The International Finance Corporation and the Monetary Authority of Singapore have teamed up to create the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), a system which aims to “facilitate broader adoption of financial technology (FinTech) innovation and development in ASEAN, while enhancing economic cooperation in the region,” according to press release.
The initiative reportedly sprung from discussions the IFC, MAS, and the ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA) had made and, in addition to helping evaluate “sandboxes” in which banks and fintech firms can develop digital finance and inclusion solutions, it aims to help build a network where financial institutions, fintech companies, and regulators can address potential compliance, cross-border compatibility, and connectivity issues.
This is purportedly the first step for the initiative and the ABA will likely see a larger role in it in the future.
Here’s what Vivek Pathak, IFC’s director for East Asia and the Pacific, had to say:
“The initiative builds on IFC’s efforts to deepen access to finance for underserved segments of the population…In today’s world it is feasible to reach these segments of the population at a fraction of the cost and at a speed that was not feasible earlier. New business models resulting from digital transformation of financial services and FinTech adoption in the region can create new markets that will lead to a higher level of prosperity. The end desired state is for financial institutions to be able to embrace innovation and collaboration more easily, and for innovations to spread more easily across the region. AFIN will enable banks, microfinance institutions, and other financial services providers to innovate across channels, products, and processes. Such innovation can unlock opportunities to better serve their clients, address unmet needs in their markets, and achieve sustainability through lower costs and more efficient service delivery.”
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