Editor's Note

First off, many thanks to all participating banks in the 11th annual RBI Asia Trailblazer awards. In the most challenging of circumstances, banks across the region are deservedly recognised for the best of the best in retail banking. Over 300 separate entries were received and in all – a record for the event – with 17 separate banks in the region recognised as winners. The quality and the quantity of the entries truly did the event proud. And a huge thank you to all of the winners featured in this supplement for their support.

Take a bow Maybank

For Maybank to carry off nine award wins is a huge achievement, including the headline win of Asia Trailblazer of the year for institutions. It is also richly deserved with some notable award wins.

A number of the award categories across the event were hotly contested with so many strong entries. But in Maybank’s case, it also scored some runaway wins such were the strength of the entries. For example, Maybank scored with its first-of-its-kind e-wallet enabling new or existing customers to open an account via their smartphones. Another especially strong initiative is its Maybank2u Reimagine project, successfully overhauling Malaysia’s number one internet banking service. In addition, Maybank’s Head, Group Virtual Banking, Kalyani Nair deservedly collects the individual award for Asia Trailblazer of the year.

On a personal level, I am delighted that the event also recognises Suvo Sarkar, Senior Executive Vice President and Group Head of Retail Banking, Private Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD. Sarkar is recognised with a rare RBI Lifetime Achievement Award. In my 15 years covering the global retail banking sector on RBI I have been honoured to interview and share a stage with a number of world class retail bankers: Sarkar undoubtedly falls into the highest echelon of his peers.

DBS, UOB, Standard Chartered, Emirates NBD notable multiple winners

A big well done also to multiple winners such as DBS scooping seven awards ahead of UOB with six and Standard Chartered with five. Other multiple winners include Cathay United, Alliance Bank, Kasikornbank, Union Bank of the Philippines and Taishin International Bank. So many banks think that they are delivering an improved customer experience but few banks truly optimise customer centricity as successfully as UOB. It is fitting that UOB is prominent within this supplement for the combined efforts of five different teams across its Singaporean and Thai offices implementing a number of different successful projects that collectively proved their excellence in customer centricity.

Another personal favourite among the award winners is the best rewards/loyalty programme delivered by Bank of Ayudhya. The bank transformed its customer loyalty progamme to create an enhanced Krungsri gift digital loyalty offering. Not only is the programme seamless across the channels-it is demonstrably delivering a return on investment with many lesser users converted into regular main bank users, all the while ensuring that engagement levels rise sharply across all customer segments.

And a word also for RCBC. Just about every bank is attempting to grow its market share among the millennial segment. RCBC’s winning entry, highlighted in this supplement, explains how the bank has grown customer numbers in this crucial segment with a new credit card and linked bank account aimed at millennials.

Hearty congratulations again to all of the winners.

Click here to download the 2020 Special Report; In-depth analysis of winning strategies and the mindsets that drive success inspired by the winning entries for the 11th Annual Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Summit and Awards.

Douglas Blakey


Retail Banker International