Digital banking in Asia Pacific: What we can expect to happen in 2020
By Myles Bertrand


The financial services industry is undergoing a period of transformative change globally, and the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is no exception.

Over 2020, as digital banking becomes more mainstream across APAC, we expect to see a specific focus on the following areas:


This is a trend that has been gaining pace over the last few years, and we are now seeing the customer put at the centre of business models and decision-making. The entire concept of a return to relationship banking is something that many banks are starting to embrace with their digital offerings.

The AI space in this area will be very interesting to watch as individuals get what they need, when they need it and how they want it.


This is the power shift in the market, with a realisation that independent tech-led collaborations or bank-led collaborations are not going to work. There must be alignment from strategy through to value realisation in the entire ecosystem for collaborative models to work.

As this develops, the support to the customer experience and the ability to deliver better products faster, and at a lower cost, will be key.


In 2020 we’re going to hear a lot more about composable business architectures. This is how the market will deliver a framework for collaboration in order to support customer-centricity.  We also call it ‘composable banking’ which refers to the quick and flexible assembly of independent systems.

Having an architecture where everyone is ‘the best’ at what they do, but with an easy integration that allows banks to build solutions and products for an unknown future is going to be a big differentiator.

Open banking and immediate payments

The move to open banking is a trend that is set to continue expanding and a more focussed lens on this is expected in the coming few years.

This will mean a peak in the number of fintech offerings and the options available to consumers. The banks that support these trends and can launch them quickly through something like a composable banking model will have a clear market advantage.

The acceleration of immediate payments will also have an impact on the market as ‘real-time payments’ become the global norm.

AI, Machine Learning and Cloud Technology

As consumers become more and more reliant on smartphones for their banking, AI products and solutions are becoming increasingly popular. On the cloud side, we already see ecosystems built around platforms such as Mambu that enable banks to move to a complete SaaS model and therefore have a composable ecosystem at a predictable cost base, with future-proof business models.

AI is only just warming up and I see this becoming more immersive in the customer journey, allowing bespoke experiences while allowing the banks tighter control of risk and cost, providing a more predictable and sustainable banking model.

Machine learning, on the other hand, is at a much earlier stage in relation to the banking industry.

In the coming few years I expect to see the continuation of operational automation, however, I believe there are several areas where this is yet to really make an impact.

Capitalizing on the digital revolution

Digital banking is set to grow exponentially over the next 12 to 24 months across APAC, and around the world. The first movers in the top tiers have already launched their ‘speedboats’ and are seeing the benefits in terms of innovation, time-to-market and enhanced customer experience, and this is leading to serious discussions about rolling out the technology to the wider bank and moving legacy portfolios across.

To be competitive, banks need to be able to roll out products and services at a rapid pace, adding new features to platforms, while simultaneously enhancing existing ones. This kind of agility is next to impossible to achieve with most institutions’ legacy systems.

However, composable banking architecture can provide the opportunity for organisations to create a dynamic platform with intuitive, responsive features that can be quickly and continuously updated.

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