Mary Huen, Standard Chartered Bank’s chief executive officer for Hong Kong, discusses the bank's transformation journey and how it is rebuilding its domestic and regional business.
Foo Boon Ping
September 11, 2017 | Foo Boon Ping
- Standard Chartered Bank has been leveraging synergies between its business segments as well as the strength of its size in Hong Kong
- The bank has placed a lot of effort into de-risking its business by disposing the non-core businesses and focusing on areas of competitive advantage and sources of quality income
- The bank expects to capture more growth opportunities in its retail clients business
2016 was a tough year for retail banking in Hong Kong as banks experienced stagnant growth in profit and revenue. Consumer spending was dampened as unemployment continues to be an issue. In such a challenging environment, banks are pushed to restructure their businesses, reduce cost and leverage on digitisation.
For Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Hong Kong, its future growth is driven by both domestic and regional opportunities. Within Hong Kong, the bank has been leveraging synergies between its business
segments as well as the strength of its size. “We have leading market position in many areas and we keep challenging ourselves to find opportunities to disrupt the market. We see size as our advantage where we still do have room to deepen and expand to get a more meaningful market share than what we have today,” Mary Huen, SCB’s chief executive officer for Hong Kong, shared.
Huen added that the bank is taking advantage of the opening up of China’s market. “Second is to build our competitive advantage and develop into the ‘superconnector’ for all segments, both corporates and individuals. Besides the seven million population in Hong Kong, which is a very attractive revenue pool today, in the future, we have more room to grow through the flow of mainland wealth.”
In the last two years, SCB Hong Kong has placed a lot of effort into de-risking its business by disposing the non-core businesses and focusing on areas of competitive advantage and sources of quality income. On November 2016, the bank sold its mandatory provident fund (MPF) business to Manulife.
“Although we disposed of our MPF manufacturing business, we also partnered with Manulife, which is currently the leading MPF provider in Hong Kong. Having the number one provident fund provider as a top partner also makes us a more attractive distributor of these products.”
The bank is reinvesting in building the channels, the strategic partnerships, as well as the resources to capture market opportunities.
Building its digital capabilities
According to Huen, SCB looks at digitisation through customer experience and journey – from client onboarding, activation, to building a relationship with them and helping them make financial decisions. “We are launching things to make it easier for clients to bank with us. In terms of a digital plan, we go to where the client goes.”
The bank has been a first-mover in launching new capabilities in the market. They launched Apple Pay and partnered with Octopus, a reusable contactless stored value smart card for making electronic payments in online or offline systems in Hong Kong. It is also the first bank in the country to collaborate with Alipay HK as a top-up partner.
The bank also introduced a mobile app called “Breeze”, which utilises biometric authentication through fingerprint to make it easier for the clients to bank and transact with them.
Moreover, SCB has been actively and closely working with the regulator as well as industry participants to contribute to the future development of the banking industry with regards to financial technology. “The sharing and collaboration will really help foster understanding between stakeholders and guide the industry to develop in the right direction,” Huen expounded.
Growth under her leadership
As CEO of SCB Hong Kong, Huen is strengthening the business domestically, as well as solidifying the collaboration among its China, Hong Kong and Taiwan operations.
Moreover, the bank aims to capture more growth opportunities in its retail clients business especially Huen has had a very distinguished career of more than 25 years in consumer banking. “I think having a retail banking background is a very good starting place to understand the people, the organisation and its structure, banking principles, as well as the balance sheet, which helps me move into this new role smoothly.”
Categories: Branch Banking
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, consumer banking