Commerce Bank Online Banking App – Akulaku acquired Bank Neo Commerce and gained more than 10 million new account holders on the Neobank app since its launch in March 2021.
In 2021, as Southeast Asia gradually normalized life in times of pandemic, Akulaku launched the Neobank digital banking app under Bank Neo Commerce (BNC), formerly Bank Yudha Bhakti.
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Based on app store reviews, Neobank has received generally positive feedback. User feedback highlights how BNC’s digital banking app and services are easy to use, have no administrative or transaction fees, and have attractive deposit rates. The reviews also express how the services have been helpful to people in financial difficulty during the pandemic. How did a local bank, Bank Neo Commerce, backed by Akulaku, an internationalized Internet company, gain such favor from Indonesian customers?
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Since its founding in 2014, the company has created a range of financial services, including digital finance, e-commerce, digital investment, and insurance brokerage, and built a recognizable brand.
After accumulating knowledge about the market and customer requirements, the Akulaku team realized the importance of providing comprehensive financial services in a single application, and the business potential of doing so.
In Southeast Asia, banking services are still inaccessible to many people. Traditional banks tend to have higher fees, tedious processes, and long wait times. Deposit and balance minimums were too high for a large number of consumers, leaving a significant proportion unbanked. According to Google, Temasek, Bain & Company’s 2019 report on the future of digital financial services in Southeast Asia, more than 92 million adults are unbanked in Indonesia. Another 42 million belong to the sub-bank category, a segment that does not have access to credit cards. These consumers are also underinsured and do not use long-term savings products.
Akulaku saw digital banking as a means to increase access to financial services and provide more services through a single account. Offering a full suite of profitable services not only seemed ideal for many customers, especially small and micro-retailers, but also acted as an effective mechanism to increase long-term user retention. In addition, Akulaku was able to assess each individual’s credit risk through its users’ spending habits and behavioral data collected from payments and personal wealth management actions, improving risk control and closing the gap in small-scale credit evaluation.
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This effort to create a comprehensive suite of digital banking services ultimately led Akulaku to acquire Bank Yudha Bhakti in 2019. The institution was later renamed Bank Neo Commerce in September 2020.
A fintech startup taking a stake in a traditional commercial bank is unusual, but ultimately a strategic move. Akulaku has served nearly 20 million customers in three Southeast Asian markets: Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. The company’s annual transaction volume in 2021 is expected to exceed $4 billion as the pandemic accelerated user adoption.
In March 2021, BNC launched Neobank, promoting free transfers and Neo Now, a savings account with attractive daily interest rates. Since the app’s debut, the bank’s monthly transaction volume has increased by more than 10,000% to over $200 million. According to BNC’s third quarter 2021 financial report, the bank’s total assets in September saw a 41% increase to around $600 million. Tjandra Gunawan, Chairman of BNC, also shared that the number of Neobank accounts exceeded 10 million, an increase of 14,000% since March.
In December 2021, BNC raised IDR 2.5 trillion (USD 180 million) by issuing 1.92 billion shares at IDR 1,300 per share. The bank’s market capitalization reached IDR 24 trillion ($1.7 billion) and successfully attracted participation from major secondary market funds including JP Morgan, Citibank and CGS-CIMB Securities.
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All this is just the beginning. Akulaku’s vision is to serve 50 million users in ten countries and regions by 2025, and build a new virtual credit and debit payment system network for sub-banks and merchants. In addition to its growth through various customer acquisition methods, Akulaku also conducts R&D in artificial intelligence, big data, and other fintech-related technologies. These developments are intended to improve risk management as well as assist in trading and accurate decision making. The company plans to build a digital banking and banking-as-a-service ecosystem in the coming years while exploring additional fintech solutions.
With a population of 260 million, the Indonesian market has become a competitive place for many players from Southeast Asia. Akulaku has a significant first mover advantage in its local market. Akulaku, which means “all sold” in Bahasa Indonesia, reached the first milestone in wide-scale adoption and continues to contribute to the fintech space. University is over! And adult life is a lot to think about, from new jobs to new places to live. As you plan your new adventure, let us help you handle the financial part.
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