation journey in 2017, KBZ Bank has always focused on developing a pipeline of local talent, who would grow into our future leaders. We have built an incredibly strong team of individuals, all experts in their field, who now form the new leadership team at the bank.

Our new CEO, U Zaw Lin Aung, was the first leader of Myanmar’s leading mobile banking app — KBZPay, and has been an extraordinary factor in the evolution of the bank. Together with the rest of the new leadership team, he will be supported by the Shareholders and Board of Directors as he leads the KBZ Bank to achieve its vision and mission as a leading customer-centric bank.

Improving Access through Digital Banking Services

The past years have been a testament to the importance of strong digital banking infrastructure, with KBZPay at the heart of our quest to provide banking services in a safe and efficient manner. 

With full KYC, KBZPay is transforming payments and commerce in the country, creating more efficient, reliable and easy ways to bank. Since its launch, the free mobile payment map has achieved impressive milestones:

  • Over 1 billion transactions have been processed since its launch, with 58 million transactions recorded in March 2022 alone, totaling 4.3 trillion Kyat.
  • 10 million downloads since launch, with a target of 12 million users by 2024. 
  • 84% of all e-wallet owners in Myanmar use KBZPay

Our Financial Performance and Value Creation at a Glance 

Over the past year, we have continued to create value for our stakeholders — from customers to employees, vendors, and the community.

By combining our momentum in the FinTech space with our traditional banking roots, we aim to become an industry leader in both product offerings and customer service, with a target of achieving Service Leadership in ASEAN by 2024.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Our Business

When COVID-19 first hit Myanmar, it undeniably brought on some disruptions to our businesses, as some branches were temporarily closed and we made the switch towards remote working to protect the health and safety of our customers and employees.

Between March and December 2020, operations at some of the branches  in Yangon Region were temporarily suspended to implement preventive measures for COVID-19 and to carry out regular bank security maintenance. During the temporary suspension, the banks’ premises were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The branch security system was also upgraded during that time.

The bank resumed operation of 122 Yangon branches to continue providing customers with essential banking services in 2021 with the necessary precautionary measures strictly adhered to at every branch. 

However, rather than obstructing our development roadmap, the pandemic has catalysed the speed of our digital transformation. With a strong digital banking infrastructure, we were well-poised to quickly adapt to the challenges posed. Some of the innovative digital products and services that were rolled out to cater to our customers during the pandemic include:

  • Mobile-first financing and insurance: Access to emergency personal loans, microcredit, term deposit accounts, and insurance, all with a few taps of the finger on KBZPay. 
  • Full paperless, biometric mobile onboarding: Enabling everyone to take the first step in accessing secure digital financial tools safely and easily. 
  • Making payroll frictionless: Businesses can use KBZPay to pay their employees without having to organise and transfer cash.

To learn more about our ability to create value over the short, medium and long term due to COVID-19 Pandemic and current political landscapes, head to our Risk Management Page.

COVID-19 Response and Initiatives

KBZ Bank’s Social Purpose and Impact Partnership committee (SPIPC) was launched in December 2019 with the aim to bring international best practices, good governance, transparency, and domain expertise to KBZ Bank’s charitable giving.

As COVID-19 hit Myanmar, the SPIP Committee contributed more than MMK 4.8 billion in 2020 towards vulnerable communities, healthcare infrastructure, medical equipment, food, and other forms of aid throughout the country. 

Between 2021 and 2022, the SPIP Committee continued to make additional contributions towards COVID-19 response initiatives amidst the third wave of the pandemic:

  • In Jan 2021, 3 billion MMK was contributed via the Ministry of Health towards the government’s COVID-19 Vaccination Fund to support the country’s vaccination drive. 
  • In July 2021, 5,000,000 MMK was contributed to the provision of medical equipment for the COVID-19 positive patients of Heya Ywar Ma Village in Shan State.
  • In July 2021, US$50,000 was donated to a fundraising led by the  French Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (French CCI) and American Chamber Of Commerce (AMCHAM) in collaboration with Myanmar Centrefor Responsible Business (MCRB) to provide medicine and medical equipment to rural communities. 
  • In August 2021, the SPIP Committee approved a donation to Southern Shan State Philanthropic Brothers Network for 2 ambulances to provide COVID-19 care home service in Taunggyi and Aungban in Southern Shan State.

As the SPIP Committee looks to the years ahead, it will continue to focus on uplifting the livelihoods of the people in Myanmar and creating a lasting impact with trusted partners that have shown a great track record in philanthropy and governance. 

On top of contributions to the community, we also implemented various policies to look after the wellbeing of our staff in the pandemic. From the Employee Vaccination Programme to welfare packages, extended leave policy, and webinars on coping with COVID-19, we wanted to ensure our staff receive the support that they need in order to excel and grow at KBZ Bank. 

Bank ownership

KBZ Bank is an independent entity that has never been under a holding company structure. While there are other entities in Myanmar bearing the KBZ brand, KBZ Bank is not owned by any other holding company.

Holistic Approach to Risk Management 

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are important considerations for every organisation, given increasing expectations from local and global stakeholders. Businesses need to shift their focus from short-term gains to long-term value creation for the community in which they operate. 
Head over to our Risk Management page for more information on our holistic approach to risk management, which covers Environment, Social (HR), Social (Society), Governance, and Finance.

Our Roadmap to Service Leadership 2024

Looking ahead, we would like to go beyond improving digital touchpoints to our services, reaching a standard of customer service never before experienced in banking. Continuous service improvement is a commitment and principle that will drive our twin mission — bringing 100% financial inclusion in Myanmar, and becoming the region’s leading bank in customer service. 

At the same time, we will continue to stay true to our values of Metta, Thet Ti, and Virya – loving-kindness, courage and perseverance. These enduring values are the North Star that make us who we are as an organisation. 

As we continue to work on serving our customers and employees better, I would like to express my gratitude to our past and present management team for their exemplary leadership, our employees for their teamwork and relentless dedication, and our customers and stakeholders for their trust and goodwill. 

Sincerely,
U Mya Than
Independent Chairman, Board of Directors


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