United Overseas Bank is to launch its pure-play digital banking offshoot in Thailand, the first step on a journey across Asian markets that the bank expects to reap up to five million customers over the next five years.
UOB in August last year announced plans to launch an app-only bank to cater for the massive and increasing rate of mobile-first millennial consumers in South East Asia.
The new bank, dubbed TMRW and developed by the firm's regional Engagement Labs, majors on next-generation artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, user interface design and smartphone capabilities, to provide users with a smart, personalised service. In building the bank, UOB has bought into partnership with a number of third party fintech firms, including Meniga, Avatec.ai and Personetics.
Dennis Khoo, head of group retail digital, UOB (pictured), says that TMRW was created from scratch with the sole purpose of meeting the financial needs of Asean millennials.
“While Asean is known for its diversity, there remains a set of fundamental expectations by the digital generation when it comes to digital services, such as simplicity and an engaging user experience," he says. "So we took the time needed to understand our millennial customers and how and why they engage with mobile apps and digital services the way they do. We then used those insights in designing TMRW for today’s millennials. TMRW pushes simplicity to the limit and engages them in new ways beyond the standard digital banking functionalities."
At the same time, TMRW will be adapted to be sensitive to the nuances of each market.
"What this means is that TMRW will not be a static one-size-fits-all app, but a digital bank that will continue to learn to create increasingly simple, transparent and engaging experiences for TMRW’s customers in each of our Asean countries,” explains Khoo.
The same principles are applied to the individual user experience, with the app adapting to customer usage patterns and learning from transactional spending habits to provide a customised interface to bring upfront functions and information that best match each customer's needs.
In-app chat and messaging services are also part of the package alongside gaming functionality that encourages user engagement in chasing savings goals.
Khoo says the bank will launch TMRW across other Asean market in the coming months.