ICBC eyes growth in Hong Kong retail deposits

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 2:54am

ICBC Asia, the second-largest mainland bank subsidiary in Hong Kong, is looking to boost new deposits as the first step to competing with the city's more established retail rivals.

Flora Leung Chui-yee, the head of the personal banking department at the bank, said she expected retail deposits to grow by more than 30 per cent for the rest of the year to help the retail arm expand at the same pace annually in terms of assets and profits.

ICBC Asia has a tough fight on its hands as the top three players - HSBC, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Hang Seng Bank - take in more than 60 per cent of the total deposits in the city, according to financial advisory firm KPMG.

Total deposits in Hong Kong rose 8 per cent to HK$8.1 trillion last year.

"Intense competition on deposits is highly likely at the end of the year but we hope to maintain our share and enlarge our client base, especially with some mainland-based clients," Leung said.

With the backing of its parent Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest mainland bank in terms of market capitalisation, the Hong Kong subsidiary has been expanding its wholesale banking business as the main growth driver. Retail business only accounted for 3.4 per cent of the bank's pre-tax profit in the first half, according to its interim financial statement.

However, a retail network is important for any bank as a brand-building tool. ICBC Asia aims to have 60 branches in Hong Kong in the next one to two years, from the current 56, to increase its footprint in the city.