Sunday, 26 May 2024

Alliance Bank makes financing more accessible to MSME segment using digital solutions

5 min read

Alliance Bank’s Group Chief SME & Commercial Banking Officer Raymond Chui (second from left) and Digital SME Head Kevin Shum (second from right) receiving the Best SME Financing award for the bank’s efforts to address the financing needs of MSMEs in Malaysia seamlessly.

Alliance Bank’s Digital SME unit addresses the financing needs of MSME in Malaysia using a test-and-learn approach, innovative thinking and digital channels while also providing personalised support and solutions to foster the growth and success of smaller businesses

The micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) segment has specific financing needs that are typically costlier to meet. Conventional banks see micro businesses as a higher risk compared to larger SME and corporations, leaving MSME owners out of the wider economy.

Alliance Bank’s Digital SME, established as part of the broader acceleration of the bank’s digital agenda, was challenged with meeting the needs of this segment while maintaining the high standards of service expected by customers who are accustomed to face-to-face interactions with relationship managers at bank branches.

In its MSME Business Outlook 2023 survey, the bank found that 71.6% of Malaysian MSME saw revenues increasing year-on-year in 2022. This indicates that the market is experiencing a strong rebound as these same businesses innovated to meet the needs of a dynamic marketplace.

Raymond Chui, group chief of SME and commercial banking officer said: “We believe in serving our business customers across their life cycle and providing a full suite of products and solutions to enable and support their progress along their growth journey and replicate the successes of their peers. The smaller SME have specific needs compared to more established businesses. The Digital SME unit was established to tackle this challenge.”

Chui added that the unit uses a test-and-learn approach with team members who are encouraged to think out of the box to meet the unique needs of this target market. With the high digital penetration rate in Malaysia, there is a strong business case for delivering solutions to MSME via online channels.

At the design stage, the team worked closely with frontliners from the bank branches, the product team, and operations, studying current processes and taking into account user requirements as well as the customer’s lived experiences.

Multiple iterations of various solutions were conducted to address customer needs and compliance requirements to achieve the Alliance Digital SME user journey that the bank’s business customers enjoy today.

Alliance Digital SME onboarding becomes 47% faster

Figure 1: Alliance Digital SME improved user experience

Source: Alliance Bank

Bringing the Bank to You

The bank’s vision of ‘Bringing the Bank to You’ derives from the agile framework that Alliance uses to produce the best possible experience for the customer. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank realised that customers were unable to go to branches due to restrictions. By digitalising banking services, Alliance ensured that customers could still carry out business by accessing products and services online.

Over time, customer feedback revealed that there were still many who preferred speaking to a person instead of doing everything on their own digitally, which led to the creation of the Digital Sales Support Team that offers services over the phone.

For those who face challenges in both digital and phone-banking services, as a bank with omnichannel solutions, Alliance deploys dedicated teams to meet MSME customers at their offices in the spirit of ‘Bringing the Bank to You’.

Building bankability

As a bank with the vision of being the ‘Preferred Banking Partner’, Alliance aims to be the main banker of choice for businesses at every stage—be it a small business that is just starting or a larger company that wants to expand. Alliance helps businesses with industry-specific needs. MSME who have yet to show bankability and have limited resources can start building creditworthiness by opening a business current account on Digital SME.

Alliance Bank also offers various non-financing solutions such as Alliance BizSmart® Solution, a B2B community portal with preferential rates for advisory services and solutions, and also SupportLokal, an initiative to help local businesses to extend their marketing reach both online and through on-the-ground joint promotions and events.

As the smaller businesses grow, they would then require more complex products that can then be recommended to them through a relationship manager.

If you’re a Malaysian business looking to jump on the transformation journey with Alliance Digital SME, reach out!

Or visit to learn more about our financing and non-financing solutions.

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