Saturday, 20 April 2024

Bank Muamalat leverages Google Cloud for personalised Islamic banking

5 min read

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad (Bank Muamalat) announced a multi-year collaboration with Google Cloud to accelerate its transformation into a leading digital Islamic bank.

This collaboration aims to leverage Google Cloud’s integrated capabilities in modern infrastructure, data analytics, security, and generative AI (gen AI) to deliver personalised and inclusive digital banking services to Malaysians.

Bank Muamalat’s holistic cloud transformation also encompasses the adoption of solutions from Mambu, a Google Cloud industry solutions partner, and Backbase, underscoring its commitment toward delivering cutting-edge digital banking solutions aligned with Shariah principles.

Khairul Kamarudin, president and CEO of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad, said: “It’s our mission to bring digital banking’s full range of benefits to Malaysia’s Islamic banking market. By having our digital core systems and front-end running on Google Cloud, we anticipate streamlined IT operations and enhanced responsiveness, laying the foundation for innovation with enterprise-grade gen AI and ultimately delivering superior banking experiences.”

Next-generation Islamic banking, built on a secure and open cloud

To lay the foundation for delivering customer-centric banking products and services, Bank Muamalat is making a strategic shift to a cloud-based operating model. This involves migrating Bank Muamalat’s digital applications and databases to Google Cloud, and integrating them with Mambu’s digital core banking platform and Backbase’s engagement banking platform to power Bank Muamalat’s new range of Islamic financing and deposit offerings.

In addition to achieving significant cost savings and enhancing operational efficiency, this transition to an open cloud foundation empowers Bank Muamalat's developers to accelerate software development cycles. This translates to faster rollout of enhanced banking services to better serve customers and drive top-line growth. Bank Muamalat is leveraging Google Cloud’s modern infrastructure and developer cloud capabilities to improve its Muamalat application platform (MAP), which facilitates applications for personal financing, education financing, home financing, and more. The enhanced MAP’s ability to automate document data capture frees up staff to focus on value-added decision-making while allowing customers to complete their financing applications up to six times faster. Such innovations are expected to play a significant role in increasing the 41% of bank financing that Islamic financing currently accounts for in Malaysia.

With built-in data access controls and customer-managed encryption keys, Google Cloud and Mambu’s digital core banking platform is designed to meet the financial services sector’s rigorous security and compliance requirements. To further strengthen its security posture, Bank Muamalat is planning to deploy Google Cloud’s Chronicle Security Operations and Security Command Centre Premium platforms, integrated with Mandiant Threat Intelligence, for best-in-class threat detection, investigation, and response capabilities. It is also implementing Firestore, Google Cloud’s serverless database, to prevent unintended data loss from potential human errors and natural disasters.

Fernando Zandona, CEO of Mambu, said: “Mambu has emerged as a leader in enabling cloud-based banking, contributing to the success of established financial institutions in more than 65 countries. As one of the pioneering traditional banks in Southeast Asia to adopt Mambu’s cloud banking platform, underpinned by Google Cloud, Bank Muamalat can now speed up its time to market for new products and services, streamline IT operations, and build delightful customer experiences. The approval from Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia’s industry regulatory authority, to proceed with this initiative reinforces the trust and confidence placed in Mambu and Google Cloud. We look forward to supporting Bank Muamalat as it modernises its core systems.”

AI-first strategy for banking accessibility and personalisation

As an extension of its secure-by-design digital core banking platform, Bank Muamalat is looking to utilise Google Cloud BigQuery and Looker, integrated with Google marketing platform. This will allow the bank to consolidate and analyse first-party data that is unique to its business at scale, including data that is collected with direct consent from customers through interactions on applications and websites, and in response to marketing initiatives like email and loyalty programmes.

With unified, 360-degree customer profiles and data views, Bank Muamalat’s non-technical business analysts and marketers can then access targeted insights to design and deliver products better tailored to different lifestyles. This expands their reach to broader segments of the Malaysian market, including those underserved by traditional banking services.

In addition, these unified data views will serve as a ready vehicle for the application of responsible gen AI in banking. Bank Muamalat’s staff, for instance, typically spend a significant amount of time looking for and summarising information and documents internally, which means that they spend less time interacting with their clients. As part of its cloud-first transformation roadmap, Bank Muamalat will adopt enterprise-ready gen AI capabilities like Vertex AI Search and Conversation to enable its staff to extract insights and recommendations from its data repository in natural language, with footnotes and links to supporting data sources for explainability. This turns information retrieval tasks that take hours into quick searches or conversational exploration, so staff can create tailored content that is evidence-based and accurate to enhance the quality of customer engagements.

Patrick Wee, country manager for Malaysia at Google Cloud said: “Personal, trusted relationships reside at the heart of the Islamic banking experience. It’s therefore crucial to design digital banking services that go beyond the purely transactional to help customers achieve their financial aspirations. Bank Muamalat’s decision to leverage Google Cloud’s capabilities in modern infrastructure, security, data analytics, and gen AI as a unified whole, will help the bank drive new operational efficiencies and execution velocity, and expand the relevance and reach of its services. For consumers, this means a new standard of digital Islamic banking that’s faster, easier to use, and more attuned to creating mutual trust than ever before.”

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

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