UOB builds network of 'eLabs' to drive design of pan-regional Digital Bank

UOB builds network of 'eLabs' to drive design of pan-regional Digital Bank

United Overseas Bank is to set up a network of regional 'Engagement Labs' to mine customer transaction data and deliver new products and services for the forthcoming launch of its 'Digital Bank' across Asia.

UOB in August announced plans to launch a digital-only bank to cater for the massive and increasing rate of mobile-first consumers in South East Asia.

The new bank will be powered by next-generation artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, user interface design and smartphone capabilities, leveraging inhouse expertise alongside innovations provided by its recent credit assessment joint venture with Avatec.ai and its investment and partnership with Personetics.

UOB's network of eLabs is the next step in the build-out phase, creating regional facilities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to identify individual transaction patterns from its huge volumes of transaction data.

Dennis Khoo, head of digital bank and digital banking, says the bank wants to anticipate customer needs and help them make better financial decisions to achieve their goals.

“Within our local eLab teams, our people will be testing and learning how best to converse with customers," he says. "We are building a glossary specific to each market which takes into consideration cultural, behavioural and language norms. With language being used differently by each generation, and especially on digital devices, this is an exciting challenge to tackle."

The opening of the eLabs coincides with a recruitment drive, as the bank looks to add another 60 staff to the 120-people strong team already working on the roll-out of the new bank. While 45% of the roles will be located in Singapore, positions will also be available in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Of these new hires, a quarter will join the eLab. Other roles include those in areas such as user experience and user interface design, behavioural science and research, data analytics and design thinking.

The Bank is also planning to increase its team of software engineers and architects to develop in-house APIs that will tap UOB’s IT architecture to drive real-time data analytics.

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