The Digital Banker is excited to launch the seminal Global SME Banking Innovation Awards 2023, the first of its kind assessment program designed to honour and celebrate the world’s preeminent SME banking players. The SME Banking Innovation Awards are organised with a view to recognise the institutional excellence and business achievements of the most pioneering and trail-blazing SME banking players operating in the industry today, while establishing objective global benchmarks for outstanding performance and innovation. SME Banks must demonstrate capabilities and competencies, which are unmatched and transformative in nature, redefining engagement models with SMEs and providing cutting-edge product portfolio and solution sets to empower SME growth.

If you identify your institution as an industry leader that is pushing boundaries and driving unrivalled innovation, we welcome you to send in your nominations for the respective awards. Awards winners will be announced and celebrated across The Digital Banker’s global media channels, magazine, and multi-media partner outlets in February 2023. The submission deadline for all entries is 18:00 GMT, 9th December 2022.

Why Nominate

SME Banking is fast-emerging as a key growth driver for conventional players and disruptors alike given the dearth of effective and targeted propositions that help nurture and empower an often-underserved customer segment. This became quite evident during the pandemic that saw micro-SMEs, small businesses and medium-sized enterprises struggle due to restrictions and general market uncertainty, which necessitated government directed refinancing and rescheduling of debt obligations. Importantly, now as we transition to a post-Covid environment, SME businesses are well placed to expand and identify new business development opportunities as they seek banking partners that can facilitate diversification of their funding base, assist with cash flow management and help secure more structured products tailored to support their strategic objectives.

Certainly, financial institutions are cognisant of these realities and are geared towards supporting SMEs grappling with today’s multi-faceted challenges including a rising interest rate environment, continued supply chain and dislocation, inflation and rising energy costs. Innovation will remain the central pivot in maintaining key SME relationships as adverse operating conditions test the capability and resources of SME banking teams globally.

Who can apply?

It has become imperative that various players seek to move beyond traditional business models and conventional engagement platforms to deepen SME banking relationships and enrich SMEs through value-creation that helps address their respective pain-points, enables successful customer journeys and build partnerships that transcend traditional banking relationships in a wholistic and inclusive manner.

Key Findings

Technology powering the next wave of growth

Intuitively, banks are also looking to expand their digital footprint at their physical branches to complement and ensure consistency of service across channels while optimising their channel strategy. A case in point is Scotiabank’s e-Teller initiative launched in 14 key markets in South America including the Caribbean. The e-Teller system is effectively a screen next to a human teller, where the customer can access his/her account using a biometrics scan and begin to avail in-branch services. In Chile in particular e-Teller was the first to leverage facial recognition enabling customers to avoid having to resort to their physical debit cards or PIN pads in order to gain access.

Streamlining account opening processes by leveraging digital identification

On the account opening and customer onboarding front “Kept” by Krungsri Bank (Thailand) stood ahead of its peers by introducing a simple, speedy, and paperless onboarding experience that is self-service driven. Launched in July, 2020 new-to-bank customers are in a position to open their first digital savings accounts on-the-go within 5 minutes without the requirement of a wet signature as identity verification is completed by leveraging Thailand’s blockchain based National Digital ID infrastructure (NDID).

Reimagining the mobile banking experience to drive customer engagement

Financial institutions realise the importance and value of maintaining customer-focus on a superior digital CX to drive client advocacy. A case in point is Canada’s CIBC that has assiduously incorporated user feedback so that internal project teams overseeing new product launches or service enhancements can finetune as needed. The bank extensively utilises market research, business intelligence and customer reviews & UX research data points and ideation workshops to address challenges in realising successful customer journeys around acquisition, onboarding, servicing, communication and money management .

Developing pandemic- ready solutions

Another critical priority for financial institutions across all markets has been the ability to digitally support customers during the challenging Covid-19 period particularly as businesses and consumers alike struggled with the lockdowns and ensuing waves of the novel coronavirus. A standout is U.S. Bank in the United States that saw an opportunity to service customers effectively through its COVID DIY assistant program platform that handled more than 51 thousand requests via the bank’s online banking and mobile app facilities for its Consumer Loan, Line and Lease customers.

Digital CX Awards Past Winners


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Past Judges

Participating Institutions

Submission Guidelines

Download Submission guidelines

Judging Criteria

Belief Statement

With co-judges from KPMG, EY, PWC, Deloitte, Forrester and other instrumental subject matter experts– endorsement for winners is globally acclaimed. They are also the world’s most authoritative and transparently judged private wealth awards.

Our judging process follows a numerical and quantitative methodology with specific weighting given to; digital innovation, digital ecosystems, customer experience, financial performance and leadership strategy.

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User Experience
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    Do I Have to Submit a Nomination?

    All awards participants are required to submit nominations through The Digital Banker’s online submission portal. The portal is where you will find the questions that need to be answered in order to be considered in the current year’s program. Institutions will be unable to participate in our awards programs without a fully complete submission(s)

    Can One Project/Initiative Be Considered for Multiple Awards?

    You may nominate one project or initiative across numerous awards. Please note however, these submissions are likely to compete with one and other. You must submit separate entries for each award.

    Are There Any Costs Involved in Making A Submission?

    There are no costs involved in making a submission.

    May I Submit More Than One Nomination?

    The Digital Banker does not place a limit on the number of awards you can nominate for. Please note,

    If I cannot Access The Judging Portal, May I submit My Entries Via Email?

    If your institution has firewall restrictions and you are unable to submit entries via our portal, you may request for the PDF questionnaire.