Hong Leong Finance seeks partner in bid for virtual bank license

The fax-using firm aims to revamp its platform to boost customer base.

Bloomberg reports that Hong Leong Finance sees the country’s plan to issue virtual banking licenses as an opportunity to find new customers and reinvent itself as a tech-savvy lender to the nation’s new businesses.

Also read: Singapore joins digital banking race with five licenses up for grabs

The firm, founded in 1961, has been in talks with financial-technology companies about a joint application for one of the licenses with the goal of doing more business with millennials and newly established firms, according to the company’s president Ang Tang Chor.

“We have the customer base, we have the reach but we don’t have the platform,” Ang, 70, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Also read: Virtual banks pose threat to Singapore’s small and foreign lenders

About 70% of Hong Leong’s loan book is made up of advances to small and medium-sized businesses in areas such as property development, food and beverage and logistics, with lending to retail customers accounting for the rest.

The firm, which still uses faxes in parts of its application process, is also looking to revamp in other ways, such as by introducing payment cards for expatriate workers, and instant credit risk assessments for car loans.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) earlier unveiled plans to issue up to five virtual banking licenses as part of an effort to liberalise the financial services sector that has long been dominated by the Big Three lenders. In a similar move, Hong Kong issued a total of eight virtual banking licenses to firms including entities backed by tech giants like Tencent and Ant Financial.

Here’s more from Bloomberg

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Penilaianmu: MagBe