The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live resulting in mass digital adoption as we rapidly shifted to a digital and contactless way of life – from buying food and essentials to how we work.
Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Leong Bank (HLB) said that the MCO period has provided individuals and businesses with a live test-case on how digital platforms, including digital banking and payments, could help them continue to live life and run their business uninterrupted.
This greater digital adoption and digital transformation of the economy will increase the importance of all Malaysians being more agile, adaptive, and digitally minded.
“As we settle into the ‘new normal’, everything we touch and do now will involve a digital element. The need to be digitally-savvy and competent is no longer a choice, but a necessity. In fact, a study done just before the pandemic showed that 69% of Malaysian respondents were planning to use cashless payment methods more often. The pandemic would only have hastened the digital shift and cashless adaptation,”
From May 2019 to May 2020, HLB has seen another significant year-on-year (“y-o-y”) increase in downloads and usage of our digital banking platforms. As of May 2020, almost 80% of HLB customers are regularly using HLB Connect, the Bank’s mobile banking app, an increase of over a quarter over the past year alone.
Interestingly enough, customers aged above 50 recorded the biggest year-over-year increase at 42%. Mobile banking transactions recorded an impressive spike across the board with an 80% increase in total transaction amount and a 75% increase in the number of transactions conducted.
But it is the big leap in cashless adoption during MCO that showed how fast the bank’s customers adjusted to this new normal, and this was also driven by more vendors and merchants offering cashless payment options. For instance, HLB saw a 13-fold increase in the total amount/transactional value of e-wallet top-ups over a period of 2-months from March to May 2020, compared to the same period last year.
“We continue to invest in building customer-focused digital solutions across all customer segments that will further facilitate frictionless banking, 24×7, without the need to having to visit a branch or fill in paper forms.”
Throughout the coming year, customers can look forward to more digital “reboots” and enhancements across all banking segments not just retail, including business and corporate banking, SME and Islamic banking. The new digital solutions that will be rolled out will greatly ease the transition and adoption of a digital lifestyle.
Some of these include low-cost contactless payment solutions, mobile banking upgrades for business customers, digital investments, eKYC account opening as well as expanding on existing offerings to create more convenient, customer-focused products and services.
Charles Sik, Managing Director of Personal Financial Services shared that many of the bank’s customers are eager to get back into social routines again under the new normal of eased restrictions.
“In the past three months, we have been riddled with uncertainties especially on the impact that COVID-19 would have on employment and income, which led us to tighten our belts on spending. Now that we are entering a recovery mode, our customers have indicated that spending time with friends and family by dining out, doing outdoor activities and travelling locally as the three main social activities they are ready to pursue immediately within the next six months.”
“Knowing that we have entered a new normal where digital and contactless payments have become an essential part of everyday life, we have also expanded our partnerships with relevant market players to cater to our customers lifestyle aspirations for the rest of the year. These include e-commerce players such as Lazada, Shopee, Zalora and Hermo, as well as hotel deals for those looking to travel domestically,”
HLB is kickstarting its new financial year with its 4th annual HLB Digital Day themed “Reboot Your 2020”with a line-up of deals and promotions for the entire month of July around dining, shopping and travel to enable their customers to reboot their lifestyles.