The new head of Standard Chartered Korea pledged to continue investing in digital banking and to expand global financial services to Korean businesses in a bid to reverse the bank’s weakening profitability.
“It is crucial that a bank proactively participates in this real and ever growing customer preference of smartphones and the Internet,” Ajay Kanwal, the new chief executive of Standard Chartered Korea and Standard Chartered Bank Korea, said at a press meeting on Thursday.
“We’ll continue to invest in digital banking and lead the market with advanced services.”
|Ajay Kanwal, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Korea (SC Bank Korea)|
Kanwal took over the CEO post in April. Prior to his role in Korea, he served as CEO of SC Bank Taiwan for two years.
His appointment came at a difficult time. The U.K.-based Standard Chartered Group posted last year its first decline in earnings in a decade due partly to an operating loss in South Korea.
He admitted that this is a “challenging time” for the local banking industry, but added that he still sees opportunities of which SC Bank Korea can take advantage.
“The year 2014 is challenging, but that doesn’t take SC’s strengths away. I see more opportunities as we’re going to 2015.”
The new CEO said SC Korea will focus on helping local businesses cross borders, resulting in increased growth for the country, by using its extensive global network.
“For Korean companies to globalize, they need a bank whenever they go to the global market. We’d like our clients to fully leverage our 70 countries we operate in and use our deep knowledge of these markets as well as our local relationships,” he said.
The bank, Kanwal added, will do its best to support the globalization efforts of Korean companies.
The CEO also hinted at adapting renminbi, or RMB, services in Korea. The Standard Chartered Group and Agricultural Bank of China signed an agreement last year to start renminbi clearing services, helping financial institutions and corporates execute transactions with the Chinese currency.
“We’ll take advantage of our RMB success in markets like Hong Kong and Taiwan to support Korea’s aspirations to become an RMB hub,” he added.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org)