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Standard Chartered to apply for virtual bank license in Hong Kong

The move follows the publication of revised guidelines by the central bank.

Standard Chartered Bank is said to be planning to apply for a virtual bank license in Hong Kong, making it the first traditional bank seeking a local license to provide financial services without physical branches, according to a report from the South China Morning Post.

Also read: Standard Chartered to split Asia operations into Hong Kong and Singapore hubs

The move comes as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published revised guidelines on virtual banking operations and setting August 31 as the deadline for the first batch of applicants.

“We are supporting a new era in smart banking that will help clients better understand their financial position and how to achieve their financial goals. We are developing our virtual bank with innovation and client needs in mind, so that their banking experiences cater to their digital lives,” Mary Huen, chief executive of Standard Chartered Hong Kong office was cited in South China Morning Post.

“As a note-issuing bank in Hong Kong and a bank of almost 160 years’ history, we are committed to promoting financial inclusion and Hong Kong as an international financial centre,” she added.

The de-facto central bank has already received inquiries and indications of interest from over 50 companies.

“We hope to be in a position to start granting licences to virtual banks towards the end of this year or in the first quarter of next year,” said HKMA chief executive Norman Chan in an earlier statement.

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