Fintech paves way for financial inclusivity, says BAB vice-chairman

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Fitri Shahminan

Fintech provides amazing opportunities for banks to improve their services and address the issue of financial inclusivity, said a senior representative of Brunei’s banking industry recently.

Abdul Razak Abdul Mulek, vice-chairman of the Brunei Association of Banks (BAB), said Fintech companies have been perceived as an increasing threat to the banks.

However, this is not the case, he said, as apart from improving banking services, Fintech companies can reach out to those who are excluded from the formal banking platform including those unable to open bank accounts and who do not have credit cards.

“This is more so important on an even wider scale-as a vital tool for addressing the gaps and inequality between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, reducing poverty, and building a financially accessible society,” Abdul Razak said during the Singapore Fintech Festival 2018 Roadshow and Pitchfest held on Monday.

He added the more people save in their savings accounts with banks or in e-wallets developed by Fintech, the better their financial beings are.

Abdul Razak Abdul Mulek, vice-chairman of the Brunei Association of Banks (BAB). Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
“We must recognise the importance of extending financial services to these ‘have nots’ or ‘excluded’ people.

“Fintech represents a tremendous business opportunity and no business sector is better positioned to reach these millions of people (other) than the Fintech,” he added.

Abdul Razak added many Fintech companies worldwide are now building cheaper, quicker and more accessible financial solutions.

He said innovation is happening quickly in all the traditional financial products like payments, remittances, savings, credit, wealth management and insurance.

The BAB senior official was of the opinion that these cutting-edge Fintech ideas present the best opportunity to serve a country’s society.

“Not only in a country like Brunei, but financial technology will be able to subsequently link Brunei to Singapore and other countries in the region and in the world,” he said.

He added strong mutual relationships are key to survival for both innovative Fintech players and financial institutions.

“Banks may not want to embark on the extensive process of creating and growing its own e-wallet from scratch, so partnership with Fintech firms opens up banks to the e-wallet race, while letting someone more prepared to deal with the development and growth of the said wallet,” he said.

The Roadshow and PitchFest, held across ASEAN countries, is one of the segments under the Singapore FinTech Festival for 2018.

This is in line with Singapore’s initiative to up-size the Festival for the year, whereby FinTech developments and opportunities, as well as innovative solutions from ASEAN countries will be presented during the ASEAN FinTech Showcase – a new element under the Festival.

The event was held at the Design & Technology (D&T) Building, Kg Anggerek Desa.

The Bruneian