At UOB, we continually innovate by introducing products and services that meet the needs of our customers (e.g. Foreign Direct Investment advisory unit to serve SMEs interested in expanding regionally) and by using technology to make their lives better. Driven by teams from within the bank, our objective is to constantly seek to understand the growth trends and needs of our customers, and use innovation to meet their changing needs and demands.
The Monetary Authority of Singaporeâ€™s (MAS) approach in promoting an innovation ecosystem will attract even more FinTechs to Singapore and proliferate alternative business models made possible by the growing API economy. By collaborating and partnering with FinTechs, UOB accelerate delivery of complementary and innovative solutions and services that can meet customersâ€™ changing needs.
- In retail banking, our award-winning mobile banking app, UOB Mighty, is built on multiple APIs to introduce services that are highly relevant to our customersâ€™ lifestyles. Today, customers can make restaurant reservations with UOB dining deals through the App. UOB Mighty also uses location-based intelligence to highlight restaurants with dining deals within the customerâ€™s vicinity.
- In addition, UOB Mighty is the only mobile banking app in Singapore that allows customers to make contactless mobile payments on their Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled devices. Since then, UOB has continued to introduce innovative solutions that leverage contactless mobile payment technology for our customersâ€™ convenience.
- In September 2016, UOB launched two contactless mobile market firsts in banking. This includes the worldâ€™s first instant digital credit card issuance solution. Existing UOB credit cardmembers will be able to apply for another UOB credit card on-the-go through UOB Mighty, and receive the digitised version on their smartphones within minutes. The second is Southeast Asiaâ€™s first NFC contactless Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which enables customers to withdraw cash simply with the tap of their smartphones.
As one of the largest SME banks in the region, UOB has put in place infrastructure to serve the smallest start-up with funding and transactional banking needs to start-ups at the commercialisation stage through its venture debt offering, through to IPO and capital market fundraising. We have brought innovative financing and investment solutions to our customers through strategic collaboration and joint ventures with the right partners.
- In July last year, the Bank entered into a joint venture with Temasek (InnoVen Capital) to provide up to US$500 million in venture debt loans over the next five years to high growth, innovative start-up companies operating in sectors such as technology, consumer, healthcare, and clean technology in Asia.
- This was followed by UOBâ€™s partnership with Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) last November, to set up The FinLab, to promote and accelerate the growth of the best and brightest FinTech start-ups and innovators in the region. The FinLab, which is also open to UOB employees, received more than 200 applications across 20 countries for its inaugural accelerator programme which began in May, with the nine selected teams focusing on various areas such as payments, wealth management, big data analytics, lending and blockchain. Twenty more start-ups are expected to join the programme over the next two years.
- Most recently in March this year, UOB invested US$10 million in Asiaâ€™s first strategic collaboration with a leading global equity crowdfunding platform, OurCrowd, to offer start-ups and SMEs in Singapore and the region, an opportunity to access another source of funding through OurCrowdâ€™s equity crowdfunding platform. With access to OurCrowdâ€™s portfolio of invested companies, sophisticated investors banking with UOB will also have access to a broader array of investment options.
- To help small businesses enhance productivity, UOB launched BizSmart, Singaporeâ€™s first cloud-based integrated solution. With BizSmart, companies can now streamline back office processes such as payroll, accounting, inventory and resourcing that are traditionally time-consuming and manual.
Within the bank, UOB encourages enterprising thinking and digital skills development of the bankâ€™s workforce. More than 150 employees from across the Bank participated in UOBâ€™s first innovation workshop and employee hackathon to design commercially viable solutions for real-life banking challenges. Industry technology experts guided the participants on app design and pitching, while senior UOB leaders provided advice and perspectives on customer experience, business realities and feedback to challenge the teams.
Going forward, UOB is prepared for the future of banking, having embarked on a journey to provide a seamless banking connectivity experience for our customers. The Bank will also employ extensive use of analytics to better understand our customersâ€™ preferences and make better decisions, and collaborate with the right external partners including FinTechs to provide the most innovative solutions for our customers.