The loan service from Indonesia’s first fully-digital bank is run on a ‘startup mindset’
At first glance, Amar Bank looks just like any other bank. Upon entering its branch office in Central Jakarta, we see a counter with two officers behind it, desks for customer service officers and a security guard watching the door.
But once e27 talks with Director Vishal Tulsian, we find out what makes it different.
“We aspire to become the first fully-digital bank in Indonesia,” he says.
“[The] banking model is changing. In today’s world, people are no longer required to visit branches with the advance of technology. The last time we visited a banking branch must have been a long time ago,” he adds.
Owned by Toleram Group, Amar Bank’s core services consist of transactions, money deposits and loans, which go under the brand Tunaiku.
Tunaiku is a fintech product that offers individual unsecured loan for the middle-class segment in Indonesia. Through a website, customers can apply for loans at their convenience. The company has also developed its own algorithm that allows speedy responses to assess applications and disperse loans.
“In today’s market, the available loan services cater to either those under IDR2 million (US$142), or those beyond IDR10 million (US$714), while there is a huge gap for the market between those two,” Tulsian explains the target market that Tunaiku is aiming.
Tunaiku holds a unique position in Amar Bank’s organisational structure. The easiest way to define Tunaiku is as a ‘startup within a large organisation’.
The decision for this model was taken when Toleram Group founders noticed the gap between startups and large organisations – how come startups succeed in disrupting market while large organisation, with all their resources, fail?
“Startups focus on opportunity gaps, while large organisations tend to focus on performance gaps … Startups build their success based on their failure, while larger organisations usually have their own standards to maintain,” Tulsian explains.
“This is why Toleram Group assigned a completely separate set of people with a startup mindset to run this part of the business, in order to fulfill that gap between startups and large organisations … Startup is more than just an ‘outfit’, it is more of a mindset,” he adds.
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Living up the startup mindset
How does one operate a startup within a large organisation?
There are several characteristics that become a startup’s advantage compared to large organisations, with two of them being experimentation and risk-taking.
In order to achieve that mindset, Tunaiku began by building a company culture that resembles a startup’s. Aside from hiring employees aged between 25-35 years old, and implementing an open-office plan, especially for Tunaiku’s division in the building, it also encourages taking challenges and risks as a way to grow.
The company’s Human Resource officer Ratna Julia Sahlan even holds the title of ‘Culture Champion’, incorporating fun element in fostering growth.
“On birthdays, instead of just giving employees cakes, we also challenge them to do something that is good for themselves, but they have always been afraid to do. [Things] like doing stand-up comedy for an employee who fears public speaking,” she explains.
The team also holds routine book club meetings and sharing sessions where employees share non-work related skills such as self-defense or scuba diving.
New employees also have to do a role-play performance to describe the company’s values.
“On the first day, companies usually explain their values to their new hires, but this rarely sticks. When they do it in a role-play, they can have a better understanding of these values,” Tulsian explains.
“We also discover that they can be more creative than we thought,” Sahlan adds.
In relation to funding, Amar Bank is the sole investor in Tunaiku.
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Apart from Jakarta, Tunaiku and Amar Bank is also available in Surabaya, where the company was first started.
In the city, they are doing a partnership with local companies by setting up a desk in their factories where workers can easily learn about Tunaiku’s services.
“For a certain market, having a person that they can talk to … it is a necessary step to take in order to introduce this service,” Tulsian explains.
Tunaiku is also looking to diversify its fintech service.
“We are also developing a second fintech product for small and medium enterprises,” he says.
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