YANGON — Myanmar’s largest private bank, Kanbawza (KBZ), was named Myanmar Bank of the Year for 2018 by The Banker, a service of the Financial Times, for its leading role in the country’s financial sector by using new digital technologies.
It is the sixth consecutive year the bank has landed the honor, making it the only financial institution in Myanmar to win the prize. The award was accepted by the bank’s chairman, U Aung Ko Win, in London on Thursday.
The Banker selected one bank in each country based on the financial institutions’ performance, delivery of innovation, added customer value and service to society.
The other 151 winners included the US’s BBVA for Bank of the Year in the Americas, and Singapore’s DBS Bank for Global Bank of the Year.
The Banker said one of the greatest challenges KBZ has faced was financial inclusion, with just 10 percent of Myanmar’s population holding a bank account.
“Recognizing the mobile-first potential of the customer base, KBZ launched a digital wallet to enable users to send cashless payments and withdraw funds through authorized agents,” it said.
KBZ launched KBZPay, a digital wallet stored in a smartphone app, this year to makes purchasing everyday items as well as sending and managing money more convenient and secure.
In the three months since KBZPay launched, more than 450,000 accounts have been registered, according to the bank.
The award adds to a growing list of wins for KBZ Bank in 2018 including Best Domestic Trade Finance Bank in Myanmar and Mobile Banking Initiative of the Year in Myanmar at the Asian Banking and Finance awards in Singapore. The bank currently has more than 500 branches across the country.