FinTech seems like the next big thing among the startups community, especially in the Southeast Asia Region and I’m excited that Maybank has finally decided to partner with 1337 ventures (big shoutout to Mike and team) for a FinTech startup challenge this quarter.

With that, I’m writing this insights from months of frustrations which I have encountered as a business owner that are real pain points that I have always dreamt of taking it into my own hands and solve them. I hope that this article would spur many FinTech startups team to look at opportunities which are deeper than the surface level and help Maybank to improve their technology even faster. There are many areas in the Financial Industry which has lots of opportunity gaps for development and the 2 main gaps are always consumers and corporate, with investments being the 3rd.

This article can only speak my experience of a Maybank user. Why? Cause all my businesses are using Maybank and for me to switch to other banks is a pain in the ass cause the nearest branch to my office is just a 3 minute walk away. The switching cost to me is too high, even though on some occasions other banks have better technology and are charging cheaper prices for some services.

Consumer Market

The consumer market has a lot of opportunities which can already be innovated from what’s out there in USA and Europe which I don’t want to elaborate more – from Microloans, mobile payments, consumer saver app, to peer to peer reminder & payment and many more. The consumer market is really huge but whether a consumer would adopt it and how fast consumers would adopt it is always a challenge. Plus, consumers would always most of the time want services to be free. My vote for the consumer market has always been microloans and I believe it would work well in developing countries like Cambodia. Having said that, i’m really excited to see what comes out from the 1337 challenge over the few months for the consumer market 😀

Corporate Market

Now for this (which I’m really passionate about), Maybank has a lot of work to put in for the corporate system. My plea to Maybank is allow the teams from the challenge to have a list of contacts to your corporate clients who are using your corporate systems, especially M2E so that they can do idea validation and see what pain points users are experiencing. I’m a fan of Lean Startup Methodology. If it would cut their time by half to deliver a great product, please help them out.

If your team is too slow to react, then have these agile startups to execute them. They are hungry, believe me. If you are spending that much of effort into creating a challenge, might as well go all out and provide them your resources.

And why I’m all in for this, cause corporate will pay if they see value that allows them to save TIME and SALARY in their finance and accounting department. I personally would!

  1. M2E systems has bugs in them still and the steps to retrieve certain information involves way too many steps. Each additional click to me is money, cause that’s how much time is wasted. And batch upload transactions are so limited due to software capability mismatch for some and the mobile app is still buggy. Break the team down to be leaner and have the team to work on more important and frequently used features. I can’t even pay bills, I kid you not.
  2. Maybank Automatic Payroll Crediting system. @FinTech startups, this area has a lot of opportunities for you to cut the processing time for companies by half. The software needs work and now that everything is in the cloud, take the opportunity to do something about it.
  3. Opening Accounts for employees. CIMB Kwik is the bomb for this. I still don’t know how they get away with so little credentials needed, but it definitely speeds up the processing time to open up an account (minus the wait time to get the debit card).
  4. Integration of corporate accounting and payment system. What really still sucks is the need to take a pic of the bank in slip and email to some one and let them know the payment is for which invoice. In this day and age, it’s all about integration of APIs. If I can make payment to my supplier which can know right away which invoices is it offset for, imagine the number of employees we can reduce on both ends and how streamline the whole process flow will be.
  5. Simplify verification processes. There’s a lot of processes in the banks which require verification and often it’s still traditional signature on paper and that’s time require. This day and age is about simplicity and speed.

If a bank wants to get an unfair edge over the others, then it has to ensure it’s innovation surpasses its competition. While you are reading this, other banks would have picked it up and may have start to work on these after this.

FinTech folks, I admire your courage to do something about this industry, cause the Banks have no idea how powerful they can make the country grow if they put their mind to it. You definitely can change that. They can speed up a country’s progress and make the whole country more efficient. I’m sure lots of money is lost because of the efficiency gap that is available in the industry. Of course the blame game will always come to the importance of security and approval procedures from the central bank, etc.

Well why compete when you can collaborate. If you are a FinTech startups working on features, look for other FinTech who are working on securities, I’m sure there has to be some! Banks are already eating each other up to be bigger, so if you are a FinTech startups, I suggest you guys to collaborate and make things bigger.

To all who are joining the challenge, good luck. You guys will be in good hands under the care of 1337. Please bring ASEAN to a whole new level. If you guys need a market study/user to validate, I’m up for it during my available time slot.