Mobile banking services provider, Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank’s meteoric rise was not a walk in the park.
Its CEO Jojo Malolos explains it aptly. “Our secret to success has been some of our earlier failure,” he said genuinely.
Wing’s success was largely due to its ability to quickly and effectively reinvent its business model by introducing agent banking after failing earlier to promote e-wallet among Cambodians in 2009.
A decade later that corporate risk eventually reshaped the Kingdom’s mobile banking system and Wing added a new dimension to the financial industry - not only moving money but also creating employment.
“So, Wing went through numerous challenges at the end of 2011 and the ANZ [Royal Bank] sold Wing to the Royal Group which turned around the business by introducing agent banking. We learned from their past mistake,” Malolos told The Post.
Now, Malolos proudly talks about Wing’s achievements in the once unexplored territory. A home-grown company, Wing has gradually and steadily become a household name, after successfully introducing mobile banking to thousands of the unbanked and under banked population across the country.
Today, over 6,000 agents in 25 provinces cater the needs of any Cambodian customer, who can easily transfer money to people at any part of the Kingdom in a secure and cost effective manner.
Wing boasts a diverse clientele: about 300 corporate customers, over 100 factories uses its services for payroll, three million customers carryout transactions on a monthly basis and it has one million registered account holders – these statistics speak for themselves!
“Today our success hinges on us addressing the needs of the unbanked and underbanked, 75 per cent of the population’s financial needs were often not addressed by the commercial banks and we addressed their needs."
“The catalyst of our success has been managing the needs and requirements of the unbanked and underbanked [population]. Today we see a flurry of activities, we pay bills, buy airtime, pay loans, do merchant banking and transfer of money,” said Malolos.
The company is now venturing into more extensive financial services such as outbound remittance, loan repayment to more microfinance institutions, and partnership with diverse categories of merchants.
However, agent banking is likely to remain as Wing’s core operation due to the steady increase of Wing merchants across the nation each year.
After enjoying a brisk growth this year, Wing will continue to focus on expanding its international remittance and merchant payment segments to sustain its business “momentum” next year, amid competition in the domestic mobile banking sector.
“In 2019, there will be more innovations and expansion in our international money transfer service and merchant payment system – all these were introduced this year and we will continue to focus on improving and refining them. This will be the only way to maintain our growth momentum next year,” said Malolos.
As Wing promoted mobile money and electronic payment services, the company also created a small pocket of entrepreneurs along the way, who now enjoy better income.
“We have created entrepreneurship,” he said, adding that each agent could easily earn about $500 to $800 a month compared to their previous meager monthly earnings of about $100 to $150."
“We have partly succeeded in bridging the rural-urban divide. We are committed in bringing every Cambodian into the mainstream financial system and in some ways improved their lives,” he added.
The bank currently has more than 3 million active users who process in between 6 to 7 million transactions on a monthly basis. Last year, Wing's annual transactions hit more than $10 billion which amounte to 50 per cent of the country's $22 billion gross domestic product.
In line with all these achievements, the specialised bank has unsurprisingly nabbed numerous international awards this year.
It was named “Best Social Impact Bank - Cambodia 2018” by CFI.co and was rewarded “Sustainable Social Enterprise” and “SME Excellence – Growth” at the 2018 Asean Business Awards where Malolos was in attendance to receive the honour.