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Traditional, locally focused banks keep pace with ‘digital wave’

Traditional, locally focused banks keep pace with ‘digital wave’


​​​WSBI Asia-Pacific regional group meeting in Hong Kong shares how

>> Learn more about Hong Kong event

>> Discover: WSBI Asia-Pacific Regional Group

HONG KONG, 17 April 2018 – Banks throughout the Asia-Pacific region are riding the digital wave to become even closer to their customers, a group of retail-focused banks meeting said today during the first of a three-day WSBI Regional event in Hong Kong.

Called “Savings and Retail Banks in the Digital Age: Developing a winning strategy”, WSBI members from Europe and Africa joined this year’s annual meeting to enrich the exchange on Asian success.

According to the ‘Global Payments Innovation Jury 2017’ report, Asia is tops when it comes to digitally driven banking breakthroughs. Asia has attracted more funds in FinTech investments than in North America and Europe, partly driven by the rapidly expanding middle class and ‘digital natives’ who have enthusiasm to tap into the latest technology.”

“Banks feel the strain from the rapidly changing digital world and have placed or will place digital strategy to cope with unprecedented challenges, said WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose. Speaking at the conference, he noted, “Banking in the ‘Digital’ era means always searching new ways to improve our locally focused banking model.”

Innovation workshop looks at digital banking in Asia

After the successful Innovation Workshop in Bangkok in 2017, WSBI will take another deep dive on Day 2 of the meetings to look at the rapid developments in Asia in banking transformation and financial technology. 

Members and technology experts will look at how new technologies are impacting the customer, the regulatory framework and banking in general. They also explored how banks are coping with the need to embrace new business models and technologies to enhance the customer experience and offering for consumers and SMEs. They will also ask what banks can learn from newcomers on how to best harness the opportunities of FinTech.

Banks in Asia: Digitally savvy

WSBI member banks have found new ways to reach out to some 1.1 billion customers that seek banking services from them in the Asia-Pacific. In mainland China, Postal Savings Bank of China innovates its products and service offering by leveraging China Post’s e-commerce platform. It has also developed a partnership with Alibaba’s major Internet finance service Ant Finance to expand services in China’s countryside.

In India, State Bank of India has launched YONO, which offers lifestyle products in addition to banking. State Bank of India also invests in fintech start-ups. In Japan, SMBC launched its first open-innovation base named “Hoops Link Tokyo” that serves as a venue to hold pitch events, meet-up, and seminars with external organizations related to the start-up ecosystem.

On the occasion of WSBI Asia meeting, participants are having a look at Bank of East Asia’s Innovation Center – I-Center, I-Hub and I-Lab. Bank of East Asia has re-designed their branch network in Hong Kong to create new ways to win the hearts of customers through high-tech interfaces that complement their online and mobile offering. Bank of East Asia have invited event attendees for a special visit to their offices in Hong Kong to learn more.

Banking rules that help, not hinder innovation

WSBI holds the meetings to press the point that there is no secret to making the most of the opportunities in a fast-moving, digital ‘New Normal’. Banks must be in constant learning mode, taking advantage of the moment to exchange at the three-day event to witness the latest developments and to explore any possible synergy with attendees and their organisations.

De Noose concluded: “With so much rapid change, it’s ripe timing for WSBI members from different continents to gather here in Hong Kong. I believe also that an overview on FinTech development, in particular the evolving Fintech regulation coming from the European Union, can provide our members in Asia-Pacific markets with some insights on how a rule can foster or slay banking innovation.”

Contact: James Pieper, WSBI, +32 2 211 1192,


Notes to editor:

​​About WSBI

About the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) WSBI is an association dedicated to helping its members thrive. The institute represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally who serve 1.5 billion customers in some 80 countries. WSBI focuses on global regulation that affects its members. It supports G20 aims in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI focuses on efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone.


About the WSBI Asia-Pacific Regional Group

WSBI and the Asia-Pacific Regional Group Representing financial institutions and federations, the WSBI Asia-Pacific regional group looks to create and share knowledge with one another and to raise awareness of WSBI and its positions with people in the region. Coming from a region that comprises a quarter of G20 countries, the WSBI Asia-Pacific Regional Group represents member banks through sharing and advocacy work on financial inclusion, banking innovation and digitalisation.

The WSBI Asia-Pacific Regional Group was established to bring together the members in the region to keep close exchange on specific issues and to promote the exchange of best practices and create business cooperation opportunities. Representing 27 financial institutions from 17 countries, group members meet at least once a year at annual regional group meetings.

Cooperation between WSBI members in the group ranges from contact building and exchanges of information to the development of concrete business opportunities, at bilateral or multilateral level. For example, members host training workshops for other members, sign business cooperation memoranda of understanding, exchange expertise and enter into reciprocal business partnerships.

ends / all​

Innovation Hub; Innovation; Digitalisation