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Business trends

Banks look to in-house strengths to battle fintech

Lenders stress reaching unbanked at Innovative Asia forum

Henry Ma, WeBank's chief information officer, left, speaks at the Nikkei Forum Innovative Asia in Singapore on Jan. 17 as DBS Chief Executive Piyush Gupta looks on.

SINGAPORE -- Conventional banks may lack the nimbleness of fintech companies, but they are increasingly adopting leading-edge tech innovations to meet the challenge from the newcomers, bankers told the Nikkei Forum Innovative Asia in Singapore on Thursday.

Singapore's DBS Group, the largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets, is among the established financial services companies trying to prove wrong critics who say traditional lenders are held back by the weight of their large systems. "We try to convert the sheep into the wolf," said Piyush Gupta, DBS' chief executive.

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