Rising Star in the Greater Bay Area 2023
Nanyang Commercial Bank
Hong Kong-based Nanyang Commercial Bank’s operations in the Greater Bay Area have gone from strength to strength in the past few years, Covid hurdles notwithstanding.
The trick has been to invest regularly in the region, boost collaboration with the onshore China arm, not shy away from innovation, and emphasize environmental, social and governance (ESG) deals where possible. All these factors have made NCB the rising star in the GBA this year.
NCB invested in increasing its headcount and branch network in the past year so it could attract new customers and be well-positioned to capture the growth in business when China relaxed its Covid restrictions at the end of 2022.
The emphasis was on relationship managers and product specialists. The bank has 33 local branches and three commercial business centres, as well as 39 mainland branches and sub-branches, and 14 branches and sub-branches in the GBA cities.
NCB has also stepped up its onshore/offshore collaboration to give its GBA clients an all-in-one solution. The Hong Kong arm has worked closely with its wholly owned subsidiary NCB China to support corporate customers looking for cross-border loans, trade finance or payments and deposits products.
One thing that impressed Asiamoney about NCB was its product and services innovation. Take the Wealth Management Connect, for example. NCB offers the standard products and currencies for wealthy clients who want to use the southbound or northbound connect schemes. But it is also a frontrunner in renminbi servicing. Clients working with NCB can get exchange rates that are 30 basis points narrower on offshore renminbi/Hong Kong dollar exchange bid-and-ask spreads. This, according to NCB bankers, gives the firm’s WMC offerings a competitive advantage.
Two-way remittances between NCB’s dedicated accounts are always free, improving efficiency and lowering the cost of investment at the same time.
NCB also has dual-currency credit cards to facilitate spending in both renminbi and in Hong Kong dollars.
On the digital front, NCB China has the Pu-Hui-Bao app, launched in 2018, which is tailored for small and medium-sized business owners such as farmers and sole traders.
A new app, called NCB e+, was launched in December 2022 to expand the firm’s digital reach by offering clients services such as remote account opening and investment accounts. It plans to start doing know-your-customer due diligence online this year.
Finally, NCB is big on ESG and green financing. It has led numerous syndicated green loans for GBA clients over the years, and continued to do so during Asiamoney’s awards period.
At the end of March, NCB signed an agreement with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank to partner on the WMC. This is expected to give a boost to NCB’s client and asset base. The bank also plans to sign cooperation agreements with more mainland Chinese firms to further cement its standing in the GBA, making NCB the one to watch in the region.