March 27, 2019

HKMA announced that it has granted banking licenses under the Banking Ordinance to Livi VB Limited, SC Digital Solutions Limited, and ZhongAn Virtual Finance Limited for them to operate in the form of a virtual bank. The granting of these banking licenses takes effect immediately. The three newly licensed virtual banks intend to launch their services within 6 to 9 months. This development brings the number of licensed banks in Hong Kong to 155.

Norman T.L. Chan, the Chief Executive of HKMA, said, “The introduction of virtual banks in Hong Kong is a key pillar supporting Hong Kong’s entry into the Smart Banking Era. It is a major milestone in reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as a premier international financial center." He added that the virtual banks, which are expected to help promote financial inclusion in Hong Kong, will have no physical branches and will rely on the internet for customer acquisition and for the delivery of banking services.

According to Arthur Yuen, Deputy Chief Executive of HKMA, preparations prior to commencement of business include testing of IT platform and system and finalization of detailed risk management measures and controls. HKMA is actively processing additional five virtual bank applications.

 

Keywords: Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, Banking, Virtual Banking, Fintech, Regtech, Digital Banks, Bank Licenses, HKMA

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