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Hong Leong Bank Launches Groundbreaking Earned Wage Access Solution in Southeast Asia

3 mins read

4 July 2023

The digital platform provides Malaysians with easy access to their earned salaries, transforming salary payouts for businesses.

In an unprecedented move, Hong Leong Bank (HLB) has partnered with Paywatch Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Paywatch) to introduce the HLB Salary Advance Employer Solution, becoming the first bank in Southeast Asia to support an Earned Wage Access (EWA) solution. This revolutionary platform aims to revolutionize the way businesses manage and provide advanced salary payouts while empowering Malaysians with convenient access to their earned wages.

The HLB Salary Advance Employer Solution is a digital platform that offers employees the ability to withdraw up to 25% of their monthly salaries whenever they require it. With no interest or late charges, except for a nominal service fee of RM 2 per withdrawal, this innovative EWA solution provides Malaysians with greater financial control and flexibility.

A recent survey conducted by HLB involving 420 Malaysian employees and employers revealed that individuals crave easy access to their wages and improved financial management, particularly during emergencies. Emotional factors often prevent employees from requesting salary advances directly from their employers.

Employers, on the other hand, ranked supporting their employees with flexible and rapid access to salaries during emergencies as a top priority in salary management. They also identified other benefits of a fully-automated EWA solution, such as enhancing cash flow management, reducing paperwork, and increasing employee satisfaction.

Andrew Jong, Managing Director of Personal Financial Services at HLB, explained that the HLB Salary Advance Employer Solution bridges gaps in conventional salary advances, providing financial flexibility, improved financial literacy, and promoting financial inclusion for Malaysians.

As living costs and inflation continue to mount pressure, particularly on lower- to middle-income earners and households, traditional payroll timings and salary advance methods may fail to offer timely assistance for cash flows and unexpected demands. This vulnerability can lead to unsustainable borrowing practices.

By granting real-time access to earned but unpaid wages, the HLB Salary Advance Employer Solution enables employees to take control of their finances, tackle short-term financial challenges, and enhance their overall financial well-being. Users are encouraged to consider meeting their month-end financial commitments before requesting a salary advance to promote financial awareness and responsibility.

Furthermore, Andrew highlighted that the new EWA solution streamlines and automates advanced salary payouts for employers and businesses, offering a sustainable, efficient, and fully-digital system.

“We continuously strive to meet the needs of our business customers and introduce digital solutions that promote inclusion, innovation, and sustainability. A fully-digital, systemized EWA solution will help businesses manage their cash flow, streamline salary advance management, and reduce dependence on paperwork and manpower,” said Andrew.

Richard Kim, the Founder and CEO of Paywatch, expressed excitement about partnering with HLB to launch this groundbreaking solution in Malaysia. Paywatch collaborates with employers and reputable financial institutions to make a positive, sustainable impact on the financial health of employees across Asia.

“With HLB’s support, our solution will more efficiently enhance employees’ financial security and resilience while providing companies with opportunities to offer improved benefits, thereby boosting employee motivation and overall productivity,” said Richard.

By granting employees timely access to their earned wages, the solution not only improves their financial well-being but also helps companies retain valuable talent. The Paywatch solution has proven to decrease turnover rates and save companies over MYR 2,100,000 (USD 500,000) annually in rehiring fees. This empowers companies to demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ financial wellness, fostering a more loyal and engaged workforce.

To access the HLB Salary Advance Employer Solution, employees from participating organizations can create an account on the Paywatch app. Once approved, salary advance requests will be credited to the user’s bank account within one business day. On payday, the advanced amount withdrawn will be automatically deducted from the employee’s salary.

For employers, the solution ensures a seamless, secure, and convenient experience, with no cash flow impact, deposit requirements, or integration with company software.

The introduction of the HLB Salary Advance Employer Solution marks a significant milestone in the banking industry in Southeast Asia. This innovative EWA solution is set to transform the way businesses manage salary advances while empowering individuals with greater financial control and flexibility.

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