An Interview with Joe Chan


Dah Sing Bank’s General Manager of Commercial Banking speaks to FST Media about the challenges in creating a seamless and automatic experience for customers.

FST Media: Is commercial banking facing the same disruption as retail banking, and how is Dah Sing Bank using technology to stay relevant?

Chan: Successful businesses understand the need for using technology to stay relevant and be competitive. We are seeing innovation in areas that interact with customers, as well as areas that develop more client-centric solutions. This will facilitate automation for an efficient launch of additional services for our preferred client segments.

FST Media: How will small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) banking evolve in Hong Kong over the next five years?

Chan: SME banking, like banking products for other client segments, is focusing more on its mobility in the future. As people are increasingly dependent on using their mobile phones for handling finances and personal banking, these habits are spreading into the activity of SMEs in dealing with their everyday banking needs; a cross-over between personal banking and corporate banking. The availability of such services for SMEs will become a norm in the near future. In the longer term, the efficiency, security and stability of these mobile banking services provided by banks will be instrumental in winning over business.  

FST Media: What are your IT priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Chan: Our IT priorities for the next 12 to 18 months are focusing on fine-tuning and enhancing our IT infrastructures as well as streamlining the internal system to provide a better service for our customers. A key project for us this year was the launch of our mobile banking application for our corporates.

FST Media: How has Dah Sing Bank’s DS-Direct delivered value to the business and how will you measure its success?

Chan: We have four basic principles for delivering our values to customers by virtue our staff, products and services: Focus, Fidelity, Flexible, Fast. Continuous and healthy growth in the size of our customer portfolio and the profitability of our bank are key measures of our success in delivering value to the business. Increasing customer satisfaction has always been our key focus along the way.

FST Media: What challenges do commercial banks need to overcome to achieve this innovation?

Chan: Commercial banks encounter a lot of challenges including compliance, regulations and issues surrounding public trust. We need to focus our strategies on a customer relationship primacy model by building engagement with the customers. When launching new online banking products and services, we always focus on improvements in user-experience design through enhanced interaction and user-friendliness.

FST Media: What are the challenges in creating a seamless and automatic experience for your customers using the iSME platform, and how have you overcome these challenges?

Chan: The challenges for us are matching changes in customers’ behavior and needs to offer the right banking solutions. The iSME platform allows us to build adaptable digital capabilities which are flexible and fast. A well-coordinated internal team can identify the opportunities in a quick and professional manner.

FST Media: What technology is helping you ensure customer security and work against money laundering concerns? 

Chan: Financial industry executives are confronting complex and serious compliance challenges such as online security and AML issues. In response to these challenges, we have implemented a very secure system and network to monitor transactions as well as conduct customer reviews and different procedures to work against money laundering. 

Banking is about teamwork and not one single individual is able to complete a transaction or deal without help from another, even to do something as simple as opening a new account. The fundamental issue we are faced with is knowing our customers and knowing our customers’ customers.  

FST Media: What is proving to be your most effective customer acquisition channel and why?

Chan: The acquisition of customers is vital for banks to grow their business. Customer acquisition can be expensive so DSB ensures that the strategies we use will be successful. Brand strategy, product innovation, and service delivery are three approaches used by Dah Sing Bank to build up an overall acquisition strategy.

FST Media: What technology or innovation has had the most significant impact upon your career?

Chan: I believe in the theory of “less is more”. We want to make our banking products and services as simple as possible in order to suit our customers’ need. The iPhone is an excellent example of a simple technology with the most innovative design, using only one home button to control the entire device.

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Chan: Every good leader should have a clear vision for the business and be able to formulate a feasible business plan; understanding clearly the limitations of their organisation and how to manage their resources effectively. My legacy would be to retain our promising talent because no matter how impeccable a business plan is, we will need our experienced staff to implement it.

Joe Chan will be speaking at FST Media’s Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services event in Hong Kong, in addition to a distinguished panel of executives across financial services on November 18. For more insights and information about the event, register here.