HK virtual bank_Denis Guven_pic

Step inside our Hong Kong virtual bank

We recently won a licence to operate a virtual bank in Hong Kong. Deniz Güven, our new bank’s CEO, gives us a sneak preview

When the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the virtual banking licences in 2017, we saw our chance to build a bank with a totally new operating model: new, cloud-based technology from the ground up, a new way of onboarding clients, new anti-money laundering and fraud systems designed from the client’s viewpoint, and a brand-new risk framework. With this standalone ‘virtual bank’, we’d be able to defend against potential disruptors and proactively take on incumbents to grow market share.

Everything comes down to people

We began as a team of 10, working day and night to prepare our licence application to the HKMA. Today, we’re over 100 people. We all hail from different backgrounds and areas of specialisation, but we’ve one characteristic in common: we share a passion for making a difference and achieving the extraordinary. We saw right from the beginning that, if we got the right people, everything else would fall into place. So far, this has proven to be true. We also knew that we had to be different to stand out from our competitors. Technological innovations would not be enough. Success would depend on us recognising and responding to our clients’ needs for simpler, faster and better banking.

Connecting the dots

We believe that, by working together with other leading players, we can reach a much broader customer base and help redefine the digital banking experience in Hong Kong. We’ve done this by setting up a strategic joint venture with multiple lifestyle providers in telecommunications, entertainment and travel. We’ll be able to offer clients a one-stop shop for our financial services and products, as well as a range of lifestyle products, from all our joint venture partners. Importantly, we’ll be able to deliver services that are built around our clients’ needs.

Why we’re going for ‘heart share’

There will always be other virtual banks and fintech companies, but banking is about trust, and trust is deeply rooted in Standard Chartered’s 160 years of history in Hong Kong. Building our new virtual bank has been a fast-paced and thrilling journey, and we have learnt a lot. We plan to start by acquiring ‘heart share’ with Hong Kong clients before building up market share. We believe our existing clients will become the first champions of this exciting new offering.