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ENGAGE 2023: Fireside chats shine a light on banking innovation in Asia

In the vibrant city of Bangkok, the ENGAGE conference made its first-ever appearance in Asia, setting the stage for deep discussions between banking and technology luminaries. These fireside chats, held at the crossroads of tradition and innovation, provided not just insights but a roadmap for leaders navigating the dynamic landscape of banking and technology.

by Backbase


The fireside chat featuring Pranav Seth, Techcombank's Chief Digital Officer, and Sriram Venkatesan, Technical Director, Asia, at Backbase, unfolded the fascinating story of Techcombank's digital transformation. Rather than just a summary, the conversation delved into the intricacies of Techcombank's innovative approach to digitizing SMEs, showcasing the use of Backbase’s Engagement Banking platform as a dynamic innovation hub.

This exploration highlighted how Techcombank successfully balanced control and freedom in their digital breakthroughs. Pranav discussed the challenges Techcombank faced in the competitive Vietnamese mobile banking market, shedding light on the comprehensive transformation of not only banking services but also the lives of business owners.

From achieving an almost perfect mobile app rating to their innovative SME digitization, every aspect of Techcombank's digital strategy was dissected.

During the conversation, Pranav emphasized the importance of simplification and personalization. He highlighted that digitization is not just about converting things into a digital format; it's about making information more understandable for customers. The goal is to empower customers to make informed decisions easily, ultimately improving their lives. The chat also touched upon the significance of a holistic dating strategy in the context of Techcombank's digital journey.

Watch the full session below, and get all the insights.

Digital Omnipresence: Unbundling banking to be where customers need you

Next up was the time for HDFC Bank to talk about how they enhanced the customer experience of its gigantic customer base. The fireside chat, led by Abhijit Chavan, RVP Customer Success at Backbase, with HDFC Bank’s CIO Ramesh Lakshminarayanan at the center stage, unwrapped the layers of innovation at one of India's leading banks.

HDFC Bank, synonymous with scale, has built a remarkable reputation over the last twenty-eight years. The recent merger with their parent company has further amplified their influence, boasting a total customer base of ninety million customers. Ramesh delved into the impacts of this significant merger, highlighting the advantages it brought to the bank, as well as the challenges it presented.

The discussion provided a detailed exploration of HDFC Bank's journey in achieving core abstraction and monolith independence. A spotlight was cast on the operational dynamics of HDFC Bank's in-house digital factory, revealing intricate details about their commitment to higher resiliency and faster launches at scale.

This fireside chat showcased not just the bank's achievements but also the intricate process of turning vision into reality. It provided a behind-the-scenes look at how HDFC Bank managed to change the four engines with the plane midflight, positioning itself as a torchbearer of innovation in the ever-evolving landscape of banking services. The narrative unfolded, offering insights into the challenges faced by a banking giant striving to maintain leadership in the dynamic realm of customer-centric financial solutions.

Get all the insights in the video below.

Empowering dreams: Inclusiveness, saviours, investors

In the last fireside chat of the evening, Soumya Srinivas, Customer Success Director, Asia, at Backbase, engaged in a compelling conversation with BDO Unibank’s Head of Digital Strategy, Mark Bantigue. The session unfolded as a chronicle of success stories, delving deep into challenging banking objectives.

BDO Unibank unboxed three remarkable achievements against highly demanding goals. First and foremost, the bank played a pivotal role in driving the Philippines' national agenda for financial inclusion. The conversation provided insights into how BDO Unibank not only achieved but excelled, boasting the highest digital banking penetration rates in the country. Their success wasn't limited to the local stage, as they secured the third position in retail banking across the Asia-Pacific region.

Mark Bantigue shared the bank's distinctive approach, shedding light on maintaining a top position in Assets Under Management. A noteworthy aspect of their strategy was the growth in savers to investors conversion, positioning them as leaders in shaping the financial landscape in the Philippines.

This fireside chat, much like the previous ones, offered a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced and overcome, providing a nuanced look at how BDO Unibank continues to be a beacon of success in the dynamic world of banking. The exploration of their journey underscored the power of strategic digital initiatives in not only transforming banking services but also contributing to the broader financial inclusion agenda.

Watch the full fireside chat to get all the insights.

As the echoes of ENGAGE Asia reverberate, these fireside chats emerge not just as conversations but as beacons guiding the way forward for banking innovation in Asia. The intricate details unveiled in each session provide a granular understanding of the strategies employed by Techcombank, HDFC Bank, and BDO Unibank, offering a blueprint for success in the ever-evolving landscape of banking and technology. The nuanced narratives unveiled in these fireside chats are set to resonate as pivotal moments in the ongoing story of Asian fintech, steering the industry toward a future marked by innovation, customer-centricity, and inclusive financial practices.