KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Bank Berhad (Affin Bank) has been recognised as the first Malaysian bank at the Global SME Finance Awards 2021 with an Honorable Mention under the ‘Product Innovation of the Year’ category for the development of its innovative digital flagship mobile app, the SME Colony.
Organised by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum, and endorsed by the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the Global SME Finance Awards was launched in 2018 and is back for the fourth year to celebrate the outstanding achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in delivering exceptional products and services to the SMEs and helping them grow.
Rolled out in 2019, SME Colony is the first SME community-centric mobile app in Malaysia to help SMEs improve business knowledge, enhance financial well-being and expand commercial networking through a digital platform at no cost and no membership prerequisites.
As part of Affin Bank’s Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) efforts in assisting and contributing socially to the development of the SME community, the SME Colony app has been continuously enhanced based on market feedback and will continue to be upgraded in support of Malaysian SMEs.
Affin Bank president and group chief executive officer Datuk Wan Razly Abdullah Wan Ali commented, “This global recognition serves as the epitome of best practices when it comes to delivering a top-notch financial inclusive tool that supports the growth and sustainability of SMEs.
“While enhancing SMEs’ financial literacy and boosting digital adoption remain key priorities for the bank, we aim to continue serving SMEs as their ‘Bank of Choice’ with differentiated products and offerings that are of relevance to SMEs – the backbone of our country’s economic development.”
SME Finance Forum CEO Matthew Gamser said: “Every year we see more and more impressive institutions doing incredible things to help improve SMEs access to finance.
“We see great innovations, we see new opportunities for redressing past imbalances due to gender, age and other inequities, and we see new ways to put the customer first and ensure that financing is responsible and truly beneficial. The 2021 competition brings us more of the same – bigger innovations, bigger achievements, and bigger potential.”
The SME Colony app brings SMEs together across diverse industries to meaningfully engage and collaborate while enriching their knowledge through credible resources and expanding their business. The app also offers products and services that go beyond typical banking services to bolster their growth, including AFFINWRKFZ and AFFINGEM, as the Bank’s cornerstone for SMEs’ long-term business resilience.
GPFI co-chair Anna Zelentsova said, “The G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion is very pleased to see the innovations demonstrated by these competitors.
“They are helping tackle the short-term challenges of Covid-19 while encouraging the digitalisation of micro, small and medium enterprises that also will make them more finance-worthy and competitive over the longer-term. As co-chair of the GPFI I am very pleased to see the SME Finance Forum’s annual competition continuing to bring out the best in the global SME finance Industry.”