Fintech startups no threat to HSBC

  • Combining strengths of banks, fintech startups can make the customer experience better
  • Banking sector will always be a little slower, because it is about the safety of your money


Fintech startups no threat to HSBC


IT IS a common perception that fintech startups are a threat to banks and other financial institutions, simply because the former are more innovative and aggressive when it comes to implementing their technologies and solutions.

Global banking group HSBC however, does not view fintech startups as a threat. HSBC’s Asia Pacific head of digital product management and digital customer experience Tamara Van Den Ban (pic) certainly doesn’t think so.

When asked how the banking group views the proliferation of fintech startups, Van Den Ban says that HSBC sees it as a positive thing.

“When we start to work together [with fintechs], we can combine the leanness, the agility, the innovative thinking that startups have and they have the advantage of focusing on a single problem in isolation and have the best possible solution for that…and they are just faster.”

She believes that if you can combine that with the scale and the customer base and the investment that a bank has, you can truly make customer experience better. For in the end, that is what they are trying to achieve.

“We invest in certain technologies to make the customer experience better. It’s much more of a positive, in how we can develop the industry together faster, than of a threat,” she tells Digital News Asia during a media briefing yesterday.

Are banks moving fast enough to take advantage of the changing technologies?

“Well, probably it will never be fast enough in one sense, but fast in another sense. Banks like HSBC are investing a lot of money looking at new technologies and investing in companies and technologies, in innovation labs across Asia looking at what can be done, at the benefit of customer experience and journeys within the framework of regulation.

“We go as fast as we can go, we also have to consider also the adoption, the usability, regulations…in that sense, the banking sector will always be a little bit slower, because it is about the safety of your money,” she adds.

Among the work HSBC is currently doing to support fintech startups includes the appointment of a tech advisory board comprising independent industry experts including Silicon Valley CEOs and VCs to advise on emerging technology opportunities; being a participant in London and Hong Kong as a part of the Accenture FinTech Accelerator Programme, and supporting startups via HSBC’s corporate venture capital arm, which focuses on security, crime and prevention, identity; open banking and client networks; data and analytics; operational efficiency.

What’s more, the bank has also collaborated with popular China-based messaging service WeChat in China.

“In China, we offer WeChat banking as well, because that’s in the end where our customers are and where they want to use our services, so it’s not being dominant about where the start should be.”

She emphasises that it’s about where the bank can offer services at a point that is relevant to the customer.

“If that happens to be WeChat, then it’s WeChat. Similarly, it could be WhatsApp or any other way of how people use messaging.

“So, it’s not a threat but an opportunity to reach the customers where they are at the right point. WeChat has an entrepreneurial way of moving that we aspire to get to as well,” she concludes.



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