Bank of China (Hong Kong), otherwise known as BOCHK, capped off last year with record profit of HK$32 billion ($4.08 billion) and added to that success by winning FinanceAsia’s Best Bank in Hong Kong 2019 award. Recognised as Hong Kong’s top commercial bank, its success stems from having embraced a dynamic and prudent growth strategy, focused on technology and sustainable growth.
Servicing Hong Kong’s financial needs for more than a century, the bank has an extensive network of around 200 branches, 270 automated banking centres, more than 1,000 self-service outlets, in addition to internet and mobile banking platforms. Today, BOCHK is three times the size of its nearest Chinese rival by assets, and four times by profits. It is also the sole clearing bank for renminbi business which, in 2018, processed 75% of the world’s offshore renminbi clearing transactions, providing cross-border services to a full range of clients.
SOLID PERFORMANCE, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
By exercising its strategic plan, BOCHK has set a solid foundation for long-term sustainable growth.
In 2018, profits attributable to equity holders from continuing operations grew by 12% and net interest income increased by 13.1%. Loan growth proved strong at 10.5%, outpacing the market average of 4.4%, while customer deposits grew by 6.6%, well ahead of the market average.
Last year, the bank also expanded its customer base significantly, both in Hong Kong and cross-border with Mainland China. Mid- to high-end customers rose by 17.5%, private banking clients increased by 27.3% and SME customer numbers lifted by a healthy 15.7%. Overall, the number of cross-border personal customers surged by 22.6%, an obvious uptick of approval for the bank’s outbound and Greater Bay Area (GBA) plans. To add, BOCHK’s mobile banking service customers grew by 63.5% in 2018, notably in the 18-35 age group (up 70.6%).
GREATER BAY AREA: TAKING THE LEAD
Backed by this solid foundation and strong growth, BOCHK is also uniquely positioned to take advantage of new opportunities arising from the GBA development and the economic integration of Hong Kong and Mainland China.
BOCHK aims to become the bank of choice for northbound cross-border clients. To that end, it is the only bank to have secured regulatory approval for a pilot programme with Mainland China allowing for a personal account-opening service in Hong Kong, without clients having to travel to the Mainland or present proof-of-address in China. The other advantage of this account is that it can be linked to mobile payments like AliPay and WeChat Pay. To date, this successful programme receives around 1,000 applications daily.
Other digital financial solutions include the BOC UnionPay dual-currency credit cards. These provide contactless payments for public transport systems in the GBA footprint. The bank also launched Hong Kong’s first mobile app supporting cross-border payments. The BoC Pay app allows payments in Mainland China using funds from a Hong Kong account. It also enables QR code payments to 9.5 million Mainland merchants and 1,000 retailers in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, BOCHK’s one-stop Mainland business registration and banking service is helping to simplify processes for SMEs looking to do business in Mainland China.
Breaking new territory, the bank, together with its partners JD Digits and Jardine Matheson, was among the first financial institutions that were granted Hong Kong’s new virtual banking licence by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The new entity – Livi VB will promote financial inclusion in Hong Kong by catering to both individuals and SMEs.
The bank is also continuing to expand its regional coverage to eight Southeast Asian countries. In 2018, it completed acquisitions of BOCHK Ho Chi Minh City Branch, BOC Manila Branch and BOC Vientiane following earlier acquisitions in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia as well as the establishment of a Brunei Branch.
The bank’s connections through technology, acquisitions and partnerships together with its strategy of focusing on sustainable growth have certainly positioned BOCHK as the Best Bank in town.
T: +852 2826 6888
A: 1 Garden Road, Hong Kong