Barry O’Byrne, Chief Executive of Global Commercial Banking at HSBC.

HSBC invests $2b to be a ‘digital first’ bank

Part of that investment means partnering with more fintechs to create digital banking products.

HSBC is investing $2b to turn into a ‘digital-first bank’ according to the bank’s chief executive of global commercial banking Barry O’Byrne during a fireside chat in Hong Kong FinTech Week 2021.

In his panel, O’Byrne discussed two things that HSBC is focusing on: building solutions for small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and partnering with fintechs to create more digital banking products.

O’Byrne said that HSBC’s $2b investment over five years is just the start as they want this investment to be seen in every facet of their business as well as revolutionise how they interact with customers starting with SMEs. Currently, HSBC has 96% of all its payments done digitally right now, and according to O’Byrne, considering the billions of payments they process this is a staggering amount. In fact, HSBC saw an increase of 125% in usage of their digital platforms with 250% increase in mobile digital payments.

What made HSBC focus on SMEs is the success of HSBC Kinetic launched in the UK. HSBC Kinetic is a digital-only commercial bank which now has close to 20,000 customers.

their research and partnerships with SMEs in the UK, HSBC launched a digital-only commercial bank called HSBC Kinetic which now has close to 20,000 customers.

“Rather than just being a bank account, it enables customers to understand their cash flow needs. It enables them to categorize invoices to have lending journeys that take minutes, as opposed to in the past, they would have taken days and weeks. Finance toward the future is really shifting. Additionally we also recognize that if you think of SMEs, what they need more than anything is time and a product like Kinetic gives them time back because they can run it all through their mobile phone. Plus, it's cloud base so it's all in real time as well,” O’Byrne said.

With HSBC working with really large firms and SMEs, the part that fintechs play. According to O’Byrne, they have an ecosystem put in place that allows fintechs to come in and effectively work with them to provide solutions to our customers. This ecosystem allows them tap the 100 fintechs that HSBC works with.

“We work with our customers to develop world class solutions, we then go to the market and the market comes to us to be to form part of that world class solution. So we don't have to develop it all ourselves. Again, it's back to, you know, the 100 fintechs that we work with. And that number is growing all the time,” O’Byrne said.

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