With the continued growth of e-commerce in the Philippines, coupled with a shifting consumer mindset about banking services, the opportunity for digital banks to corner underserved markets is immense.
According to a McKinsey study, around three-quarters of the country’s population has internet access, while mobile penetration is nearly universal.
GoTyme Bank, a partnership between Singapore-based digital banking group Tyme Group, and Philippine conglomerate Gokongwei Group, is intent on capitalising on these developments.
The bank is following the success of TymeBank in South Africa, with cloud banking platform Mambu behind both companies’ digital infrastructure.
Frontier Enterprise spoke with Christopher Bennett, Chief Technology Officer of GoTyme Bank, and William Dale, Regional Vice President APAC of Mambu, to appraise their companies’ technology partnership.
With the bankable population in the Philippines projected to increase by 30% from 65 million in 2022 to 85 million in 2030, and with the rising number of digital-savvy consumers, digital banking platforms are becoming increasingly important, as per McKinsey’s study.
GoTymeBank CTO Christopher Bennett has remarked that the timing for a launch in the Philippines could not be better.
“The Philippines’ banking landscape is transitioning from predominantly large-scale banks utilising physical infrastructure with long-term technical debt to more nimble banks starting from scratch, making the best use of new technology approaches,” he said.
Bennett expressed that the opportunity to launch into a growing market under a new licence framework and work with a “progressive” regulator is an excellent opportunity for GoTymeBank. The new framework offers various benefits such as e-KYC using biometrics and reliable real-time cloud infrastructure, which can contribute to the evolution of these opportunities.
Indeed, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, has encouraged the entry of new digital banking players, recognising that the key to financial inclusion is the transformation of digital payments.
Moreover, in its latest Consumer Expectation Survey, the BSP reported that consumer confidence has improved for the first quarter of 2023, and will remain favourable for the second quarter, as well as the rest of the year.
For GoTyme Bank, it was an obvious choice to select Mambu as its technology partner, given the lessons learned from TymeBank in South Africa.
“TymeBank in South Africa upgraded its core banking system to Mambu’s cloud-native banking platform after experiencing barriers to growth with its original technology stack. With Mambu’s composable architecture at the core, both TymeBank and GoTyme are able to collaborate with a range of different partners and vendors, to build and launch products and features that best suit each market,” noted Mambu’s William Dale.
Meanwhile, GoTyme Bank CTO Christopher Bennett, who also serves as the Head of Architecture for TymeGlobal, shared some of his experiences in South Africa.
“We were able to scale rapidly in South Africa, and so we had to react quickly to meet that scale. In GoTyme, we’ve incorporated these lessons back into our design from day one, which includes significant observability and alerting, supported by tools such as Datadog,” Bennett recalled.
The GoTyme Bank CTO added that they were able to benefit from their evolving security capability from day one, ensuring that they have controls in place to respond to existing and emerging threats.
“We have a whole suite of tools and processes to support this. Some protect the customer and prevent installation on a compromised phone. Others operate at the back end to review activities and transactions to spot unusual behaviour and block the account,” he said.
Bennett stressed that other customer actions, such as resetting their PIN, require biometric checks like facial scans to ensure that the account holder is indeed making the change.
GoTyme Bank, uses a variety of third-party platforms, including Mambu, Actimize, Pega, Daon, and wso2, to create platforms that can support multiple entities and countries. The bank takes advantage of the global scale of these platforms to provide support to its customers in different parts of the world, said Bennett.
Moreover, GoTyme benefits from Tyme’s own banking integration platform, which is based on AWS, and can be customised to meet local market needs. This provides the bank with real-time insights across its various businesses, the CTO noted.
Meanwhile, Mambu is one of the key drivers behind GoTyme Bank, as it allows for multiple integrations with specialised services through its API-led approach. Mambu’s William Dale explained that their platform has interchangeable “building blocks” that allow for changes or updates to be directly delivered into product development, reducing downtime for end users.
“Mambu’s SaaS cloud native core banking platform at the heart of GoTyme Bank’s digital banking solution enables the bank to launch new products and services at speed and scale as its customer base grows,” he added.
Banking on the future
After their successful rollout in the Philippines, Tyme is now aiming to expand its services to other parts of Asia.
“With Mambu’s cloud banking platform, we want to see our digital banking concept have a positive impact on financial inclusion across the Asia-Pacific region,” GoTyme’s Christopher Bennett said.
Realising that everything the bank is building today will be considered legacy in a short span of time, Bennett said it is crucial to constantly try new technology, because that will be the only way to keep up with customer expectations.
“Being a modular design has meant that we can also test new ideas quickly and at low cost. Currently, we’re testing internally a number of different AI use cases with ChatGPT, and we’re always looking for new ways of using technology,” he concluded.