Sik: ‘We want to take retail banking forward to make it simpler and easier for the customer.
PETALING JAYA: Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLB) is focusing on enhancing its digital offerings in line with its aspiration of being a highly digital and innovative financial services organisation.
HLB Personal Financial Services managing director Charles Sik said many financial institutions today are already embarking on improving, if not expanding, their digital offerings.
“Digital is something that banks are very cognizant of ... how customers today are doing things on a daily basis, such as buying products or travelling.
“But the way they do things today has changed for a lot of these customers. To embrace the changes, many are starting to go online. We seek to further enhance the customer journey and experience,” he told StarBiz in an interview.
Sik said HLB kicked off its inaugural “Digital Day” event on July 7 – taking an inspiration from Alibaba “Single Day”, a week-long campaign to educate its customers about its plans to expand its digital reach. This coincides with the start of HLB’s financial year and supports the HLB mindset of being “digital at the core”.
The campaign is also aimed at creating awareness. “For our Digital Day campaign, we will be promoting our digital products. For the seven days, there will be education and promotion,” Sik said.
“We are building up our position in the digital space and want to be able to help our customers. It is a date that we want to be associated with HLB, as a platform for us to showcase our innovation and digital offerings.
“It’s also about being more productive and efficient in the way we want to engage our customers. Today, not everyone wants to walk into a branch or contact their call centre to get something done or settled. We are changing the way we do business, by re-imagining banking,” he added.
Sik said HLB planned to organise its Digital Day event on a yearly basis.
“We want to take retail banking forward to make it simpler and easier for the customer. If you look at the banking sector, a lot of it has to do with the sales process. So, during Digital Day, we’re doing a lot to communicate our products and services, in particular our digital offerings.
“Digital Day is all about walking the customer’s journey and learning to provide financial solutions that match their lifestyle and work habits.”
Sik said having digital solutions meant being able to interact with the customer better.
He is hoping that customers would benefit from HLB’s increased focus on digital offerings.
“Hopefully customers will see us taking this journey with them, helping them go about their daily lives. We do not want to put them in a position where, to do banking, they’re forced to come to a bank. That was how banking used to be done.”
Sik said HLB would start to offer more digital offerings over time.
“In the past, we did not have a product that allowed you to place fixed deposits online. So, you had to physically come to the bank. Now we are offering telegraphic transfers online and we’ve found that over time, people have become more appreciative of the convenience offered through electronic transactions.
“Today, you can also open a savings account online. Other things we want to offer include applying for credit cards, personal loans and balance transfers. The essence is to be able to offer what we already have offline ... in the online space.”
Sik said many people today are ready to “go digital.”
“Customers are quite savvy. It’s just a question of trust – trusting the system and the technology, and ultimately finding the value in it.
“It’s also a question of a mindset change that we need to create among our employees – the way we work, the way we design products and how the customer would engage with us,” he said.