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Grab and others see big chance in ASEAN digital banking

Opportunities to serve unbanked populations abound post-COVID, executives say

Grab Financial says Southeast Asia's large unbanked population represents a big opportunity amid increasing demand for digital services during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

JAKARTA -- Southeast Asia is home to one of the world's largest unbanked populations, but the rapidly increasing digitalization of everyday life as a result of COVID-19 means there is a golden opportunity for digital banks and finance in the region, a top Grab Financial Group executive said Tuesday.

Speaking at Nikkei's Innovative Asia forum in Singapore, Reuben Lai, senior managing director at the financial arm of tech company Grab, said that the pandemic has brought about "unprecedented opportunities" across the region in digital finance, with much "white space" across various sectors from digital payments, lending, insurance and digital banking.

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