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The Great 2020 Reset: What Lies Ahead For The Finance, Banking & Insurance Industry In Southeast Asia In 2021?

Isentia uncovered social media discussions and mainstream media mentions of brands in the industry across six prominent markets in Southeast Asia

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has become the biggest challenge for banks and financial institutions. A shift in consumer needs, habits, spending, and future uncertainty compelled insurance companies to adapt their operations and product portfolio. 

To understand the changing landscape of banking, insurance, and financial services in 2021, Isentia uncovered social media discussions and mainstream media mentions of brands in the industry across six prominent markets in Southeast Asia – Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

Top Banking and Financial Services Brands 

Drawing from media analytics data obtained from mainstream media coverage and social conversations in the last quarter of 2020 (i.e. between October 1, 2020, and November 15, 2020), Isentia uncovered top most mentioned brands of banking, insurance, and financial services in the region. 

Leading on the media coverage are JP Morgan Chase in Singapore (2,105 mainstream articles mentions ), Maybank in Malaysia (287 articles), Vietcombank (4,081 articles), Banco de Oro (BDO) in The Philippines (2,043 articles), and AXA in both Indonesia (11,162 articles) and Thailand markets (118 articles). 

In the social media world, Barclays in Singapore (17,011 buzzes), Maybank in Malaysia (41,732 buzzes), Airpay in Vietnam (20,336 buzzes), Bank of The Philippine Islands (15,905 buzzes), AXA in Indonesia (98,688 buzzes), and SCB Bank in Thailand (26,214 buzzes) have dominated the conversations in each respective markets. 

Most Mentioned Relief Programmes from Insurance Companies and Banks During the COVID-19 Crisis 

Insurance companies and banks across the Southeast Asia markets raced to provide several relief initiatives to their customers. Prominently highlighted in Indonesia and Thailand, insurance companies focus was on Health and Wellness. Mandiri AXA General Insurance (MAGI) and AXA Financial Indonesia (AFI) launched additional service for customers in a free teleconsultation programme with psychologists. Similarly, Garda Medika from Asuransi Astra hosted a webinar on maintaining stamina and immunity; while Thailand’s Cigna Insurance previously held “Cigna Stress Care Virtual Run 2020” back in October. 

The insurance brands in the Philippines inclined more into the Finances and Health area. The biggest highlight in mainstream media was Sun Life’s partnership with Rocher, a frontrunner in personalised healthcare to help Filipinos secure both their finances and health.

“The emerging markets of Southeast Asia, while having the most potential and opportunity to become growth markets, are also highly dynamic and oftentimes difficult to navigate in terms of banking, finance, insurance, and even e-commerce,” explained Lady Ochel Espinosa, Isentia Regional Insights Manager for SEA Emerging Markets. 

Banks in Vietnam also demonstrated their social responsibility as Vietcombank reduced lending interest rates to support businesses. The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) donated 8 billion Vietnamese dong to support those affected by floods. 

Best Practices on Transforming the Customer Experience through Digital Acceleration in Emerging Markets 

Containing the potential spread of COVID-19 cases via contactless transactions was undeniably important. Banks in markets like the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, responded to the needs by working closely with their partners to provide digital and cashless payments. 

JazzyPay partnered with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to enable millions of Filipinos to make secure online payments to essential businesses. In Indonesia, Asuransi Adira Dinamika (Adira Insurance) cooperated with insurance marketplace platform Lifepal.co.id to provide car insurance (Autocillin) and motorbike insurance (Motopro) products through Lifepal.co.id. In Thailand, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has become the first bank outside Japan that joined forces with Toyota to build a Digital Lifestyle Ecosystem through ‘Toyota Wallet Powered by SCB’. 

“It’s essential to build a bank its customers rely on by updating banks’ financial performance and operational efficiency. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered customers’ move to cashless payments and online transactions. Digitalisation is no longer an optional strategy for banks,” Nhi Tran, Isentia’s Senior Insights Manager, concluded. 

“Singapore has been at the forefront of digital transformation and adoption of e-payments. Its robust digital payments systems offered ready avenues for contactless transactions as consumers became more cautious at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic” Jenna Wang, Isentia Senior Insights Manager said. 

Sustainable Finance is the Emerging Trend in the Philippines 

The other banks recorded commitments in sustainable finance. Land Bank bagged two awards for its outstanding development projects on climate financing and digital account opening at the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) Development Awards 2020. Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) won the Outstanding Sustainable Project Financing Award during the Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards and Certification Ceremony in Germany for funding Imperial Homes Corporation’s Solar-Powered Resilient Housing Community. 

Positive Economic Outlook in Vietnam compared to other ASEAN countries

Thanks to the excellent practice of handling the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam enjoyed a more positive economic outlook than the other ASEAN markets. Digital journalism coverage in Vietnam featured banks’ business performances, stock prices, dividends, and CSR activities. Vietcombank’s profit continued to lead the banking industry in the first nine months of 2020. Techcombank also announced a pre-tax profit of 10.7 trillion and revenue of 19.3 trillion. Showing positive progress in its business activities, asset value, and net interest income, VietinBank also proactively settled all VAMC outstanding bonds in less than two years instead of five years as planned. 

To view the full report and analysis, click here and here to view the full brand rankings.

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