AYA bank embraces digital transformation with Microsoft cloud

YOMA BANK, one of the largest private banks in Myanmar, plans to focus on providing digital products to millions of people in Myanmar , according to Hal Bosher, the bank’s chief executive officer. Bosher said in an exclusive interview that digital p


AYA BANK, the second-largest private bank in Myanmar, is tapping software giant Microsoft to bring in cloud technology aimed at boosting staff productivity and improving their services to customers.

Myint Zaw, managing director of AYA Bank, said that the Microsoft Office 365 software package will help the bank achieve its ambitious goals.

“As the fastest-moving bank in Myanmar, we are committed to embracing global standards, and the constant improvement of customer experiences. So, this is a very exciting moment for us, to be partnering with Microsoft to embrace cloud with Office 365 as we take the next step in our digital transformation journey,” he said after the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft Myanmar on Wednesday.

Myint Zaw said the bank started working with Microsoft three years ago, and the discussions for signing the agreement to reach a more advanced level of cooperation began early this year.

Established in 2010, AYA Bank has 234 branches serving 1.4 million customers. As of September 2017, the bank had 4.7 trillion kyats in customer deposits and 150 billion kyats in shareholders’ equity. The top 100 depositors represent about 6 per cent of total deposits, underlining the public’s confidence in the bank, Myint Zaw said.

“We can rest assured that Office 365 will scale with us as we take on more staff, or create new product lines,” he said. The partnership with Microsoft was merely the first step by the bank in embarking on its much-needed digital transformation, he added.

Minn Wint Oo, deputy managing director and chief technology officer of AYA Bank, said the partnership was particularly aimed at helping the bank’s employees to provide better services, more quickly, to its customers.

“We expect all the operations to become faster than ever, as every single application can be accessible from anywhere in the country. Thanks to Microsoft’s cloud technology, we believe our internal operations will be faster than ever, resulting in our providing better services to our customers,” he said.

Sonia Kabir, managing director for Microsoft Myanmar, Bangladesh, Laos, Nepal and Bhutan, said digital transformation initiatives like the partnership with AYA Bank could make a big impact on Myanmar’s economy. “We have seen large reductions in the poverty rate, and the opportunity to improve women’s workplace participation and raise GDP growth, creating opportunities for both mobile and digital banking. This is a promising development for Myanmar,” she said.

Kabir said mobile usage has significantly increased in only a few short years, which is creating demand for mobility and mobile banking services.

Sook Hoon Cheah, president of Microsoft Southeast Asia New Markets, said digital transformation would improve people’s daily lives in Myanmar.

“This [agreement] seems to be a very plain statement but the implication is very profound. We are happy to play a role in bringing AYA Bank and Myanmar’s banking industry to the next level of excellence,” she said.

According to Cheah, Microsoft has been “empowering Myanmar banks to deliver new value and connected experiences, helping them to thrive and win greater loyalty” from customers in the digital age.

 “We believe technology to be a strong democratising force for good: capabilities previously only accessible to the largest multinationals are now available to even small and medium-sized organisations all around the world,” she said.

In 2017, financial services that fully embraced digital transformation achieved 13 per cent to 20 per cent improvements in profit margins, productivity, customer advocacy, customer acquisition rates, and revenue from new products and services. 

Businesses expect to add 70 per cent more in customer acquisition rate by 2020, according to figures from Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific.