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Top Banks Adjust Asia Strategy To Support Corporate Clients

PingPong to boost cross-border payments

Some of the world’s largest banks are adjusting their strategies in Asia in order to strengthen their support of corporate and small business clients.

Reuters reported this week that HSBC has announced plans to introduce rebates and lower fees to its small business customers in Hong Kong amid broader economic challenges for the market. As Hong Kong’s largest bank, the U.K. financial institution announced plans for a six-month interest rate rebate for small business loans issued under loan guarantee schemes.

HSBC also plans to add fee subsidies for applications of those loans under the guarantee scheme, and said it will also lower fees on businesses making payments via its mobile payment service.

The initiatives make HSBC the only large lender to introduce such measures amid economic pressures tied to the U.S.-China trade dispute and ongoing government protests, the report said. A spokesperson for the bank said the last time HSBC introduced small business support measures was immediately following the financial crisis in 2009.

Hong Kong is HSBC’s largest single market, reports added.

Major financial institutions are looking to support their larger corporate clients elsewhere in Asia, too.

Separate reports Wednesday (Aug. 28) in Nikkei Asian Review said JPMorgan Chase and Citibank are both planning to bolster advisory staff in Japan to support corporate clients looking to grow globally via overseas acquisitions.

“It’s not just major corporations,” noted Citi Head of Treasury and Trade Solutions in Japan Isao Kojima, according to reports. “Many Japanese companies are looking to adopt global and advanced financial accounting systems.”

Citi plans to grow its staff in Japan by about 10 percent per year.

JPMorgan, meanwhile, said it aims to expand its staff in the country by 20 percent this year. According to the bank, a surge in cross-border merger and acquisition activity has Japanese corporates demanding more sophisticated funds management services from their banks, including global funds management systems.

“With globalization, there is a growing awareness of robotics, AI [artificial intelligence] and data security,” added JPMorgan’s Tokyo Branch Manager Miwa Ohmori.

Earlier this year Standard Chartered announced its own investment plans to bolster business banking services in Asia.

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