Hong Leong Bank Sees Fintech Playing Important Role For SME Growth

From Left: Loo Jian Sern, GM of HLB Customer Experience; Raja Adam Malik, Vice President of FAOM; Terrence Teoh, Head of HLB Group SME Banking; Kristine Ng, CEO of Fundazlic; Andre Betker, CIO Alixco P2P

Hong Leong Bank (HLB or the Bank) sees the robust and fast-growing financial technology (FinTech) landscape as an important co-facilitator with the banking industry to motivate small-and-medium sized enterprises (SME).

HLB’s LaunchPad, a start-up mentorship programme, together with HLB Group SME Banking partnered with the FinTech Association of Malaysia (FAOM) for the inaugural “FAOM Presents” event entitled “Internet Finance & Accessing Credit”. The event was attended by over 100 participants, including representatives from the Securities Commission Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, together with media as well as SMEs and entrepreneurs.

To best serve SMES and Consumers, Terrence Teoh, Head of Group SME Banking, HLB explained how the Bank, Fintech and Bigtech can work together and increase innovation. For example, “Peer-to-peer (P2P) financing providers within the FinTech space are important enablers, together with conventional banking facilities to support financing at different stages of a company’s growth. We see P2P financial providers complementing the banking institutions by reaching the underserved SMEs, especially those who do not meet the requirements of banking credit assessment, while conventional banks can take over that support when they grow in size and traction.”

“It is imperative that banks collaborate with FinTechs which can add collective value towards helping to grow this very important business segment in Malaysia, which made up 98 percent of businesses in the country. Ultimately, P2P lenders will complement banks where collaboration will allow both to enhance the service level to SMEs,” Teoh added.

HLB has provided numerous platforms to support and develop SMEs and start-ups such as its HLB LaunchPad mentorship programme, which was developed to nurture tech savvy start-ups in reinventing the financial services industry. Through the first installation of HLB LaunchPad in 2017, five tech-related start-ups were mentored to new levels of success.

The second iteration of this programme called HLB LaunchPad Activate 2018 is currently underway with applications from Malaysia as well as the ASEAN region. Shortlisted applicants will be announced at the end of September.

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