Tech edge, expertise and eco-approach forge Cathay United Bank’s leadership in Asia
- Cathay United Bank aims to create a comprehensive banking platform across Asia by investing in digital technology to capitalise on the fintech revolution
Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports www.discoveryreports.com
Of the many global industries disrupted by the digital revolution, the banking sector is rapidly adapting to cope with today’s evolving digital business landscape.
As financial technologies (fintech) and artificial intelligence (AI) give way to plentiful opportunities in growth markets such as Southeast Asia, Cathay United Bank has begun sowing the seeds of its future success as one of Asia-Pacific’s key financial players.
A full-service Taiwanese bank offering a comprehensive range of banking services honed over more than four decades of expertise, Cathay United Bank aims to create a comprehensive banking platform across Asia.
It has a strong regional network comprised of 164 branches in Taiwan, three in China and an operational presence across nine countries in Southeast Asia, where 85 per cent of transactions are still cash-based.
Three years ago, Cathay United Bank established its digital, data and technology (DDT) team in anticipation of fintech and AI trends. Through DDT, the bank has made venture capital investments in Silicon Valley, hired non-banking talents from Google and Yahoo, and invested in a Hong Kong company that is helping build its digital wealth management platform.
The bank also aims to develop new technologies to provide better customer service by 2020.
“Asia’s increasing trade flows, growing foreign direct investment and expanding middle class are reasons we want to build an Asian banking platform that will enable our clients, whether corporate banks or retail customers, to address their financial needs efficiently and seamlessly,” says Alan Lee, president and CEO. “The technology isn’t the challenge; rather, the right business model that captures consumer behaviour is the key.”
Founded in 1971, Cathay United Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holdings – Taiwan’s largest financial holding company. It is one of Taiwan’s largest commercial banks, a leading partner of top local companies such as Acer, and the island nation’s No 1 brand in credit cards and No 2 brand in wealth management services.
Bridging banking, insurance, trust and securities services through its parent and affiliated companies, the bank offers clients a one-stop banking experience.
Its complete line of products and services across consumer and corporate banking include deposits, loans and guarantees, international banking, trust and stock brokerage, overseas Chinese services, credit cards and internet banking.
The bank launched its subsidiary bank in China in September, with wider offerings in consumer banking.
Cathay United Bank’s long-standing reputation for excellence has only improved with time. In 2017, the bank won a number of awards such as the Best Domestic Trade Finance Provider in Taiwan from Euromoney magazine; the Brand Excellence Award for Commercial Banking in Taiwan from Finance Digest and the gold awards in the categories of credit cards, online banking services, and wealth management from Reader’s Digest.
“Our key assets have been our people and our overall reputation,” says Andrew Kuo, chairman. “We have a people-first culture that encourages development and high employee loyalty. Ask anyone in Taiwan about us, and the few things they will tell you are that we are very stable, steady, reliable and honest – with high integrity.”
Cathay United Bank is also the very first bank in Taiwan, and sixth in Asia, to sign and adopt the Equator Principles – the International Finance Corporation’s risk management framework for financial institutions aimed at minimising environmental, social and governance risks. It is also among a growing number of global banks promoting green energy.
Having expanded through mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures across Asia, Cathay United Bank looks to enter markets with real business opportunities and dependable local partners.
“We care very much about our reputation and focus on long-term success instead of short-term gains,” Lee says.