21/04/2024 11:30 AM

By Fatin Umairah Abdul Hamid

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 (Bernama) -- Aeon Bank (M) Bhd, one of the five digital banking license holders in Malaysia, is set to start operations and launch its banking application by the end of the second quarter this year (2Q 2024), said its chief executive officer Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz.

Malaysia’s first Islamic digital bank aims to attract mainly tech-savvy and Generation Z consumers, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) currently underserved due to their size, she said.

The bank will kick-start its operation by offering savings accounts and related transactions for individuals.

"We will (next) launch a minimal viable product, and as we progress, additional products and financing options will follow," she told Bernama in an interview today.

To ensure its application is user-friendly and can be accepted by consumers from all walks of life, Aeon Bank has done its beta testing among the group’s employees, said Raja Teh Maimunah. 

“Digitalisation is the way forward. More people have learned to use online banking (and) we should continue to push it, and at the same time, reduce the hard cash transaction,” she said.

Malaysia has made good progress on this front, and this has to be advanced further, she opined.


Tap into RM90 billion funding gap 

As for the business segment, Raja Teh Maimunah said it will be launched by 2025.

Aeon Bank aims to tap into the RM90 billion funding gap between large corporations and MSMEs, she added.

“These could be businesses like TikTok or Instagram shops. That is our target segment, and it aligns with our role in serving the underserved, which is our mandate.

“These businesses cannot access funding through traditional banks or borrowing methods as credit evaluation needs to be done differently.

“We have to look at different data sources, (the task) of which only a digital platform can do. So, by next year, we will address this gap,” she added.

She further said that the bank is actively working on implementing the Apple Pay feature, which is a digital payment system by Apple Inc, and plans to launch a debit card by the end of this year.

 Aeon Bank is jointly owned by Aeon Financial Service Ltd and Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd, both subsidiaries of Japan's largest retail group, Aeon Group.

Aeon Group Malaysia, part of Aeon Group, has been a household brand for 40 years, providing consumers with daily financial and retail access.

Besides Aeon Bank, a consortium led by KAF Investment Bank Sdn Bhd also secured an Islamic digital bank licence from Bank Negara Malaysia.

The other three who won the digital banking licences are a consortium of Boost Holdings Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd, a consortium led by GXS Bank Pte Ltd and Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd, and a consortium led by Sea Ltd and YTL Digital Capital Sdn Bhd.


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