Malaysia’s CIMB launches ‘all-mobile’ bank in Philippines

MANILA – Malaysia’s on Monday launched its banking business in the , betting on high smartphone penetration and growing mobile internet reach.

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The mobile banking app, OCTO is envisioned to be seamless and hassle-free, said CIMB CEO of group ventures and partnerships Effendy Shahul Hamid.

Consumers can open accounts free of charge, using a smartphone in as fast as 10 minutes, he said.

“Internet and mobile penetration in the Philippines remains as one of the highest in the world, a clear sign of the progressive and modern society we hope to serve,” Hamid said.

There is no maintaining balance and zero fees for transactions. The app will help fill the “unmet needs of the the fast evolving and digital savvy” Filipinos, said CIMB Philippine CEO Vijay Manohoran.

“We will encourage more Filipinos to seamlessly open a bank account and enjoy the benefits of having a relationship with a forward-looking bank,” Manohoran told reporters during the launch in Taguig.

CIMB Bank aims to grow in the country using “alternate models” instead of physical branches with the help of its partners such as 7-Eleven, DragonPay and Visa, he said.

With its partners’ presence, consumers can conveniently deposit and withdraw money to and from their mobile accounts. The CIMB Visa debit cards can also be used in 20,000 automated teller machines (ATMs) and 8,000 other partner locations nationwide, Manohoran said.

Asked if CIMB would offer Islamic banking products, Hamid said there were no immediate plans but the bank would consider it if demand is “favorable.”

The bank’s presence “sends a strong signal” on the country’s readiness to embrace digitalization of the banking industry, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier.

Along with its digital mobile banking system, CIMB announced the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of its investment banking joint-venture, CIMB Bancom Capital Corp.

CIMB Bank’s Philippine presence completes its ASEAN expansion plans, Hamid said. The bank is present in all 10 ASEAN nations including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Laos.

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