While this initiative takes advantage of their immense distribution strength, many will argue this is a 'wallet service' more than a 'banking' service. But these initiatives are worthy of mention here as their independent approach to financial services were recently (2013) made interoperable by myMobile, a 'clearing house' that unifies payments across these carriers and mainstream banks (CIMB, Maybank and Public Bank). This could well pave the way for a branchless,mobile-driven approach that seamlessly works across all providers of financial services.
The Role of Mobile
In all cases, reduction of distribution cost is key.
Noteworthy here are the small outlets that make up RHB Easy (Maybank too in some cases). These are intended to provide self-serve ATM banking and are manned by a skeleton staff focussed on sales. Adding mobile into the service mix would seem a natural extension of this approach as mobile is being increasingly used in both traditional and non-traditional banking. For example, in many cases around the world, we're seeing phones take the place of ATM cards, thereby providing a cost reduction to banks.
For banks to remain competitive in the retail space, thinking outside the traditional channels will improve distribution and better engage consumers. These channels will also include mobile as commerce become increasingly mobile.
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