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  • Andre Yunque

HKMA Unveils New Smart Banking Initiatives

It looks like the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) wants to take the nation’s fintech game all the way up to 11.

According to a press release, HKMA chief executive Norman Chan recently unveiled several smart banking initiatives aimed at boosting financial innovation in the former colony, an effort to prepare itself for a “new era of smart banking.”

“The upgrading of our banking system to a new and higher level of Smart Banking is not just something nice-to-have but a must. To meet the rising aspirations and demands of customers, banking and technology must converge sooner rather than later.

The initiatives include a Faster Payment System (FPS) which supports the use of mobile phone numbers or email addresses for payments in Hong Kong dollar and Renminbi anytime and anywhere (and will be launched in September 2018), a newer iteration of the Enhanced Fintech Supervisory Sandbox (FSS) with less bureaucracy, and a solid promotion of virtual banking.

The other initiatives are:

  • Banking Made Easy initiative, which aims to lessen any regulatory issues companies may have in upgrading their customer experiences.

  • Open Application Programming Interface (API), aimed at promoting the use of APIs in the banking sector to boost innovation.

  • Closer cross-border collaboration, to add to – and further strengthen – its current cross-border initiatives.

  • Enhanced research and talent development, to promote “the introduction of new technology and processes that will bring about higher speed and greater convenience to bank customers, and to nurture fintech talents in Hong Kong.”

Here’s what else Chan had to say:

“In the new era of Smart Banking, the industry, the fintech community and the HKMA must work together to transform the financial ecosystem of Hong Kong. Smart Banking will offer full interconnectivity amongst retail and corporate customers and allow financial services and transactions to be undertaken with great mobility, speed, ease and safety. At the same time, we need to strike the right balance between promoting financial innovations and according appropriate customer and investor protection.”

Photo: Michael Elleray

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