Breaking Banks Asia

Hosted ByRachel Williamson, Charis Palmer, and Simon Spencer

Breaking Banks Asia gets the inside look at the incredible innovation and technological changes that are setting the standard for the rest of the world. Led by host Rachel Williamson, we talk to the people across Asia about how their ideas came together, what innovations they are bringing to fintech, and the shifts in customer behavior that are forecasting what will happen in the rest of the world.

Rachel Williamson


Rachel is a science and business journalist from New Zealand, writing and podcasting about technology, banking and climate change. As a foreign correspondent, her career has spanned the Middle East, South Asia and the Horn of Africa. Rachel has interviewed Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, politicians and Egyptian revolutionaries, Middle Eastern billionaires, Australian business leaders and former Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She is the Host of Breaking Banks Asia and Co-founder of Soundcraft Media. 

Charis Palmer


Charis started her career in banking as head of product for Easy Street Financial Services, a fast follower to ING Direct in Australia. She went on to found Banking Review Media, the only publication dedicated to what was then the emerging online banking market. After a career leading new media startups across business, technology and global news, Charis is now the Producer of Breaking Banks Asia and Co-founder of Soundcraft Media.

Simon Spencer


Simon has worked across technology, banking and startups for most of his career, from serving at Telstra Research Labs, to assignments with Oracle, Citibank on Wall Street, Salesforce and closer to home with Nab, ANZ, CBA and Suncorp. Having run engineering and technology teams in Australia, India & Singapore, Simon now serves as the CTO for Digital Engineering at Appscore and Partnerships Director for Breaking Banks Asia.

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All Episodes

Episode 15: Can we trust banks to use AI responsibly?

The Australian government is in the middle of a review of AI use, fielding submissions in response to a paper it put out in June on government mechanisms to...

Episode 14: How Asia’s Gen Z will change global fintech

There’s no doubt Gen Zs will change fintech as we know it, but the ones likely to have the most influence? Kids today in Asia.  Fintech ideas born in...

Episode 13: YOLO: Is the activist mindset hitting banking yet? 

There’s a whole movie coming out about the YOLO investing that really messed up some hedge funds and short sellers in 2021. Could we one day expect a movie...

Episode 12: When does a fintech become a bank? 

When does a fintech become what they set out to disrupt? Is it when they start offering bank-like products? Get a banking licence? Is it when they go all-in...

Episode 11: Conflict fintech: what it’s like to lead a company through civil war and crisis

In 2021 Myanmar went through a series of shocks, beginning with a coup d’état in February when the military overthrew the government and ending with a bank run. Brad...

Episode 10: The bank staying the crypto course 

Once again it looks like the digital asset house is burning down, but in Asia the smoke is clearing — or so believes the Singapore-based digital asset team at...

Episode 9: China’s CBDC & the new financial order

China continues to forge ahead with its central bank digital currency, notching up millions of transactions through giveaways and lottos. But beyond the consumer headlines lies a long-term strategy that...

Episode 8: Can ChatGPT speak bank? 

Description: The promise of conversational AI has so far been a disappointing series of chatbots helping banks reduce cost but doing little to inspire customers or improve the service...

Episode 7: Neobanks – sifting through the carnage for green shoots

What looked to be an emerging wave of challenger banks has in Australia fizzled, leaving few real challengers to the big 4. And after what was a much needed...