Digital banks in HK to face delays due to protests, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Digital banks in HK to face delays due to protests

This article is more than 12 months old

HONG KONG The launch of new online-only banks in Hong Kong is expected to be delayed in part by anti-government protests in the city, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Most of the eight newly licensed digital banks in Hong Kong, including joint ventures involving Standard Chartered and Bank of China Hong Kong, had aimed to begin operating before the end of this year.

But as protests stretch into a fourth month, the new banks, seen as triggering the biggest shake-up to Hong Kong's retail banking sector in years, will be launched only early next year.

A delay would be the latest sign of the damage being wrought on the Asian financial hub's economy by the political turmoil that erupted in June.

Some of these virtual banks had aimed to launch brand promotion campaigns as early as this month, but these plans have now been put off, the people said, on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

"This form of banking service is mainly aimed at the youth, millennials, and many of them are out on the street these days joining the protests," a senior executive at a licence winner said.

"It will be difficult to launch a brand campaign around them and attract their interest when their priority is clearly not having another bank account," said the executive. - REUTERS