Prince Bank CEO Honn Sorachna shares with The Post how the financial institution’s client-focused parallel approaches – digital strategy and physical expansion – will serve the increasing needs of its growing clientele.
How has digital banking contributed to Prince Bank’s rapid customer growth?
We have kept growing and will be reaching 10-fold growth by year’s end. It’s all because of our customers – who have continuously supported us – that this has been possible.
Our customer-centric digital banking products have played a vital role in contributing to this phenomenal growth.
We will continue to launch new products and services to fulfil and exceed the banking needs of our customers, both in traditional and digital ways.
Our customer-obsession mantra will continue to see us being ahead by continually innovating and developing new features and products to serve their needs and wants.
What were the objectives behind launching the Prince Merchant App and Prince Mobilebiz? Is Prince Bank planning to also strengthen its corporate banking segment, and who is your target?
We will be launching these two mobile apps to further help our corporate customers digitalise their businesses, improve their operations and management efficiency, and better connect their external and internal operations, especially during the pandemic where working offsite has become a norm.
For most business customer app scenarios, these two products can already achieve far better efficiency.
For large corporate customers, we have also actively looked at their cash management, supply chain and trade to design financial products which will be launched in the future.
For business banking, our goal is to build a digital banking ecosystem with more powerful digital platforms and tools to better connect and empower customers to help them continue to strengthen their digital capabilities, innovate business models and service experience, reduce operational costs and risks, and enhance market competitiveness, to realise the sustainable development of high quality.
What are the key features of these new apps and how will they help in providing convenient and seamless payment experiences for your clients?
The Prince Merchant App provides retail customers with online cashier management tools, allowing merchants to manage large and complex organisations according to their business needs, and configure multi-level branch administrators and cashier staff.
You can download and print the QR code for payment yourself and post it in the right location. Cashiers can generate dynamic QR codes in real time to facilitate customer payment and confirmation.
Both the receiver and the payer can obtain the payment and collection information in real time, and the cashier can query and manage the collection history information for a period for financial verification and reporting.
Our online payment gateway will also be launched soon, which can help merchants realise the integration of online and offline business collection.
With the help of this app, we are about to realise the acquisition of cross-bank and even cross-border business to help merchants increase customer coverage and increase their revenue.
To add on this, QR payment can help to reduce the risk of infection for both the merchant and their customers as it helps avoid contact with cash, which is one source of infection.
How is the digitalisation of your retail banking sector progressing? Are there new projects in the pipeline?
Since Prince Bank officially released the personal digital banking product “Prince Mobile” in October 2019, it has been continuously enhanced with better product functions and improved user experience, with Prince Bank having been rated a “fastest growing digital bank”.
With the current features we have on Prince Mobile, customers can simply access their bank account and perform many types of financial transactions, like make deposits, real-time local funds transfers via Bakong and Retail Pay, mobile top-ups, QR and bill payments – even being able to split bills – and is free for now.
Soon we will launch new functions such as Prince Rewards, online payment gateways, credit cards and cross-border remittances. These will continue to improve the digital banking platform system and gradually open financial service capabilities to ecosystem partners.
How will the bank’s digitalisation efforts contribute to its bottom line in the coming years?
The current Covid-19 pandemic has hastened the digitalisation of many businesses, and ours is no exception. From day one, we set our sights on becoming a leading digital bank to serve the changing needs of Cambodians.
In addition, we plan to advance our digitalisation in three phases:
Build the foundations – The construction and implementation of the key digital platform will be realised in about three years. We will build an ecosystem for individuals and enterprises, and businesses based on the open banking system.
Build the system – Based on the aforementioned, it will take about three years to build a digital-based business system, operation system, marketing system, risk control system and decision-making system, and improve the digital and intelligent level of asset-liability business to reduce customer acquisition and operating costs, expand business and revenue scale to achieve the optimisation and improvement of asset quality and revenue scale.
Promoting openness – In the long term, we will continue to invest in the capacity building of digital banking, open connectivity with full compliance and build an open digital banking ecosystem to connect more partners and business scenarios.
It will make us a more intelligent financial institution using AI.
Is Covid-19 pandemic driving the bank to move further into the digital space to serve customers better?
Even before the Covid-19 outbreak our goal was fixed on being the best digital bank in Cambodia.
It is the bank’s vision and strategy to always enhance and innovate with more digital products to serve the Cambodian market.
Therefore, our robust technological platforms have given us a strong foundation to continuously serve our customers.
With the increase in digital banking worldwide, the sector has witnessed a rise in cyberattacks. How secure is the bank’s IT infrastructure to prevent cybercrime?
Safe and stable operations are the cornerstone of the healthy development of a banking business, especially digital banking.
We have made a large amount of investment in information security every year to track the offensive and defensive frontier of network risks and build a multi-dimensional information security architecture system.
In terms of talent development, technology reserves and operations system, we are also constantly strengthening.
As much as automated security risk mitigations solutions are effective in handling security risks, manual analysis and proactive fine-tuning of existing controls are also paid close attention in ensuring attacks and cyber threats can be mitigated effectively.
Our digital banking solution is developed with one thing in mind, which is to provide safe and secure services to our customers.
Cambodia’s youthful demographic is driving the demand for more digital financial products and services. How is Prince Bank preparing for this?
Cambodia has a relatively high proportion of young people of the new age, the digital natives, who have become and are becoming the mainstream of production and consumption driving the country’s economy.
This group has a high degree of the adoption of new technological advancements and higher requirements on quality besides just being digitally sophisticated. It is a key strategy for us to provide them with quality financial services, and even to attract them to join our open banking ecosystem and become early adopters, communicators, advocates and even developers.
We work with universities and online communities to promote our views on current and future developments in banking, listen to their voices and engage with them.
We will keep going and hope that more young people who are interested in digital finance, digital industry and digital life will join us.
With all these digital products in place, who is your target market in the Kingdom? Are you aiming to grow your retail segment?
We are not only targeting the retail segment, which is obviously an important segment, but we are also prioritising our business partners as well, which is the reason why we have come up with our two soon-to-be-launched mobile banking apps to serve our business partners and merchants to equip them with better technological tools to further support their business and improve their competitiveness in the marketplace.
While Prince Bank is expanding aggressively in the digital sphere, it is also bolstering its physical presence. Currently, it has 31 branches compared to only nine in 2018. Could you please explain the rationale?
While our vision is to be the fastest-growing digital bank in Cambodia, we also aim to provide a seamless experience to our customers covering both online and offline.
Currently, we have 31 branches and one upcoming new branch in Phnom Penh.
As we currently have a total of 67 ATM locations nationwide and with these three soon-to-be-launched mobile banking apps for different segments, we have a strong commitment to expanding our channels and networks to better serve our customers.
We have strictly enforced protection measures across all branches to ensure the safety of our staff and clients.
With these offline measures and our online convenience and security, we aim to serve our customers continuously with their safety in mind.